Am I Too Old to Donate My Eggs? (and Other Common Egg Donation Concerns)
 
Have you ever learned about something you would love to do, only to wonder if you missed your opportunity to do it? If you’re interested in or want to learn more about egg donation, this article not only introduces donating egg requirements, but covers some other common egg donation concerns. Keep reading to find out more!
 
Can I Donate My Eggs?
There’s an initial set of egg donor criteria every woman must meet to become an egg donor candidate:
  • You're between the ages of 21 and 33. Women in this age range are at the peak of fertility, and usually produce a high quality and quantity of eggs. As women move outside this age range, the quality and quantity of their eggs naturally diminishes.
  • You’re tobacco and drug-free. You can’t actively be a smoker, nor use drugs or other substances which may affect the quality and quantity of your eggs.
  • You’re not an STD carrier. You’re ineligible to donate if you have any STDs, particularly if you are carrying HIV, hepatitis, or chlamydia (if you’ve tested positive for chlamydia within the past 12 months, your donation will be deferred until you provide evidence of successful treatment occurring more than 12 months ago).
  • You’re physically and mentally fit. Donating your eggs can be physically and mentally demanding. Starting the process in the best condition possible sets you up for success.
  • You can commit 3 months of your time. Donating your eggs involves screening, testing, paperwork, consultations, egg stimulation, egg retrieval, and recovery. Three months is the minimum time commitment to complete the entire process. 
  • You’re comfortable self-injecting medication. Specific medication will be prescribed to you to stimulate your ovaries to produce and release your eggs.
You’ll also complete a detailed profile about your personal characteristics, accomplishments, ambitions, and your educational and professional background. This information is shared with prospective egg recipients to help them select an egg donor who’s characteristics they most desire.
 
Can I Remain Anonymous? (And Other Legalities)
Yes, you can remain anonymous. Most egg donors choose anonymity, but you also have the option to choose to be identified under certain circumstances. It’s important to understand that, especially as technology advances in the future, your anonymity cannot necessarily be guaranteed. Be upfront about your desires to be known or unknown so you can be appropriately matched with prospective egg recipients and have proper legal documentation in place.
 
By committing to donating your eggs, you can expect to relinquish parental rights and responsibilities to any children born of your eggs. Likewise, egg recipients legally acknowledge they cannot hold their egg donor legally responsible for any resulting offspring. You’ll sign contracts ahead of time to consent to and acknowledge this information.
 
How Do I Donate My Eggs?
After the screening and testing formalities are completed, you can begin your donation cycle, which consists of egg stimulation and collection.
 
Your doctor will prescribe you medication to stimulate your ovaries. The purpose of stimulating your ovaries is to produce as many mature eggs as possible. Be prepared to self-administer the medication by injection. Your medical team will monitor how your body responds to the medication by analysing your blood and performing transvaginal ultrasounds. Through this careful, routine (even daily) monitoring, the medical team will be able to most accurately time the release of your eggs.
 
Another injectable medication will be administered to you to trigger the release of the eggs your ovaries produced. Once your ovaries have released your eggs, your doctor will retrieve them using a thin needle and catheter guided by ultrasound. During this procedure, you’ll be under light anaesthesia. The eggs you donate will be stored cryogenically until they are matched with future recipients.
 
You’ll have a short recovery period and be monitored for side effects after your eggs are retrieved. The most common side effects are constipation, light bleeding, and abdominal pain or cramping. Within a few days, you should be able to resume your daily routine. As with any medical procedure, there’s a risk for rare but serious side effects, like ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and other complications.
 
Is It Worth It?
In addition to physical side effects, you’ll probably feel a lot of different emotions. Many times, your emotions kick in while you are merely considering donating your eggs. This is to be expected, and it’s likely your emotions will change and vary in intensity over time, even well beyond the end of your donation cycle. What probably won’t change is the reason you decided to donate your eggs, and the intrinsic value in your motivation for doing it. Only you can determine if egg donation is worth it to you.

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