Becoming an Egg Donor
Egg donation overview
- A woman with healthy eggs may donate her eggs to be used by another woman who cannot achieve pregnancy due to problems with her own eggs.
- Egg donors are healthy women between the ages of 20 and 32.
- Donors often feel a sense of satisfaction knowing they gave an infertile couple the gift of becoming parents.
- Donors are compensated approximately $5,000 per donation.
Who can be an egg donor?
Healthy women between the ages of 20 and 32 can become egg donors at LLU Center for Fertility. Donors must be non-smokers and non-drug users, and must be generally in good health.
Known donor: Someone known by the recipient, often a family member or close friend who wants to help the couple or woman achieve the parenthood. By prior agreement, an egg donor may remain a part of the child’s life.
Anonymous donor: An egg donor whose identity is not known by the recipient woman or couple. A woman interested in donating her eggs anonymously should contact an egg donation agency or a fertility clinic that offers egg donation services. Both the donor and egg recipients remain completely anonymous.
How to apply to be an egg donor
Interested in being considered for our program? Complete our egg donor application.
One you complete your form, you can mail it directly to our Egg Donor Coordinator, Julie Tapia, at our practice address: 11370 Anderson St., Suite 3950, Loma Linda, CA 92354. If you have questions about the donor selection process, please contact us online or call us at (909) 554-3003.
Benefits of becoming a donor at LLU Center for Fertility
Unlike many corporate egg donor databases, which often contain thousands of donors, the LLU Center for Fertility donor base is small and community based. Because of our size, our egg donors are often selected very quickly by donor egg recipients. It is rare that a donor who makes it through our screening process is never selected. This means shorter wait times for women who want to donate and a higher likelihood of being selected multiple times, if a donor would like to do multiple egg donation cycles.
Compensation is often one factor that motivates women to become egg donors. At our center, we have a special program that allows repeat donors to negotiate their compensation after their first successful egg donation cycle. All donors are compensated $5,000 for their first cycle, but they can often receive much more during subsequent cycles if they choose to donate multiple times.
We know that egg donation is a big commitment and can involve some changes to everyday habits. Our doctors and staff appreciate the sacrifices donors make, so we do our best to make them feel like an important part of our community. Many of our donors say they feel valued and cared for at LLU Center for Fertility. After their donation cycles, our donors also often comment they are proud they were able to help others by becoming a donor.
Egg donation process
1. Medical screening, genetic testing and psychological evaluation: After a woman’s application has been reviewed and she is selected as a potential donor, the agency or fertility clinic will do a thorough screening and workup to ensure that she is a good candidate. Elements of an egg donor screening are:
- Health questionnaire
- Review of medical and gynecological records
- Physical examination
- Psychological evaluation
- Blood work to assess hormone levels
- Genetic testing
- Transvaginal ultrasound or x-ray of reproductive organs
- Infectious disease testing
All screening and testing must be completed prior to being qualified as an active donor. The screening process can take 4-6 weeks.
2. Matching: Once a woman becomes an active donor, potential recipients can review her profile. Profile information includes the donor’s education level, family and medical history, social background and photos of the donor as a child and as an adult.
3. Menstrual cycle coordination: Once a woman is selected as an egg donor by a recipient couple or patient, the agency or clinic will notify her so she can begin to take medications to coordinate cycles with the intended recipient mother.
It is important that the menstrual cycles of both the donor and recipient are aligned so that the recipient’s uterine lining is ready for implantation at the same time the eggs are retrieved from the donor, fertilized and developed into embryos.
The cycle coordination process can take 4-6 weeks. Once the two women’s cycles are aligned, the egg retrieval process can begin.
4. Reimbursement: Egg donation is an amazing gift of life, as well as a big time and emotional commitment. Because of this, anonymous egg donors receive compensation for their donation and participation in the approximate amount of $5,000.
The egg retrieval process
Fertility medications: A donor starts taking birth control on the first day of her period in the month the egg retrieval is planned. She takes the birth control pills for a few weeks and then has an ultrasound and blood test. These determine if the donor is ready to begin the injectable medications for ovarian stimulation.
Ovarian stimulation: The egg donor receives hormone medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs in the ovaries. She injects the medications into her lower abdomen for about 10-12 days prior to egg retrieval.
During ovarian stimulation the development of eggs is closely tracked by ultrasound and blood tests. This close tracking (every 2-5 days) allows the doctor to make adjustments to the stimulation dosage and to decide the optimum time for egg retrieval, which is critical to ensure the best quality of eggs.
Egg recovery: Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure called sonographic egg recovery, which uses an ultrasound guided needle to carefully remove eggs from the ovaries. The procedure typically lasts 20-30 minutes and sedation or local anesthesia is used to alleviate any discomfort.
After the procedure: The egg donor should be accompanied by someone to drive her home and monitor her throughout the night. She should rest for the remainder of the day of the procedure and will be able to resume normal activities the following day. It is common for women to experience mild cramping following the sonographic egg recovery. Cramping should subside within a few days but the ovaries will remain enlarged for a few weeks.
What are the risks of egg donation?
The medical risks associated with egg donation are the same as for IVF.
Giving or receiving donor eggs has lifelong implications of a legal and psychological nature. It is important to speak with a counselor prior to proceeding with any egg donation procedures. The staff at Loma Linda University Center for Fertility can recommend a counselor specialized in donor issues.