Egg donor guide
Help give someone the joy of parenthood and receive compensation for your time
Couples can have difficulty achieving a pregnancy for a variety of reasons. When the main issue is a problem with the woman’s eggs, egg donation can help. Many women are able to become pregnant with the use of donated eggs. In fact, with egg donation alone over the last year, our patients at RSC had over a 75 percent pregnancy success rate using donor eggs, some of the highest success rates in the country.
Since 1983, RSC has been helping women conceive using donated eggs. Our Egg Donor Program meets the highest standards and criteria set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. You can help another woman experience the joy of pregnancy and childbirth by donating your eggs. There is no cost to you for any of the procedures or medications. You are compensated for your time and effort. Most importantly, you feel the great satisfaction of helping a woman have a baby. The process is anonymous and completely confidential.
The first step towards egg donation is understanding the process. We hope this information will help you decide whether you would like to be an egg donor for our Donor Program. It is wonderful and rewarding to help another person have a child and your efforts will be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in becoming an egg donor or a recipient, or would like more information, please contact Macy Shoenthaler our Donor Program Liaison at [email protected] or 925-973-5018.
Who can donate eggs?
Egg donors are healthy women between the ages of 20 and 31. RSCBA accepts applications from Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California . If you are a known private donor, we can make arrangements to coordinate testing in other areas. Potential egg donors can be:
- Anonymous Donors – Many women opt to undergo the egg donation process as anonymous donors. These women donate eggs to an infertile woman or couple who also remain anonymous. All egg donations in which a RSC Program Egg Donor is selected are anonymous.
- Known Donors – Sisters, friends, or other women close to a recipient may donate eggs. Some women who need eggs may search for unrelated donors on their own.
Five steps to becoming an egg donor
1. Donor program online application
The first step as a potential egg donor candidate at RSC is to complete an Ovum Donor Application online. Our Egg Donor Program Liaison will contact you after you submit this application to let you know that your application has been accepted.
2. Medical screening, psychological evaluation & genetic consultation
Once your online application has been submitted and approved, you will then be scheduled for a blood test to assess your ovaries. If your results are normal, you will then be scheduled to complete the screening appointments. This is generally completed all in a few hours and includes a:
- 2 hour in office appointment that includes an informational session, medical history, physical examination, genetic screening, and lab testing for general health assessment and infectious disease
- 1 ½ hour consultation with a psychotherapist that includes a psychological evaluation, psychosocial counseling and a personality assessment screening to assist the therapist in the psychological evaluation
- 30 minute phone consultation with a genetic counselor to review the genetic screening results from your in office appointment
All screening and testing must be completed and approved before you are made an active donor and available to be matched with egg donor recipients. Screening can take on average 4-6 weeks from start to finish. Failure to be approved at any step in this process may result in a deferral from our program.
Once all of the above requirements are met you are now an active RSC Program Donor, congratulations! Your anonymous profile will be made available to recipients to select and match with you. Our Donor Program Liaison will stay connected with you while you patiently wait for to be matched. You will be contacted as soon as you have been chosen to participate in a cycle.
4. Cycle coordination
Once you have been matched, your Case Coordinator will assist you and your recipient(s) in coordinating your donation cycle. You and your recipient(s) will agree on a target month for the egg retrieval. Coordination of your treatment cycle to the recipient’s cycle will occur. This process may take several months based on your normal cycle, the recipient’s normal cycle and your personal schedules. It is important to note that it usually takes 4-6 weeks from the time you and your recipient are synchronized with birth control pills until the actual egg retrieval.
5. Reimbursement and follow up appointment
Your decision to become an egg donor is a generous contribution and you will be reimbursed for your time and commitment by the recipient. The total compensation for each completed cycle is $9,500.
More About the Egg Donation Cycle Coordination Process
We use ultrasound (which uses sound waves, not X-rays) and blood tests to monitor the development of eggs in your ovaries. To perform an ultrasound, a small probe is placed inside the vagina to look at your ovaries. The process takes a few minutes and is not painful. The blood tests measure your estrogen level, which is another way to determine the progress of your ovaries.
