Becoming an egg donor is a tremendous gift to give to an infertile couple. Women who seek an egg donor have usually exhausted their own ovarian reserve, and are looking for another option to pursue their dream of carrying a pregnancy and creating their family.
Egg donors are young, healthy women between the ages of 21-31. Our donor team will lead you through the application process, testing and screening phase, and eventually your medicated cycle with experience and diligent care.
During a normal menstrual cycle, multiple eggs are recruited by the ovaries for the potential of pregnancy. While only one egg is chosen and eventually released, the other deselected eggs are lost that month. With an egg donation cycle, we wish to encourage those extra eggs that are produced but never utilized to grow, and be available for donation and fertilization outside the body. Therefore, with egg donation, you are not diminishing your large quantity of eggs, or impacting your future fertility.
The first step to becoming an egg donor requires filling out our online donor application. We ask an initial set of questions to confirm that you are a candidate for our program. If confirmed, you will move on to a longer, more detailed form. Please take your time filling out this information, as accuracy is very important. Also, please give some thought to your verbal responses to open ended questions and give thorough answers.
After submitting your application, it will be reviewed by the donor team staff and if you meet our criteria, we will contact you to begin the screening process. First, you will come to our office during your period for a baseline blood test and vaginal ultrasound. This will tell us if your ovaries are healthy, and if your hormone levels indicate that you would be a good responder to the medication. Next, you will be asked to schedule your ‘Donor Exam’, which is a 3 hour appointment in the Marlton office. During this visit, we will complete a physical, infectious disease blood work, genetic testing and psychological consultation. This will also be our opportunity to get to know you better, educate you about the process, and answer all of your questions.
It takes approximately 2 weeks to get all of your test results back. Upon receipt of your results and clearing you medically and psychologically, we will attempt to match you to a waiting recipient. Matching times are different for every donor, and greatly depend on what potential egg recipients are looking for at the time. Matching generally occurs within 1 to 3 months.
Once you are matched, we will receive a detailed timeline that will give you specific medication and office visit instructions for the next 6-8 weeks, which will allow you to make arrangements for work and school. The hormone medications are given by a small, ½” needle in your belly or thigh. You will learn to mix your medications and administer them yourself. We will ask that you are available to come to our office frequently during the 2 week injection period, as monitoring your response to the medication closely is imperative to maintaining your comfort and safety, and also to the cycle's success. These appointments are always in the morning, so you are free to go to work or school after your visit.
During this medication phase, you will find that you feel symptoms that include bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, changes in mood, abdominal tenderness, and headaches. A syndrome called ‘Hyperstimulation’ is possible during your cycle, which means that you are having an aggressive response to the medication and may feel severe side effects, including shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and dizziness. These circumstances are rare, and can be avoided by changes in medication dosages or in cycle cancellation in extreme cases.
Eventually, your follicles (eggs) will be mature and ready for your egg retrieval. The egg retrieval is considered a minor surgery, and you will be administered IV sedation. You must have the day off for this procedure, and someone must drive you home from our office and stay with you while you are recovering. You can expect to feel some soreness after your egg retrieval, and potentially have some spotting or abdominal pain. We are most concerned about the health, safety, and well being of our donors above all else in our practice. Our providers are available 24/7 by phone to answer your questions and concerns, and you are welcome to come to our office for evaluation even after egg retrieval during your recovery.
Upon completion of your egg retrieval, you will be compensated $8000. This is for the time and effort you have put forth for this cycle. Your compensation will be reduced if your cycle is cancelled due to Hyperstimulation or due to poor response to the medication. We may also decrease your compensation for missed appointments or noncompliance with your medication instructions.
DVIF&G’s egg donation program is completely anonymous. With your consent, we will share whatever photographs you provide with your application with any potential recipients. While all of your identifying information will be kept private, you should be aware of advances in technology that allow facial recognition and for the potential of the loss of your anonymity when sharing photographs.
Please see our list of Egg Donor Frequently Asked Questions.
Please feel free to contact our Third Party team for more information about becoming an egg donor at DVIF&G. We look forward to working with you, and appreciate your participation in our program.