You may have seen ads in your college bathroom like I did, or on online lists of how to make money fast, maybe someone close to you has asked for your help so that they can have a child of their own.
Egg donation is a big decision but it can come with incredible benefits and a sense of purpose. But it’s not as easy as a chicken laying an egg.
If you’ve ever considered donating your eggs, are looking for someone who can donate eggs, or are just curious about all things reproductive health related – look no further. Let’s unscramble your questions, and learn all about egg donation.
Why Do People Donate Their Eggs?
No matter the underlying motive is for donating eggs, the act itself is one of immense generosity, and is life changing for the families who are able to receive those eggs.
What are the main reasons people donate their eggs?
To Help People
For people who have difficulty conceiving, or don’t have their own eggs to use, egg donation is an option so that they can build a family.
When people donate eggs to a family, they know that they are giving them one the most invaluable gifts in the world.
Sometimes people donate their eggs to family or friends, but oftentimes it’s to total strangers, which is usually coordinated through an agency or fertility clinic.
For Financial Reasons
Egg donation often pays large amounts of money for people who are willing and able to go through the process. This is why many agencies often target young, college aged people who could really benefit from the extra cash.
Just how much are we talking about? Egg donation can pay anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 USD.
There’s only a handful of countries where it’s legal for people to be compensated for egg donation including the United States, UK, Russia, and Spain. In Australia, France, and Canada egg donation is legal, but compensation is not. In much of the world, egg donation is completely illegal, whether or not people are paid for it.
It’s important to point out that even if someone is compensated for the process, it is still an incredibly generous thing to offer a hopeful family. If and how much someone gets paid for egg donation is between them, the people they are helping, and the agency if there’s one involved.
What is The Process Like?
Egg donation is a time consuming, and potentially emotionally and physically tolling process.
People will typically start out by filling out a comprehensive application to make sure they qualify to donate. Agencies and fertility clinics screen potential donors through:
- Psychological and screening and consultation.
- Fertility and gynecological exams.
- Possible genetic and drug testing.
- Tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Their age, people ages twenty one to twenty nine are accepted most often.
Once you are accepted, the process typically takes two to four months.
The process of egg donation is similar to that of IVF egg retrieval. When it comes time for the donation cycle, you will most likely have doctor’s appointments a few times a week, if not daily. You’ll also need to inject yourself with fertility drugs daily, or even multiple times a day.
When it comes time for the retrieval process, you’ll have to undergo a surgical procedure where a needle goes through your vaginal wall, and into your ovaries. The needle is guided by an ultrasound.
Are There Risks to Egg Donation?
There isn’t much long term research on egg donors, so it’s difficult to say just what the long term effects may be.
A big one is the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). The fertility drugs used for egg production can potentially cause the ovaries to swell and leak fluid into the abdomen. While rare, OHSS can cause people to lose an ovary, and can even be life-threatening. OHSS can also affect future fertility.
While there aren’t exact statistics about OHSS in people who donate eggs, about three to eight percent of people who are under IVF develop it. The risk may be similar for both groups of people, but with a much different mentality. People undergoing IVF are choosing a last ditch effort to have biological children, while people donating are doing just donating.
People under the age of thirty five, have a low BMI, or who have PCOS are at a higher risk for developing OHSS.
Other potential side effects of the process include:
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
Before You Decide to Donate
Be sure you thoroughly screen the clinic or agency to protect yourself against potential scammers.
Thoroughly think about and weigh the potential risks and commitment with the reward. You most likely will be asked to refrain from intercourse during the process, as well as stay sober.
Think about whether you have the time to commit to this process. It is very involved, and you might not have the energy or time to carry on with your normal schedule.
Egg donation is a major decision, but it comes with the ability to help out potential parents fulfill their dreams.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.