Donation Cycle Ovary Stimulation
- Baseline Visit and Hormone Injections – You will start birth control pills with the onset of your period the month your treatment cycle is planned. The birth control pills will last a few weeks, typically, and then you will come to our office for an ultrasound and blood test. This “baseline” exam will determine if you are ready to start your injectable medications. After the examination, you will start taking hormone medications (Gonal-F, Follistim) to stimulate your ovaries to produce many eggs. These medications are injected with a tiny needle into the lower abdomen. Typical side effects include abdominal bloating and injection site bruising but this is temporary and usually goes away shortly after your completed donation cycle.
- Dose adjustment – After four or five days of hormone injections, you return to the office for an ultrasound and blood test. This test helps us evaluate the development of the eggs in your ovaries and allows for necessary dose adjustments. Continue the hormone injections as instructed by your doctor, who will schedule your next appointment for a couple of days later.
- Egg development – Over the course of the next week, you will continue to have blood tests and ultrasounds to evaluate your ovaries. The blood tests can be daily, or ever two to three days depending on your progress. Continue the daily hormone injections until your doctor determines that your eggs are ready. We will advise you not to exercise or have intercourse during this time period.
- Mature eggs – When the ultrasound and blood testing suggest that you have mature eggs in your ovaries, you will administer one final injection called lupron/leuprolide acetate. The average donor will require a total of 10-12 nights of injections in order to mature their eggs.
Once you are ready for egg recovery as determined by a RSC physician, you will be instructed to take another medication exactly 36 hours prior to the removal of eggs from your ovaries. This medication will bring the egg to final maturity. The sonographic egg recovery (SER), involves the use of an ultrasound-guided needle to gently remove the eggs from the ovaries. It is a simple, painless procedure with the use of light sedation medication and takes about 30 minutes to complete. You will be completely relaxed and not remember anything. The aspirated eggs are then donated to an anonymous recipient.
After the procedure, you will need a responsible adult to drive you home and remain with you overnight, you should rest for the remainder of the day. You can expect to resume normal activities the following day. We encourage all egg donors to return to the office to be seen and make sure everything is going well. You should not exercise or have intercourse until you get your period, approximately one week later.
Egg Donors – Let’s Look at Ways We Can Prepare
Being an egg (oocyte) donor is a wonderful gift to others. How should one best prepare for an egg donation cycle?
The three months before an egg donation cycle can influence the success of the resulting pregnancy. We routinely advise optimizing wellness and achieving a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Here are 12 suggestions for preparing for an egg donation cycle:
1.) Plan Ahead! At least three months, if possible.
2.) Know your personal health history and your family’s health history. You will be asked for detailed information during the screening process. You will also meet with a genetic counselor and a psychologist.
3.) Discuss with your healthcare provider all medications, supplements and over the counter products you are using.
4.) Make sure any current medical conditions are reviewed during the application process.
5.) Emphasize a healthy diet. Increase whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods, excess refined sugars and saturated fats. Drink plenty of fresh, filtered water. Limit caffeine to no more than two servings daily.
6.) Take a multivitamin. This will provide additional antioxidants to your diet. If you are not already taking a vitamin, start when you begin the birth control pills.
7.) Try to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
8.) No tobacco usage.
9.) In the month before your egg donation cycle starts, limit alcohol consumption to four or fewer servings weekly (servings: beer–12 oz; wine-5 oz; hard liquor-1.5 oz). Avoid binge drinking. Once you start the stimulation medications, alcohol is prohibited.
10.) Avoid environmental factors – chemicals especially plastics (BPA & Phthalates), radiation, pesticides and pollution.
11.) Once you begin your stimulation medications, avoid moderate to intense physical activity and sex.
12.) Maintain a healthy sleep pattern. Practice stress management.
Egg donation carries the same risks as in vitro fertilization (IVF) through the egg retrieval stage. In addition, you should abstain from intercourse within a week on either side of the time that eggs are retrieved because it is possible that you could get pregnant. These medicines and procedures are unlikely to affect your future fertility, and it is rare that they would cause any major harm to your health. Very rarely a donor could develop an infection or have bleeding after the egg retrieval process.
Refer a Friend
Our best egg donors come to us through word of mouth referrals from YOU, our current egg donors. When you refer a friend, you’ll receive a $200 referral fee upon completion of her donation cycle. Referral must be a new donor to our program.