5 Things to Know About Becoming an Egg Donor
At Eggceptional Fertility, we welcome women from all walks of life to become an egg donor, but there are some criterias that must be met before an application can be accepted. From specific lifestyle choices to medical history, here are 5 things to know about becoming an egg donor.
1. No Smoking Allowed
This seems pretty self-explanatory, but many women do not realize this is such a deal breaker when applying to become an egg donor. Studies have concluded time and time again that there is a direct relationship between nicotine consumption and a decrease in fertility. This means smoking women will produce fewer follicles, fewer usable eggs, and fewer eggs that are capable of fertilization when stimulated for IVF. We believe in your body, your choice, but with all the piling research on the negative effects smoking has on a person’s health, we stand strongly behind the requirement that our potential donors must be tobacco free. If you are a current smoker and have thought about becoming an egg donor, we encourage you to quit smoking and apply once your body has repaired itself (after about 6 months.)
2. Be Between the Ages 20-29
This varies from agency to agency, but is typically in the 20-29 age range. No, we really aren’t agest! We just put these age specifications in place for first-time donors (can be older if you’re a proven donor) so that we can make sure that you and your eggs are ready for all the physical and emotional demands that come with the donation process. We set our minimum age at 20-years-old because from our experience, we have seen that younger women are not at a maturity level that can consistently meet the array of commitments that come with becoming a donor. Our maximum age is set to 29 due to the simple fact that the quality of a woman’s eggs begin to go down in her early 30s. This may seem harsh, but our job is to make sure that those who are receiving our donor eggs are getting the best quality possible. We’d obviously love to accept as many donors as we can, but medically speaking, age matters!
3. Healthy BMI
BMI or body mass index is the calculation of weight-for-height that medical professionals and scientists use to measure body fat. This may seem like a discriminatory factor for us to consider, but not when it comes to the egg donation process! Studies have concluded that a BMI that’s too high can negatively impact the quality/development of eggs even after they have been retrieved. A high BMI also corresponds with a need for more medication, which we always try to avoid due to potential serious side effects and less success when it comes to egg retrieval and IVF treatment. Low BMIs are in the same boat, as several studies have concluded that women taking fertility medication with a BMI that is too low can result in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). These are all risks we are unwilling to take due to the fact the OHSS can be extremely uncomfortable for our donors.
4. Free of Any Significant Medical Illness
As part of the extensive screening that is required for egg donation, we require applicants to complete an in-depth family history form so we can make sure that your eggs are free of any inheritable genetic disorders, such as cystic fibrosis. We obviously want to minimize the chances that any donated eggs will result in a baby with any type of disability or disease. We also take into account factors like past addictions, and even mental illness, as someone with a history of depression or bipolar disorder may not be accepted as a donor to ensure these conditions are not passed on. This is something we want all applicants to understand about becoming an egg donor. It is important in our line of work to eliminate any risks.
5. STI History Can Affect Eligibility
As part of our medical screening we also check for any sexually transmitted infections, mainly HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, active gonorrhea, and chlamydia. The STI’s we find a major concern that will eliminate you from becoming a donor are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and syphilis, as these are all categorized as serious STIs that are likely to be passed on. FDA regulations also state that you can not donate if you have been treated for gonorrhea or chlamydia in the past 12 months. Though there are some very specific circumstances that may allow you to remain eligible to donate with a less serious STI on your record (like HPV), it is still pretty uncommon.
Sources: FDA.gov, JohnHopkinsMedicine.org, mindbodygreen.com, health.ny.gov