If you’re considering donating your eggs to help an individual or couple build their family, you probably have a lot of questions.
To ensure a stress-free experience, keep in mind these five important points:
1. You will undergo various screenings prior to determine whether you can be a donor.
Serving as an egg donor is an involved process, and you should be prepared for the screenings, exams, and testing that will take place before you’re able to donate. First, after choosing a trusted egg donor facility, you’ll typically meet with the medical team to discuss why you’re looking to become an egg donor and to learn more about the process.
A physical and pelvic exam will evaluate your overall health and reproductive health. Physicians will also ask you to provide detailed information on your family and personal medical history, both mental and physical. Bloodwork will assess your overall health and fertility and test for any communicable diseases, such as HIV. Genetic testing may also be required, as well as STI/HIV testing for your partner.
A pelvic ultrasound will evaluate your fertility and assess ovary health. Finally, a psychological screening will be conducted to ensure you understand all of the steps involved.
2. You will be required to take medications prior to egg retrieval.
You will need to self-administer injectable medications in the time leading up to egg retrieval.
Injectable medications are first used to suppress hormones, creating an “artificial menopause” that allows physicians to synchronize your cycle with the intended mother or gestational carrier. Next, medications will be injected to stimulate your ovaries, allowing more than one egg to mature in a cycle, which means several eggs can be retrieved at once. Most donors report some bruising at the injection sites.
After eggs have matured, a single injection is administered to trigger ovulation prior to the retrieval process, during which you will receive light anesthesia to ease any discomfort.
3. You can choose between varying degrees of anonymity.
You probably already know that you can serve as an anonymous egg donor, meaning no identifying information is shared between you and the intended parent(s). You do not have the option to meet or contact the intended parent(s) or child at any time, and they will only have access to non-identifying information about you.
If you are going to be a “known donor,” on the other hand, you and the intended parent(s) receive identifying information, allowing for contact and the potential to build a relationship with any potential children.
There’s also the option to be semi-known, a scenario in which some identifying information will be shared. Typically, this means that the intended parent(s) will have access to more information about you, rather than vice-versa.
4. You will be compensated.
Egg donors typically earn anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 per cycle, and repeat donors may earn more. Compensation usually depends on how many eggs are produced during your donation cycle. All donor expenses are typically paid, as well.
Aside from monetary compensation, egg donors can also expect to receive free medical exams and genetic testing, which usually cost thousands of dollars. These exams can provide valuable information about your overall health and can be very helpful if you decide to build your own family in the future.
5. You will need to sign legal documents.
While much of the focus with egg donation lies in the physical and emotional aspects involved, there are many practical matters that must be addressed as well. Many egg donor facilities have lawyers to represent them, and it’s recommended that you hire your own lawyer.
Your lawyer will review the contract that is written up for you and the intended parent(s) to sign, and will work to protect your interests. Agreements typically outline compensation, whether you have legal rights over any children born as a result of your donation, what happens if a cycle is canceled, and so on.
Working with a professional who is experienced in egg donor law before signing anything will help ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.