As a woman, becoming an egg donor is one of the most wonderful things we can do, helping those who are unable to conceive naturally. It’s not a decision to be made lightly however and it’s fairly normal to have concerns, doubts and uncertainties before committing.
We have listed the most frequently asked questions, providing useful answers designed to help during your thought process.
How can I be sure donating my eggs is the right decision for me?
When it comes to egg donating, there really is no right or wrong decision. Everybody is different so the best thing to do is gather as much information as possible. Having a good knowledge and understanding will help you make an informed decision. Discuss your thoughts with your partner, family and friends, as they will have your best interests at heart. Reading about egg donor experiences can be extremely helpful. A variety of support organisations are also available, with expert’s on-hand to discuss things further. It’s not a choice to be made in a hurry, so give yourself the necessary time, weighing up the pros and cons.
It seems like a good idea now, but what if I change my mind?
You are entitled to change your mind at any point in the process. Nobody will force or persuade you to continue and support will be available if you require it.
I want to become a donor, but my family feel differently. Does this matter?
Legally you are not obliged to have consent from a partner or children to become an egg donor, however having support from your family can be extremely helpful during the process. In some cases, the clinic may decide you should not become a donor for this reason, although everyone’s circumstances are viewed on an individual basis.
Does my age play a factor in my ability to donate eggs?
The age-range of egg donors is 21-35, however this may be overlooked in exceptional circumstances.
Are there any restrictions regarding my personal lifestyle?
It is preferred that egg donors have a healthy lifestyle involving no illegal substances, alcohol or nicotine use. An unhealthy weight, history of family illness or even prescription medications can affect your ability to donate. Each clinic has its own criteria and decisions involve applicants being assessed individually.
What exactly is involved in donating my eggs?
Before being accepted as an egg donor you will be subjected to a screening process to determine your suitability. The actual treatment involves attending appointments, receiving hormone injections and the egg retrieval surgery, however this will be explained fully at the clinic.
How long does it take to donate my eggs?
The process from beginning to end can take a matter of months, however the average donation cycle lasts approximately six weeks.
Do I need to inform my employer of my decision to become an egg donor?
There is no formal requirement to discuss your egg donation decision with an employer, although it may provide an additional source of support if you do.
Will I receive payment if I go ahead with the donation process?
The UK appreciates the expenses incurred while donating eggs and therefore £750 compensation will be paid per cycle.
How many children will be created using the eggs I donate?
There is no restriction on the actual number of children produced using your eggs, although no more than ten families will be created.
Will children born as a result of my donation know about me?
Not all parents reveal the use of an egg donor to their children. Once reaching the age of 18, the UK provides donor details for people conceived in this way if they wish to learn their true biological origin. While anonymous donation is not available in the UK, many other countries still permit this.
Can I find out if any children are born using my donated eggs?
Curiosity about the outcome of your egg donation is natural and the number of children born using your eggs, their genders and year of birth can be revealed by contacting the clinic.
Can I only donate if I have kids of my own?
You don’t need children of your own to become an egg donor. Both women with children and those without have successfully donated their eggs.
Can I continue to have intercourse during the donation process?
Yes, you can continue being intimate in your relationship, however you should use contraception as the donation process will make you extremely fertile. Discuss contraception with the clinic to find the best option for you.
I’ve recently given birth, will this affect my ability to donate?
You are able to donate your eggs once you are menstruating regularly and have overcome tiredness or other short-term physical consequences of the pregnancy. Usually the timeframe from giving birth to donating eggs is around 12 weeks. It is preferred that breastfeeding has also stopped for a period of 12 weeks.
Does my previous pregnancy history matter?
While it can be difficult discussing previous terminations or miscarriages, it’s important that the clinic know. It doesn’t necessary exclude you from being an egg donor as every case is different, but it can ensure the appropriate support is made available.
I am adopted but would like to be an egg donor, is this possible?
If all other criteria is met, being adopted does not restrict you from donating.
What if I have a previous or existing physical/mental illness?
Physical and mental illness is not necessarily an automatic barrier to becoming an egg donor. Every situation is different and the clinic will reach a decision based on your individual case.
Will my past medical/cosmetic surgery be a barrier?
There are many different surgical procedures, so we can’t offer a simple yes or no answer here. The clinic will make a decision depending on your individual circumstances.
As an egg donor will I have any future responsibilities?
You are not legally regarded as parent of the child and therefore are not required to make contribution to their upbringing, emotionally or financially. In the UK, donors should ensure they keep their personal contact details up-to-date on the obligatory register. If you later develop an illness then you do have a responsibility to notify the clinic.
Is egg donation restricted to heterosexual women?
Sexuality is irrelevant when it comes to suitable egg donors.
What happens if I’m an unsuitable egg donor?
Time and emotions are invested in the decision-making process, so to be told you are an unsuitable donor can be devastating. The clinic will provide you with a detailed explanation and discuss your next steps. In times like this it’s vital to have close friends and family around to support you and be sure to take full advantage of the available counselling services. Your GP can provide information, advice and possibly different treatment options to consider. And remember, the simple fact you were willing to go through this ordeal in an attempt to help others is admirable. Be proud of yourself!