1. Is there an age requirement to become an egg donor?
Yes. We require that our donors be between the ages of 21-30 years of age.
2. How will egg donation affect my personal lifestyle?
Once a donor has begun taking medication she needs to ensure she has protected sexual intercourse for the duration of the cycle of donation (use condoms), as well as the following month after egg retrieval. From start to
finish a donor will generally have 8-10 visits to the doctors’ office. The majority of those visits occur during the two weeks before egg retrieval. Monitoring visits (while the donor is in cycle) will take place early in the morning usually between 7:00-9:00 a.m. Because of these monitoring visits it’s necessary to live within commuting distance of New York City. A donor can expect about 15-25 minutes for exam time during morning monitoring and these early hours are on a first come, first serve basis. If you have an early commitment or have to get to work after the visit it’s best to be first in line.
3. Will I be more or less fertile after egg donation?
You will be more fertile in the month following egg donation than you are generally used to being. After one month you will return to your normal fertility status. Once you have stopped injecting the fertility medication, it will no longer affect your body, or remain in your system.
4. How does egg donation affect my fertility status for the future?
Egg donation does not appear to have any long-term effects upon fertility.
5. Is it true that if I got a tattoo or a piercing it will be at least a year from the date I got the tattoo before I can be screened as an egg donor?
Yes. If you have gotten a recent tattoo or piercing we will have to wait one year from the date that you got the tattoo before you are eligible to be screened as an egg d
6. What side effects will I experience (if any) from taking fertility medication?
Daily blood sampling and hormone injections are generally well tolerated. However, some women experience discomfort, redness or small bruises or rarely, infection at the site of injections. Treatment side effects from the FSH medication may include breast tenderness, fluid retention, a bloated feeling, moodiness and tenderness of the ovaries.
There may be n increase in the size of the ovaries. Less common side effects include fluid retention in the abdomen that is temporary. Physicians will routinely regulate your medication to minimize discomfort and side effects. 7. What are some of the medical risks or complications associated with egg donation? Egg retrieval is always performed under ultrasound guidance, however there is always a small risk that a needle may puncture surrounding tissue or organs, causing injury, bleeding or infection. There is also a risk (less than 3%) of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. During ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, the ovaries become enlarged and fluid may collect in the abdominal cavity causing bloating, pelvic discomfort or pain. In rare cases, hospitalization may be required if ovarian hyperstimulation progresses to a severe state (though this is very rare). Because of the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome close monitoring during the cycle of egg donation is imperative. It is our goal to prevent hyperstimulation from occurring through careful monitoring of an egg donor while she is taking medication. If the physician believes that a donor is too sensitive to the process of ovarian stimulation he will cancel the cycle of egg donation to prevent hyper stimulation from happening- he will take the donor off the stimulation medication thus preventing further hypersensitivity. Once the donor is off the stimulation medication her hormone levels will drop down to a normal level.
8. How much will I get paid for my time and effort?
Our current compensation for your time, commitment and effort starts at $8,500.00 (and up) for a completed cycle of egg donation. If your cycle is cancelled due to no fault of your own, after you have begun injected medications you may receive up to $1,000.00 in egg donor compensation.
9. Is it true that donors who have lived in Europe or parts of Africa for more than five years between 1980-1996 cannot donate in the U.S.?
Yes. The FDA is concerned about the occurrence of Mad Cow disease. Donors that lived in Europe for more than five years during 1980-1996 or who are from certain parts of Africa are not eligible to donate their eggs in the United States. Also donors that lived in the U.K. for more than 5 months during the same time period are not eligible to donate in the U.S.
10. How long does the average cycle take?
Generally the whole process takes about 6-8 weeks from the time that the donor is matched until completion of the cycle.
Preparation for the cycle of egg donation actually takes longer than the cycle itself. We must first find a recipient couple to match with a donor candidate- this may be immediate- and it may take some time depending upon the recipients we are working with and the heritage and characteristic they are seeking in an egg donor.
Once a match has been made a donor can expect the screening process to take at least three to four weeks (it takes that long to receive all the completed results from the donor testing).
The actual cycle of egg donation takes approximately two and a half to three weeks from day 3 of the donor's menstrual cycle to the day of egg retrieval.
11. Will the recipient couple ever discover my identity?
No. If you choose to participate as an anonymous egg donor, the couple will not discover your identity. They will only know about your physical characteristics from your donor profile. But no information will be given out about your name, date of birth or any information that could lead to discovering your identity.
12. Is fertility medication injectable?
Yes. The medications you will need to take in preparation for egg donation are self-injectable medication. You will be required to give yourself injections (the nurse will teach you how to do this). It is not difficult but if you are needle phobic- it would not be possible for you to donate. You will take injections at least once daily for between 10-20 days depending upon the protocol the doctor prescribes for you.
13. Will I be given anesthesia for egg retrieval?
Yes. Intravenous (IV) sedation is administered by an anesthesiologist. Occasionally, a donor may experience one or more of the following short-term side effects from this type of anesthesia: Nausea, vomiting, and sleepiness. Therefore, we instruct you to rest for 24 hours after retrieval. You MUST NOT DRIVE for at least 24 hours after taking anesthesia. And we suggest you bring another adult with you who will accompany you home after the procedure.
