The reasons behind egg donation are as individual as the donors themselves. Each woman or couple who decides to pursue this path, however, have a similar goal in mind. To either grow their family or make another’s dream of a family come true. Egg donation is especially useful for a couple who are not able to conceive on their own, due to infertility or another medical condition.
At Virginia Frank, when a couple has decided to create a family via gestational surrogacy, egg donation is an important step in the process. However, there are many requirements that must be met before this is able to take place. To learn more, read on to see if you’d be able to donate your eggs under the following conditions.
...I’m 18 Years of Age?
No, you cannot. The legal limit to egg donation is 21 years of age. This requirement is to better ensure the quality of the eggs themselves. From a medical standpoint, young women under the age of 21 haven’t yet achieved the necessary levels of responsibility or maturity.
...I’m on Birth Control?
Yes, you can. Whether or not you are on birth control does not affect your ability to be a donor. In fact, you can continue to take your birth control pills as prescribed throughout the donation process as long as they are non-hormonal. Any birth control that has hormones, including the patches and rings, are prohibited.
...I have an IUD?
Yes, but under certain conditions. If you have an intrauterine device or a slow-release hormonal IUD, it will need to be removed before you can begin the hormone treatment. This can be done by your doctor. Once the IUD has been taken out, you will need to take an ovarian assessment. If your numbers come back low, doctors may recommend that you have two healthy menstrual cycles before beginning the donation process.
...it’s for a Friend or Family Member?
Yes, in theory you can donate your eggs for a friend or family member. However, it’s important that you’re aware of all the potential complications that come with this decision. If you are close to the friend or family member, they will undoubtedly be a huge part of the child’s life after birth. However, they cannot be or act as the child’s legal parent. They are permitted to remain in contact and have a relationship, but nothing else.
...I’ve Been Diagnosed with Depression?
Not usually, no. Women who are currently taking medications to treat a mental health condition are not permitted to donate. Simply because egg donation requires all donors to have a clean medical and mental health history. This means being able to pass the extensive psychological screenings. On top of this, women diagnosed with depression are often turned away due to the risks to their condition after being injected with hormones.
...I’ve Been Diagnosed with PCOS?
It depends. In short, the answer would be no; but, there are limited exceptions. Generally speaking, women diagnosed with PCOS are seen as ineligible as PCOS causes menstrual cycle issues. Furthermore, women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) during the egg donation process. This can cause symptoms including but not limited to: swollen ovaries, rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath. To learn about any and all exceptions, it’s best to consult your doctor or fertility specialist.
Unfortunately, no. Because egg donation requires women to maintain a certain BMI, any and all weight issues disqualify prospective candidates. This includes those who are underweight, too. Issues with weight decrease the chance of natural fertility, and cause other complications such as damaging the quality of the eggs.
No, smoking is not allowed in an egg donation program. Similar to being overweight, smoking decreases the chance of natural fertility. Women who smoke also struggle more with conceiving naturally, and are at higher risk for additional health issues. Were a woman who smokes to donate her eggs, she would be putting both herself and the receiver at risk. In order to be eligible for egg donation, you must have a consistent history as a non-smoker of at least six months.
Requirements Behind Egg Donation
Because of the risks and potential side effects involved in the process of egg donation, it’s crucial that you are healthy and fit within the necessary requirements. If you and your partner/spouse can’t donate yourselves, that’s okay. That is why there is the option of using another egg donor or the egg of your gestational carrier, or asking a friend or family member to donate for you.
Infertility isn’t a death sentence anymore. With the help of others, your dreams of having a family can come true. Through egg donation and gestational surrogacy, you can still be the parents you’ve always wanted to be.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history as an adoptee, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.