Egg Donor FAQs
We strive to provide you with the answers to your questions. If there is a question you have
that is not answered here please feel free to contact us!
Do Egg Donors get paid?
Under Canadian law, you CANNOT be paid to donate your eggs. BUT… you can 100% be reimbursed for all expenses incurred during the egg retrieval process. On average an egg donor can be reimbursed between $5000 – $6000 for anything related to their commitment to the donation. Reimbursements include, but are not limited to, the following: lost wages, childcare, food, travel expenses, accommodations, health & wellness, and recovery.
Who Needs an Egg Donor?
There are many circumstances in which someone could need the gift of egg donation:
- Same-Sex couples
- Unexplained Infertility
- Single men
- Cancer survivors
- Other medical conditions
- Older Age (40 +)
- Genetic Diseases
Do Egg Donors get to know the couple who chooses them?
The answer is that it is ultimately up to each donor and intended parent to decide, and agree on, how much contact they will have. Donors can decide if they want to be known to, or have contact with their IPs, allow the child resulting from their donation to contact them once they reach the age of 18 or if they want to remain anonymous. This decision is deeply personal for each woman and it is not up to us to make that decision for them. We support whichever choice they make.
How many times can a woman donate her eggs?
Ultimately how often a woman decides to donate is up to her and the physician overseeing their care. Current medical guidelines in Canada indicate that most women can safely donate up to 6 times in her lifetime. We realize that some agencies and clinics allow more, but as a program policy we are more inclined to lean towards protecting your health and the number of related donor-conceived babies.
How many eggs are usually retrieved at one time?
Generally, the doctor doing the retrieval is trying to get as many eggs as possible without compromising your health, but a good donation can be anywhere from 10-30 eggs. The general fertilization rate for donated eggs can be 75% – 90%. Only approximately 75% of fertilized eggs will continue to develop into embryo blastocysts, which can be transferred to the intended mother or a surrogate to try to achieve pregnancy. Basically, for every 10 eggs donated with a young healthy donor, you might get 7-9 eggs that will fertilize with sperm. From the 7-9 eggs that have fertilized on average only 5-7 embryos will continue to develop and can be frozen on day 5. If you genetically test the embryos that have made it to day 5 (called PGT-A testing) to find out which embryos actually have the potential to develop into a baby you may end up with even fewer that can be used. It isn’t just about the number of eggs retrieved for donation; it is about the average embryo creation rates. So obviously the more eggs, the better the odds, because even great quality embryos aren’t guaranteed to work the first time.
What are the side effects or risks from an Egg Donation procedure?
Our program is based on getting “Informed Consent”. That means full disclosure on the common side effects and risks. Of course, with any medical procedure there are risks. We do not try and avoid these discussions, because you need to be fully aware of the decision you are making.
Side Effects: Intravenous sedation is given typically so the process is only mildly uncomfortable, but after the procedure you may experience some cramping and drowsiness. Like with any hormonal medications, you can experience headaches, moodiness, increased vaginal discharge, sore breasts prior to the procedure from the medications you will be taking. There can be soreness, itching, bruising, or redness at the injection site for your medications and in the area where your blood is being drawn for monitoring during the approximately two weeks leading up to the procedure . No sex or baths for at least a week after a retrieval. It is normal to have mild vaginal bleeding after the procedure. Your period may be shorter/longer and/or heavier/lighter than you are used to after the procedure.
Risks: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) – a medical condition that results as an exaggerated response to excess fertility hormones. In response to the excess hormones the body retains fluid and ovaries leak this fluid into your abdominal cavity. It isn’t common (3-5%), but it can happen. Signs of this are nausea, distended abdomen, weight gain, heavy bleeding, fever, severe headaches, water retention, inability to pee and shortness of breath. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. OHSS may improve on its own in mild cases, usually 5-7 days after the retrieval. In some rare cases, a woman could be hospitalized and monitored until the condition dissipates.
Can donors still have their own children after donating eggs?
