Donating your eggs is a unique and rewarding experience. It’s a powerful way to help build families for women who are unable to utilize eggs of their own or same-sex couples who require eggs to create embryos. Most importantly, becoming an egg donor is a commitment to fulfill the hopes and dreams of very special Intended Parents.
The egg donation process requires commitment, and it’s important to know what to expect before starting your journey as an egg donor. When you decide to become an egg donor, you will go through a series of steps that includes both physical and mental screening. This egg donor screening includes various tests, assessments, and questionnaires to ascertain your suitability to become a donor.
The physical screening before your egg donation cycle
First, you’ll undergo a series of medical tests to ensure you are physically healthy and a good candidate for donating eggs. These tests will involve a physical exam of your heart, lungs, abdominal area, and pelvis. Good test results will confirm that you can safely receive stimulation medications and undergo the egg retrieval procedure.
You’ll undergo an evaluation of your reproductive health by a medical professional, including a transvaginal ultrasound of your uterus and ovaries. The procedure will include an antral follicle count to assess your egg reserve and check for any problems like cysts or masses. You will also give a blood sample at this visit to check for any undiagnosed medical conditions or infectious diseases such as STDs or genetic disorders. The clinic will also test your hormone levels.
During the egg donor screening appointment, the IVF nurse coordinator will give you a rundown on what your journey will involve. You also get to meet with the reproductive endocrinologist.
The medical team will review all of your results and decide whether you are physically capable of donating healthy eggs.
FDA Donor Screening Tests
In addition to all of the other medical screening tests, the FDA also requires some specific testing. In 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented mandatory regulations for third-party reproduction. These regulations require all egg donors to undergo specific tests within 30 days before the egg retrieval process.
The FDA tests include:
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia vaginal or urine cultures
- HIV-I and HIV-II screening
- Hepatitis B surface antigen and Hepatitis B core antibody tests
- Hepatitis C antibody test
- RPR (rapid plasma reagin) screening test for syphilis
- Assessment of medical history (physical exam and risk factor assessment)
Psychological screening for egg donors
Psychological screening is just as important as medical screening. These tests will help us to be sure that you’re mentally and emotionally capable of going through the egg donation process.
The psychological screening for egg donors involves detailed questions about your personal psychological history and family history. Knowing your family history helps the psychologist to determine any biological patterns regarding your psychiatric health or any possible cases of undiagnosed mental illness.
The psychologist will also ask questions about your educational history to evaluate the possibility of learning disorders. These questions will also help us ensure that you have the necessary cognitive skills to understand the importance of the egg donation journey.
While all these questions may sound quite intrusive, it provides us with the information we need to make the best possible match between a donor and the Intended Parents. The Intended Parents need assurance that their longed-for child will be healthy and happy. It’s also vital that you, as the egg donor, know exactly what you’re about to embark upon. Your eggs are a piece of your genetic material, and you should understand the lifelong legal and personal implications of donating them to someone else.
Other things for egg donors to know
How long does the medical screening appointment take?
The entire medical screening appointment will take around two to three hours. After your screening, you can usually expect to receive your screening results within two to four weeks.
Will I have to travel for my egg donor screening?
Family Source Consultants works with fertility clinics all over the United States. If you’ve specified that you’re willing to travel for your donation, you will be required to travel to your Intended Parents clinic for the egg donor screening and your egg retrieval. Occasionally, egg donors can complete their screening locally and travel only for egg retrieval.
Will I have to pay for my egg donor screening?
The great thing about applying to be an egg donor through Family Source Consultants is that all of your expenses will be covered, including costs for travel and incidentals, where necessary. If you incur any out-of-pocket expenses related to your donation, we will fully reimburse you.
Do I need to find my own lawyer?
If you’re accepted as an egg donor, the FSC team will walk you through the legal side of the donation process. We will put you in touch with a lawyer who will work with you to iron out the terms of your contract. This is provided at no cost to you.
What about insurance?
FSC will provide you with life insurance and health insurance policies to cover you throughout your egg donation journey.
Insurance covers you for any medical issues that may occur during your egg donation process, providing peace of mind for both you and your IPs.
Need more information about becoming an egg donor?
After you submit your application, we’ll send you a link to watch our egg donor screening webinar and a video about how to prepare your egg donor profile. These videos will answer even more questions about what to expect throughout your egg donor journey.
You may still have loads of questions about becoming an egg donor — and that’s great! The FSC team is on hand to answer any questions and guide you through the decision-making process. Many of the staff have been egg donors or are recipient parents themselves, so they have firsthand experience of this amazing journey! Feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to meeting you!