Donor recruitment and qualification

What you should be aware of

Recruitment to donate eggs

Becoming an egg donor does not just involve a sole decision to become one. You do not wake up one morning and choose to become a donor. Also, most egg donors do not do it solely because of egg donor compensation. Some countries do not even allow compensating donors and only accept altruistic donations. Recruiting donors is a very detailed process. Therefore, all oocyte recipients can rest assured that any reliable egg donor database lists only best, young donors who are physically and mentally fit to undergo stimulation and egg retrieval. Also, oocyte donors have to go through all kinds of medical tests and screenings and also psychological evaluation.

Firstly, a potential egg donor has to fill in an egg donation application and a medical history form. These applications are very extensive and cover everything from standard things like date of birth to details of their medical history, eye/hair colour, skin tone and even if the donor has freckles (if yes then how much, few or many of them. This is not a joke.). Later, there come questions about all kinds of abilities and skills possessed by the donor like artistic or athletic skills and so on. A donor must be also ready to answer some very personal questions for example about their first menstruation, psychological counselling or attempted suicide. Of course all this information is later on verified (if it is possible) by the clinic’s staff. In reality, only a few percent of the applicants get through and become donors. To be clear, checking every detail of the donor’s life is not the policy of every IVF clinic. The artistic abilities or freckles will not be of interest for every fertility clinic. In fact, almost any woman aged from about 20 to 32 years may be considered to become a donor if she and her family has a healthy medical history.

It is said that the psychological evaluation should be obligatory. 30% of all women being psychologically evaluated are disqualified. It could be that a woman is 100% physically fit to undergo egg donation but her psychical state might be inadequate. This does not only apply to donors but also the recipients – sometimes older women seem to ignore the fact that their age is an obstacle not necessarily for her but for the child she wants. Obligatory psychological evaluations could raise the overall safety of the whole procedure.

The donor is required to have a BMI level under 28. An egg donor should have a proportionally built body – that is to be of proportionate weight and height. Overweight donor’s eggs might be of lower quality. There also may be need for higher doses of stimulation drugs to create follicles which could raise the costs for the recipient.  According to recent research, the chances of implantation, live birth and clinical pregnancy were lower for patients with BMI 30 or higher. In comparison to the normal BMI level chances of live birth were lowered by 68 percent in the class three obesity, 61 percent in the second class and 37 percent in the first class obesity.

Become an egg donor

In order to become an egg donor you will have to fullfill a few requirements. By most standards, you have to be under 30, however, bear in mind that some clinics or egg banks may accept egg donors only below 25. Some standard donor qualifications are:

  1. young age, ideally between 20 and 30 years old
  2. generally good physical and psychological health
  3. weight in the normal range
  4. non-smoker
  5. having a regular menstrual cycle
  6. having both ovaries
  7. cannot use contraceptive implants or psychoactive drugs
  8. lack of substance abuse in medical history
  9. no inheritable genetic disorders in family history

The candidate’s medical history is thoroughly screened and the donor’s health is  tested thoroughly by all the possible medical tests. This is to ensure egg recipients get high quality oocytes from healthy young donors. Candidates for egg donors also undergo blood tests for infectious diseases such as:

  • HIV,
  • Hepatitis B and C,
  • Syphilis (Treponema Pallidum),
  • Chlamydia trachomatis,
  • Neisseria gonorrhea.

And also genetic testing for diseases such as:

  • Beta Thalassemia,
  • Cystic Fibrosis,
  • Canavan Disease,
  • Familial Dysautonomia,
  • Bloom Syndrome,
  • Gaucher Disease,
  • Sickle Cell Disease and much more.

How often can you donate eggs?

According to international medical research, the safe limiting the number of stimulated cycles in an egg donor is six. Oocyte donors are advised to wait a min. of 2 months between cycles. These lmitations might change in the future depending on new research and advances in medicine. However, for now the magic number is 6 and most fertility clinics most comply with such instructions.

Being an egg donor is a wonderful, selfless act which helps infertile couples go through successful IVF with donor eggs. If you have already decided to donate your eggs, congratulations on this great decision. We hope you this will be a gratifying experience for you and you will be able to help many couples in need while being an egg donor. Pros and cons? Yes, there are always there and you should take them into consideration. Speak to your OB-GYN or other fertility doctors if you have doubts. It may help a lot if you talk to other experienced egg donors and ask them about their expriences first hand. You can also talk to any egg recipient you know and try to understand their perspective.

If you do not get accepted as an egg donor for some minor reason, you may want to consider becoming a surrogate mother. This is again a serious decision, however, many surrogates find it very rewarding and gratifying. Good luck!