14. How many eggs does the average donor produce?
The average donor produces 9-12 eggs, but egg production depends upon the individual and how they respond to the medication. The number of eggs produced by a donor can be as low as five or as high as 35, there are factors such as heredity involved- and we cannot predict how many eggs a donor will produce before egg retrieval.
15. Will I have a lot of pain or bleeding after egg retrieval? You may experience some discomfort similar to menstrual cramps directly after the procedure of egg retrieval but they should dissipate within hours of the procedure. You may also experience light spotting, but you should not have heavy bleeding and you should call us immediately if you begin to bleed heavily or have acute abdominal pain, as this would be highly unusual. 16. How long will I have to be away from School or Work after retrieval?
We recommend modified bed rest for 24 hours after retrieval. If you have work or school- you should be able to return to usual activities the day after egg retrieval.
17. Will Medical Insurance be ordered for Egg Donors that are chosen to participate in a cycle of anonymous Egg Donation?
Yes! An Egg Donor Insurance policy will be purchased by the recipient couple as part of the medical cost she pays for in an egg donation cycle. This insurance policy will cover an egg donor during the cycle of egg donation for any medical care that is required because of the cycle of egg donation. An egg donor should NEVER volunteer her own Medical Insurance in an anonymous egg donation situation. All expenses for the cycle of egg donation will be covered by the recipient couple that chooses to cycle with the egg donor and none of the expenses (including birth control pills at the start of the egg donor cycle) should be put on the donor's own medical insurance. 18. How long will it take my body to return to normal after egg retrieval?
You should anticipate a menstrual period within 14 days after egg retrieval. The first period may be unusually heavy compared to your average period, but this is to be expected and is a side effect of the stimulation medication. Following the next menstrual cycle, your body should be back to it's normal cycle.
19. Is there a limit to how often I can safely donate?
Yes, the ASRM, an ethical board that oversees Reproductive Technologies, recommends that donors limit themselves to no more than 6 donations in their life time.
20. Do I have to pay for any of the medical exams or medication?
No. The egg donor will not cover any of the costs of medical exams, screening tests, medication or egg donor insurance. All of this will be paid for by the recipient with whom the egg donor has been matched. 21. What happens in the cycle of egg donation and how are the visits broken down? The medication protocol may begin with the administration of birth control pills (to coordinate her menstrual cycles with that of the recipient). She may or may not also be given Lupron on day 3 of the donor's menstrual cycle. Approximately one week after the Lupron begins the donor will have a light period. Usually after 10 days of administration of Lupron the donor will come in for her first morning monitoring visit.
However, some doctors may skip the use of Lupron and begin ovarian stimulation medication (FSH) on the third day of the donor's menstrual cycle.
The donor will usually begin the administration of FSH medication at this time. For the next 8-14 days the donor needs to plan for early morning visits to the clinic for blood tests and ultrasound examinations (typically every second to third day). It is during this time that FSH will be self-administered to stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg.
Monitoring examinations generally last 15-20 minutes and are typically scheduled between 7:00am-9:00am, 7 days a week.
The exact date of egg retrieval depends upon how the donors’ ovaries respond to the FSH medication. The donor must be prepared to stop her usual activities (including school and work) at short notice, for one day in order to undergo egg retrieval. Since egg retrieval is time dependent it is important that the donor keeps her appointment and arrives on time.
Because she will be sedated for egg retrieval we will advise that the donor rest at home following egg retrieval, which will be scheduled in the morning. The donor will be given specific instructions about a follow up appointment after egg retrieval.
Becoming an Egg Donor is easier than you think. Though there is a lot of detailed information to take in at one time- the process happens step-by-step and the nurses and doctors will complete a check list of tests, exams and questionnaires before going to the next step. The entire process generally takes 6-8 weeks from the time the egg donor is matched until she has completed the process and undergone egg retrieval.
The majority of time involved with a cycle of egg donation is in the preparation for cycle and the approval process. The actual cycle of egg donation usually takes two to two and a half weeks from start to finish.
For more information about the process of egg donation please call 212-665-5559 or email: DonorServices@aol.com
We are happy to take the time to discuss the process of egg donation and answer your questions for both egg donors and intended parents.
A Past Egg Donor Writes: “I thought about becoming an egg donor for a long time before I moved ahead with it. I did a lot of reading about the process of egg donation.
I wanted to help a loving couple have the child they dreamt of- And I was very happy to have been chosen to be an egg donor. I put the compensation money to good use- and I am now studying nursing. I am pursuing my own dream and Egg Donation helped that to happen."
A Past Egg Donor Writes: “Being an egg donor and the process of donation (the medications, office visits and retrieval) was much easier than I imagined it would be! It was a wonderful experience. I’m very happy to know that I made a positive contribution in someone else’s life. I recommend Egg Donation for other women as a way of helping with expenses while doing something very good for someone else.”
Another Past Egg Donor Writes:
"Valerie is diligent when it comes to matching the donors and recipient couples. She is very helpful and is always available to answer any questions you may have about being a donor. She is extremely kind and professional. She is also very fun to work with. I love working with Valerie because she made me feel comfortable and has already matched me a few times. THANK YOU VALERIE!"
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