Every year there are thousands of people whose only chance of a baby is through either egg or sperm donation. Donating eggs is an incredible act, as you will be giving an amazing gift, helping other people become parents. We always welcome egg donors, as there is a waiting list for donor eggs. Your donation happens over just a few weeks – this temporary change in lifestyle could mean a whole new future for people who need donor eggs, and can’t have children without your help.
Types of egg donor
There are three different types of egg donor:
- Altruistic donors (who are donating eggs to a recipient they don’t know)
- Known donors (who are donating eggs to someone they know)
- Egg sharers (who are donating eggs in the course of their own IVF/ICSI treatment)
Who can be an egg donor?
Egg donors need to fit the following criteria:
- be less than 36 years old (i.e. before 36th birthday)
- be a non-smoker
- have a body mass index of less than 30
- have an approved medical and family history
- have approved blood tests (hormone, genetic and infectious screening)
- be aware that each donor can consent to creating up to 10 families
- be aware that you will be required to administer your own injections to stimulate your ovaries.
- have considered the emotional impact your donation could have on your own children or any potential future children you may have.
- be aware that you will be required to attend the clinic at designated times and these appointments are important, so there may be a temporary impact on your lifestyle (Patients on stimulation injections & monitoring for an average of 8-10 days with a few visits expected during this time).
Altruistic egg donors
How it works
Altruistic donors give eggs to a clinic for a recipient they don’t know, to be mixed with a partner’s sperm, or donor sperm, and used in IVF/ICSI treatment. Women who want to donate will undergo screening tests to make sure there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a donor. Before the eggs are used, they’ll be matched with the recipient’s physical characteristics, i.e. hair colour, build etc. It’s an anonymous process: the donor and the recipient won’t know each other’s identities. The eggs could be used ‘fresh’, if the cycles of the two women are co-ordinated, or they could be frozen for use in a later cycle.
You can read about what happens when you decide to donate your eggs below, in the Egg Donor Journey (place-on-page link).
Our altruistic donors eggs donors make several visits to the clinic over the course of a few weeks. This includes consent appointments at the start of the process, monitoring during stimulation and the egg collection procedure itself. Donors can receive expenses of up to £750 for undergoing the process, and the time it takes to travel and attend appointments.
Known egg donors
Known egg donors donate eggs to someone they know. There is no remuneration offered by the clinic for this process. The recipient can offer expenses to their donor, but they must comply with the maximum expenses outlined by the HFEA, in the same way that the clinic would with an altruistic donor.
Sometimes a woman already planning to have IVF might choose to donate some of the eggs collected during her cycle. She could choose to donate to a specific recipient (known egg sharing) or to the clinic egg bank (altruistic egg sharing). Women who want to share their eggs will undergo screening tests to make sure there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a donor.
Egg donor journey
Your journey as an egg donor is similar in many ways to the first part of a standard IVF cycle journey, which you can see here. Here is the process in brief, to give you an idea of what to expect.
Preliminary tests and screening
To make sure you are able to donate, we need the results of some tests. There are blood tests, swabs, and a vaginal ultrasound scan to assess your ovaries.
Consultation (about an hour)
At a consultation at the clinic, you discuss medical history and test results. We’ll discuss how the egg donation process works in a bit more detail.
To discuss the implications and social aspects of donating your eggs, so that you can make a fully informed decision. (counselling page)
At this appointment you’ll be seen by a nurse, who will explain the consent forms that you are required to sign and explain how and when you have to take the drugs you’ll be using.
Starting the process
The process begins when your period starts, and you call the clinic to let us know. Your treatment may be coordinated with the recipient so your eggs can be used ‘fresh’, or it may start straight away so that they can be frozen.
Ovarian stimulation and monitoring
You start taking medication that stimulates your ovaries as instructed. You’ll attend the clinic 1-3 times over two weeks for scans, and possibly blood tests, to monitor your response to the medication.
Once your follicles are ready, the stimulation period ends with an injection that matures the eggs in the follicles, ready for egg collection. This happens 36-40 hours before the egg collection procedure.
The appointment to collect the eggs will take place 36-40 hours after the trigger injection. The procedure takes about half an hour, and you’ll be given drugs to make you sleepy during the procedure. With the help of a scan probe, a very fine needle is passed through the vaginal wall and into the ovary to collect the eggs. Usually, around 80% of follicles contain an egg. You can go home the same day, after a short rest at the clinic. You’ll need someone to pick you up; you mustn’t drive for the rest of the day, because of the anaesthetic.
You’ll return to the clinic about 2 weeks after your egg collection, to have your final blood tests. This isn’t always required if your eggs are donated without being frozen.
Your final expenses will be reimbursed after your final visit to the clinic. We and our patients are hugely grateful to our egg donors, who make the dream of a family possible.
If you are interested in becoming an egg donor, please call the clinic on 01865 782 800.