Egg Donation: Expert Interview

Would you like to help another couple start a family by donating your eggs? If this is something you’ve considered, you may be wondering what is involved with egg donation or if it affects your chances for future parenthood. Here, the fertility experts answer a few frequently-asked questions.

Q: What are the general risks to the egg donor, if any?

Risks are minimal for the egg donation process. Donors are required to have a complete medical workup by a physician and be deemed healthy to proceed. The primary risks or side effects are from the fertility medications. Some donors experience a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation (elevated estrogen, enlarged ovaries and abdominal bloating). While this side effect is rare in most donors, it can be very uncomfortable for several days following each egg retrieval procedure. As with any elective surgery, the risks of anesthesia and the procedure itself is always a consideration.

Q: Is there compensation involved with egg donation? I'm young, healthy, in school, and unemployed…can I get paid to donate my eggs?

You can be compensated for donating your eggs, sometimes up to $10,000 per cycle in certain circumstances. If you are interested in donating your eggs, you can contact a donor agency and investigate the general responsibilities involved. An agency in your area will be able to walk you through all aspects of the process, including minimum age requirements and compensation.

Q: I am 40 years old. Is it too late to donate my eggs? And, are there any complications involved with egg donation when you are an older individual?

Unfortunately, you are not a good candidate to be an egg donor. In general, egg donors are recruited from among women younger than 33 years of age. In many programs, egg donor ages range from 21 to 30. This is because the percentage of normal healthy eggs decreases in all women as they age. Sometimes we do have an older woman donate directly to her sister to take advantage of the donor eggs being related to the woman needing eggs. In general, these women do well, but if they have high blood pressure or other medical problems, there can be more complications.

Q: Can I donate my eggs even if my tubes are tied?

Yes, if your tubes are tied you can still be an egg donor. Whether you want to use your eggs for yourself or another woman, the process is the same. You would need to undergo the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. Keep in mind that there are many other factors, besides the status of your tubes, which affect your candidacy for egg donation. The best approach is to schedule a consultation with a fertility doctor to go over your options.

Q: Can I donate eggs if I use an intrauterine device (Mirena Implant) for birth control and have no menstrual cycle?

You would have to have the Mirena implant removed in order to be able to donate your eggs. The Mirena secretes progesterone that can get in the way of the treatment. Generally speaking, you will have to wait one to two months after a birth control implant has been removed before donating eggs.

Q: Will donating my eggs affect my ability to get pregnant when I decide to have children? And, can egg donation cause early menopause?

Many people are concerned about these risks when donating eggs. However, the general risks are low and will not affect your potential for parenting in the future.  Donating eggs does not in any way cause early menopause. We suggest you contact a donor agency and ask them to walk you through the general process of egg donation. They will be able to discuss donor responsibilities and any concerns you may have.

To read the complete selection of questions that our experts have answered regarding egg donation, please visit http://www.fertilityproregistry.com/egg-donation/qa.

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