The egg donation process understandably raises plenty of questions for potential donors:
- Will donating my eggs affect my ability to build my own family in the future?
- Does egg donation lead to ovarian cysts or cervical cancer?
- As an egg donor, do I have to remain anonymous or are there other options?
- What are the requirements for egg donation in Raleigh?
- What can I expect with egg donation?
The answers to these questions will help determine if becoming an egg donor is right for you. At Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists, we will be with you every step of the way.
Egg Donation: Another Way to Build Raleigh Families
For more than 60 collective years, Dr. Walmer, Dr. Copland, and Dr. Peavey have been building families through fertility treatment options, including third-party reproduction. Third-party reproduction via a Raleigh egg donor becomes an option for patients or couples who have concluded that the quality or number of their eggs is one of the reasons they are struggling with infertility. Receiving an egg donation from a young, healthy woman allows those struggling with infertility to experience pregnancy and become parents.
Is Egg Donation Right For Me?
There are several requirements for egg donation in Raleigh and the process involves several steps. It starts with a pre-qualification questionnaire and then a conversation with our egg donation coordinator. We want to ensure that the egg donation process is safe for you — mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Complete surveys and questionnaires
The first step is getting to know you as a prospective donor and answering your questions. We make this step easy and convenient through email, phone calls, and online forms. The pre-qualification and medical surveys help us gather information about you and your family’s medical history.
Telehealth call to review your health history
The first appointment is a telehealth appointment with our nurse practitioner to review you and your family’s medical history. This information often determines if the egg donation process is a viable, low-risk option for you. For example, during the survey process, we may discover that a donor has a blood-clotting disorder. Therefore, we would not recommend that she continue with egg donation because it could put her at an unnecessary health risk during the egg retrieval process.
Visit our Fertility Clinic in Raleigh
Once you are comfortable, and we’ve reviewed your medical history and determined that you are at low risk for the egg donation procedure, we’ll invite you for an in-person visit. We will answer any further questions you have. If you are comfortable and confident about becoming an egg donor, you’ll also receive a physical exam including an ultrasound of your ovaries and uterus. We will do lab work at this visit to ensure you are a good candidate for egg donation.
If your lab results come back in a range for egg donation, we will have you schedule an appointment with one of our reproductive psychologists. She will discuss what it means to be in a non-disclosure/anonymous program. She will also discuss your comfort with being contacted by a child conceived with your eggs once they reach the age of 18. She will also do a personality inventory testing.
The final step of screening is comprehensive blood testing. Since the FDA regulates egg donation, we will do a panel of infectious disease tests. We also do comprehensive genetic carrier testing to see if you are a carrier for a genetic disease. Being a carrier for one of the 283 genetic diseases does not necessarily rule you out to be a donor. We just have to ensure the recipient choosing you as their donor doesn’t have a sperm source that is a carrier for the same genetic disease.
Getting Started with Egg Donation: The Process
It takes approximately 2- 3 months to complete screening to become an egg donor in Raleigh, NC.
- Step 1: Complete medical history questionnaires, surveys, and a telehealth call.
- Step 2: In-person visit with us for your physical exam, ultrasound, and blood test.
- Step 3: Attend a session with a reproductive psychologist to ensure that your heart and head are in alignment with your desire to donate.
- Step 4: The last step of screening is the comprehensive blood testing.
Once all your screening is completed, we can make your profile active for recipients to view and select.
Every month, your ovaries release a small number of eggs. From these eggs, one egg is chosen for ovulation. It is a common myth that egg donation takes eggs that you’ll need to build your own family in the future. However, you are born with more than one million eggs, and by the time you reach puberty, approximately 300,000 eggs remain. From this, you can expect to ovulate up to 500 eggs in your lifetime.
How Egg Retrieval Works
We retrieve your eggs from the fluid of the developed follicle that your eggs are released into. Once your body naturally completes ovulation, the remaining eggs go away and become part of your menstruation or period. During the egg donation procedure, we’ll retrieve those remaining eggs.
