There’s no greater gift than helping someone have a child. However, it’s also a decision you shouldn’t make lightly.
Dr. Tony Tsai and The New York Fertility Center team work with people on both sides of the coin — those struggling with infertility and donors who want to help. Are you considering egg donation? Here are five things you should know.
1. You must go through a screening process
Before you can donate your eggs, you have to undergo a thorough screening process to confirm you’re a good candidate. It typically starts with a detailed questionnaire capturing your personal and medical history, including your genetic history.
Generally speaking, good egg candidates:
- Are age 21-30
- Are nonsmokers
- Have a healthy body mass index (BMI)
- Are in good physical and mental health with a healthy reproductive system
- Understand that once you donate your eggs, you give up all rights and responsibilities to them and any resulting children
If your questionnaire meets our general requirements, you might advance to more thorough screening appointments. These sessions often involve a physical exam, laboratory tests, genetic counselors, and psychologists.
2. Egg donation takes time
Unlike dropping off personal items at a donation center, donating your eggs requires a time commitment. The screening itself can take several weeks, but that’s only the beginning.
Once you become an egg donor, your donation cycle typically takes about four weeks. During the first two weeks of this time, you should also expect to have 6-10 office visits for blood tests and ultrasound monitoring.
On the day of your egg retrieval, you spend most of the day at the clinic.
3. There’s a strict process to follow
During a stimulation cycle, you have to give yourself several injections each day. These medications work to enlarge your ovaries and stimulate egg production.
You must avoid certain activities during this period — vigorous exercise such as running, jumping, and mountain biking as well as drinking alcohol. You can also become pregnant during this time, so you should avoid sexual intercourse.
4. Egg donation can come with some side effects
As with all medical procedures, egg donation can come with some risks and side effects, such as:
- Pelvic cramping or bleeding for 1-3 days after retrieval
- Pain, redness, or bruising at injection or blood draw sites
- Bloating, swelling, moodiness, or breast tenderness from hormone medications
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
There’s also a minor chance of bleeding or pelvic organ damage during egg retrieval, but this is very rare.
There’s no evidence that egg donation affects your fertility or increases your risk of breast or ovarian cancer.
5. Your donation may not remain anonymous
It’s tempting to consider egg donation an anonymous gift. Our team works closely with egg donors and recipients to make optimal arrangements for each participant. However, even if donors are anonymous at the time, it may not remain that way indefinitely.
In reality, there are numerous ways for people to trace their biological origins now, and they can do it from the comfort of their own home — it just takes one quick swab. Even if you don’t use these services yourself, people can make connections through your relatives who do.
There’s no guarantee that a future child may contact you, so it shouldn’t be a deterrent. But it’s something to keep in mind before becoming a donor.
Do you have more questions about egg donation? Our experienced team at The New York Fertility Center can help you reach the best decision. Contact our office in downtown Flushing Queens or Flatiron in Manhattan, New York, today.