Of course! Think of your ovaries like a huge storage bank. When we are developing in the uterus as babies, all the eggs we will ever have will be created at the same time. At birth, the normal female ovary contains about 1-2 million eggs. Women do not make more eggs. Think of having millions of eggs for the potential handful of children you may have. Kind of makes sense to donate if you think about it!
Is there an optimal age range to donate eggs?
The best age range to donate is between age 21 -32. It’s crazy to imagine, but by the time a girl enters puberty only about 25% of her lifetime total egg pool will still remain – (300,000). By age 30 that’s cut in half (150,000). By 35 that number is likely around 80,000. And as you age the number keeps depleting further and more rapidly, and the quality of the eggs also decreases. After the age of 40, a woman releases on average 3 healthy eggs a year. You can imagine then why someone over the age of 40 would need an egg donor.
What would disqualify you from being an egg donor?
- Lifestyle habits like smoking, or illegal drug use. Some prescription drugs like antidepressants might disqualify a woman also.
- Health concerns like obesity, medical conditions, genetic disorders
- Any mental health disorders like schizophrenia, bi-polar, or clinical depression
- Family history of genetic disorders, or mental health conditions
- Previous children or family members with any chromosomal disorders
- STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) like HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C,. You cannot donate if you’ve been successfully treated for Gonorrhea or Chlamydia within the last 2 months, or for syphilis within the last 12 months prior to procedure.
- Active genital herpes or genital warts during the time of your screening, monitoring or procedure
- Travel to an area affected by Zika within 2 months prior to your procedure or West Nile virus within 120 days prior to your procedure.
- If you have
- been in a correctional facility, jail or prison for more than 72 consecutive hours within the six months leading up to your donation
- If you have gotten a tattoo ear piercing, or body piercing in which sterile procedures were not used within the six months leading up to your donation
- If you or your sexual partner have received blood components, blood products, blood by products or human tissue within the six months leading up to your donation
How long does the process take for an egg donor once she is chosen?
The actual process of egg donation takes two weeks, however the screening process can take 8-12 weeks. It really depends how quickly everyone moves forward with getting bloodwork and genetic screening, the psychological process, legal contracts, and visiting the fertility clinic if necessary.
What type of medications will you be required to take?
Injectable medications that mimic the natural hormones your body already produces! This includes:
- Follicle Stimulation Hormones (FSH) or Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Agonist (GnRH Agonist): These stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs (make the body produce more than one follicle a month, which is what happens naturally without fertility medications). Some examples include Gonal F, Puregon, Rekovelle
- GnRH Antagonist: This medication is taken in the last few days of the cycle to prevent the body from ovulating too soon, before the eggs are ready for egg retrieval. Some examples include Orgalutran, Cetrotide and Lupron.
- Trigger medication: The medication you are given to start or “trigger” ovulation. You will not ovulate immediately (it takes about 36 hours for ovulation to occur after you have taken your trigger shot), however the clinic will tell you the EXACT time you need to take this medication. The time you take this medication sets the time your procedure is scheduled at so it is very important to follow the clinic’s instructions exactly. There are a few medications that can be used as your trigger medication, such as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), Ovidrel, Lupron, a combination of Lupron and HcG (called a dual trigger)
- Additional medications may include birth control pills to help time or regulate your cycle, Provera to help bring on a period if your periods are irregular, and antibiotics for after your egg retrieval procedure to help prevent infection.
What screening is required?
- Infectious disease screening, which consist of blood and urine tests
- an AMH test (anti-mullerian hormone) to assess your ovarian reserve, or egg count, which will give the doctor an idea of how you will respond to medications, and how many eggs you may produce in a cycle *not required but often needed
- Ultrasound to assess ovaries
- Psychological Assessment Report
- Health Canada also enforces screening that your intended parents will need to review the results of with the doctor and consent to proceed with the cycle before your egg retrieval procedure. This screening consists of:
- Infectious disease screening within 30 days of the donation
- Physical assessment within 30 days of the donation
- Medical assessment within 30 days of the donation
- Genetic assessment within 30 days of the donation OR the completion of expanded carrier screening (saliva or blood test)