Conversations about infertility treatments almost exclusively focus on a woman or couple trying to have a baby—whether it be through ovulation induction, IVF, the use of a donor, or another strategy. Of course, the other side of all that is the incredible women who choose to donate their eggs so that another can experience the blessing of having a child.
Egg donation is giving the gift of a family to woman or couple who struggle with infertility issues; it helps make their dreams of parenthood come true. Donating your eggs is a powerful decision that has a long-lasting impact.
Some women are compelled to donate their eggs but hesitate because they’re afraid they won’t have enough eggs later in life if they decide to have children. That isn’t the case. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we follow the guidelines set by The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the governing body of reproductive medicine, which recommend no more than six donations in a woman’s lifetime. Dr. Gelety is always available to discuss these concerns—or any others—and answer all your questions before we begin the procedure.
Our team is here for our egg donors just as much as we’re here to support prospective parents. We want to make sure you’re comfortable every step of the way. We’ll let you know what to expect throughout the screening process and walk with you from approval to retrieval. Here are a few things to know if you’re considering donating your eggs.
Our Egg-Donor Application Process
Once you’ve decided egg donation is the right choice for you, you can apply to become an egg-donor through our online form, which consists of roughly 20 questions.
There are specific FDA rules and requirements—plus a few additional guidelines of our own—we follow when screening egg donors. For example, in order to be approved to donate you must:
- Not use marijuana
- Have fewer than six sexual partners in your lifetime
- Have no history of an STD
- Have a BMI of 18-28
- Be 29 years of age or younger
- Have a flexible schedule
When you apply, we determine your eligibility based on the initial form. If you meet all requirements, we’ll send you an email to complete the rest of the application. Passing the first round of eligibility does not guarantee you’ll be able to become an egg donor.
The second part of the application is a bit longer. We ask about your family and health history, as well as your educational background. You’ll also have to complete an essay and send us a few of your baby pictures.
If you’re approved after this portion of the screening, we’ll add you to our “active” list, where recipients can view your information when seeking out a donor. Our clinic differs from most others in that we wait until you match with a recipient before retrieving your eggs; this is so we can do a fresh transfer and have the best opportunity for a successful pregnancy.
What to Expect from the Retrieval Procedure
After you’ve been matched with a recipient and asked to donate your eggs, we’ll ask that you let us know when you start your period, so we can begin the process. We’ll then give you medication to stimulate your ovaries to produce several eggs at once for retrieval. Many women worry about the hormone injections, but we make sure you know how to properly do it to minimize any pain; side effects with the medication are also typically mild, if any occur at all.
Once we start, you’ll have to visit our office regularly throughout your cycle for monitoring, like bloodwork and ultrasound examinations.
About a week after retrieval, you’ll come back to our center for a check-up and to receive your payment. At this appointment, we’ll ask if you’d like to donate again. Most women have a positive experience, especially with the knowledge they’ve helped make a family’s dreams come true, and are excited to for another opportunity to donate.