Do you know that many couples find it impossible to conceive? Sometimes, it is because of bad quality eggs. This could be caused by many things – cancer treatment, age, early menopause or some ovarian disorders. These couples then usually try fertility treatments to increase their chances of conception. When even that fails, some go in for accepting egg donations.
However, it is not necessary for egg recipients to be couples. They can also be single men or women.
Essentially anyone who needs eggs to conceive can opt for donor eggs.
Is It Hard To Donate Eggs?
Egg donation is not a simple process. You will have to get a check up. Then comes days of medication and injections. The final step in the whole process is the egg retrieval.
For the sake of your health as well to ensure the successful completion of the process, you need an experienced team of doctors, medical professionals and technicians. People who know what they are doing.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO START?
It’s actually quite simple. The first thing is of course to let a fertility clinic know that you are interested in donating your eggs for money. This you can do in two ways. You can find all of the facilities in the United States that are licensed in egg donation.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE EGG DONATION SCREENING?
In the first step is always a questionnaire. This will tell the doctors everything they need to do know about your medical and family history.
In the second step, you will be interviewed by a genetic counselor as well as psychologist in most cases.
Finally, in the last step you will get a physical examination by a doctor as well as have some lab tests performed.
WHAT DO I GET PAID?
To help an unfulfilled couple conceive and to take part in the process of bringing a new life into this world – according to most donors, is the biggest compensation they receive from donating their eggs.
On top of that, donors are paid any where from $4,000 to $10,000 per egg donation cycle in most cases. This would include the time and effort that they put into this whole process.
Needless to say, the medical screening which includes a host of medical tests are absolutely free. You will of course receive the results of each of these tests for yourself.
HOW LONG WILL ALL THIS TAKE?
It usually takes a few weeks to complete the screening process. Once you have been selected as the egg donor, you will be ready for your egg or ovum donation cycle. This usually takes a total of four weeks.
In this time, you will have to visit an office between 7 to 10 times for monitoring which involves ultrasound and blood tests. Each of these visits can take up to 30 minutes. However, the day the eggs are to be retrieved, you will be spending quite a few hours at the clinic having minor surgery.
The four week process does not interfere with your regular daily life. You can continue with school or your job without any hindrance.
DO I NEED TO TAKE THE HORMONE INJECTIONS BY MYSELF?
Normally nurses will coach you how to take these shots.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS INVOLVED?
Every medical procedure no matter how minor has possible risks and side effects. Before you start, doctors will discuss all the possible side effects and risks with you.
For most women, the discomfort felt during the whole cycle is minimal. Some feel nothing at all. Some on the other hand may face some side effects. These include abdominal pain, swelling, breast tenderness, bloating, pressure and of course moodiness. These symptoms are largely the result of the hormone injections that you will be taking. They usually go away by the next menstrual cycle.
In some cases women also react to the injections and may experience redness, irritation or slight pain at the site. Allergic reactions if any are extremely rare.
There is also a small risk of Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This happens as a result of a reaction to the medication. It shows up in enlarged ovaries and fluid retention in blood vessels and abdomen.
OHSS is usually mild and gets better in a few days. However, in one per cent of the cases OHSS can be severe. This may sometimes require hospitalization for a few days.
As far as the egg retrieval procedure is concerned – it is one of the safest surgical procedures. Complications are extremely rare, about one in a thousand. This could lead to bleeding and require hospitalization. It could also lead to damage to internal organs as well as infection.
No evidence has been found for an increased risk of cancer or infertility.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?
You will be becoming extremely fertile during the egg retrieval cycle. This increases your chance of being pregnant. You will therefore be asked to abstain from sex during this time.
Moreover, your ovaries will become enlarged. So, you will have to avoid extremely physical activities like running, biking and jumping. After about a month of your egg retrieval your ovaries will get back to their normal size.
WILL MY FERTILITY DECREASE?
You have been born with approximately 2 million egg. Every month some of these eggs are released by your ovaries. However only one of the eggs ovulate. The others are discarded and absorbed back into the body.
What the medications given do is allow even the discarded eggs to mature. It DOES NOT effect any way your natural fertility.
WHAT WILL BE MY RESPONSIBILITIES BE AS AN EGG DONOR?
The whole purpose of egg donation is to help a couple get pregnant. Your complete cooperation will be required to make sure that this happens successfully. To this end you will need to take care of the following:
BE TRUTHFUL. Answer all the questions that doctors ask of you during the screening process.
BE METICULOUS about medication and appointments. You have to ensure that you take all your shorts and medications strictly as per the doctor’s instructions.
ABSTAIN from sex during the egg retrieval process.
WHAT ARE MY LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES TOWARDS THE CHILD?
You have no legal responsibilities at all. In fact, when you start the process you give up all rights and responsibilities over the child being born of your eggs.
WILL I GET TO MEET THE COUPLE?
Usually face to face meetings never happen. In fact egg donation tends to be anonymous. All they will know about you are some general facts – What is your blood type? What is your ethnic background? Your height, weight, eye and hair color, education, occupation etc. The couple will also be shown your picture. However, information like your name, telephone number or address will not be shared with the recipients.
Some donors and recipients insist on meeting each other. In these cases, arrangements can be made to allow that.
HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DONATE?
According to American Society for Reproductive Medicine you can donate not more than six times.
We hope this answers some of you questions about the egg donation process and the procedures involved.