Preparing for Egg Retrieval
Preparing for egg retrieval involves giving yourself injections for 10 to 12 days at home to help your body bring forth all the eggs your ovaries have released for ovulation that month rather than only one egg. Retrieval does not involve tapping into any other eggs as future eggs are not accessible or recruitable.
After your egg retrieval, there are no signs that you’ve donated your eggs because your body simply begins the ovulation process again next month.
Egg Donation Past, Present, and Future
From the very first child born from egg donation in 1983 to the emergence of other successful third-party reproductive options for patients and couples, the journey to build families continues to evolve. As human science and ancestry programs continue to progress, it is important to understand your rights, responsibilities, protections, risks, and compensation as an egg donor.
Egg Donor Responsibilities
As an egg donor, you will sign a legal consent form stating that you have no responsibility for your eggs once they are retrieved. Likewise, the recipient of your eggs signs a legal consent form stating that they take the responsibility of your eggs. These consents and contracts protect you as an egg donor from any liabilities.
Protections and Preferences for Egg Donors
When becoming an egg donor, you can choose to be a non-disclosed egg donor or a disclosed egg donor. The most common option for egg donors in Raleigh is non-disclosed egg donor, meaning the egg donor will not know the recipient nor will the recipient know the egg donor. A non-disclosed egg donor’s identity will never be released by Atlantic Reproductive Medicine Specialists, and all efforts are made to ensure that the donor and recipient are never in the office at the same time. In the case of a disclosed egg donor, her identity is not withheld or hidden from the recipient. We only do disclosed cycles when a recipient and donor come to our clinic already matched. We do not match egg donors to recipients for known egg donation cycles.
If you would like to make contact with the recipient after donating as a non-disclosed donor, various communities are available to assist you, such as Donor Siblings Registry or Egg Donor Connect’s Nexus program, which will allow you to provide updates to the recipient.
Egg Donation Risks
Egg donation is a minimally invasive medical procedure that has low risk. It involves an ultrasound with a small needle attached that will go into the ovarian follicles to drain the fluid that holds the eggs. There are a few, rare, risks associated with this retrieval process. These risks include 1 in 1,000 egg donors may experience bleeding or be at risk for infection. At Atlantic Reproductive Medicine, each donor receives antibiotics as a preventive against possible infection.
Common Misunderstandings About Donating Eggs
About 10 to 15 years ago, egg donors were at a higher risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a result of a medication known as HCG used to trigger the eggs to be released. HCG is a pregnancy hormone that worked well to get the eggs ready to be retrieved. However, it stayed in the egg donor’s body several days after the eggs were retrieved and could cause bloating, dehydration, and nausea.
Today, ovulation is triggered using a hormone that your body naturally makes every month during ovulation. Thus, the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome no longer exists.
Another common misconception about egg donation is that the procedure may put you at risk for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer has not been linked to egg donation. Instead, cervical cancer is linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease passed from one partner to another partner during intercourse. All donors should receive an annual PAP smear to screen for this virus.
Compensation and Insurance for Egg Donors
You are compensated the same day you complete egg donation retrieval. You’ll also receive a temporary egg donor medical insurance plan that goes into effect once you begin the donor process and concludes three months after your egg retrieval. This plan covers any medical costs related to your egg donor procedure that your existing medical insurance may not cover.
Let’s Build Families Together in Raleigh
Becoming an egg donor is a personal choice. Some women become egg donors because they want to help others have children. For them, the available compensation fulfills a financial need. Others choose to become donors because they are mothers themselves and want to give other women that same experience regardless of monetary consideration.
No matter your reason for becoming an egg donor, we are with you every step of the way. We tailor your egg donation process according to your body and ovarian reserves. We work hard to make the process easy to understand so that your participation comes with peace of mind.
If you are interested in learning more about egg donation and determining if it is a viable option for you, get started with our free pre-screening survey.