For women who would otherwise be unable to fulfil their dream of building a family, egg donation is quite simply the gift of life.
For the donor, the knowledge that they have been such a crucial part of another woman’s journey to becoming a parent may be enough, but there are other advantages too. For example, as part of the donation process, you receive an expert fertility assessment and advanced genetic screening tests , which may provide valuable information for your own future family-planning. For each donation cycle, it is also important to remember that donors are reimbursed £ 750 for their time and expenses.
Today, we’ll answer some of the questions which are bound to arise if you are thinking of donating eggs. These include what it involves from a medical perspective; the criteria to meet in order to be eligible to donate; the question of non-anonymity, and knowing the outcome of your donation. We will take you step-by-step through the egg donation process, provide helpful resources and give you a bit more information about our egg donation clinic in London . If you feel like you are ready to learn more about donating eggs, we have some suggestions for your next steps.
Who can donate eggs?
In the UK, the rules around donor eligibility are set by the government’s regulator of fertility clinics nationwide, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). These criteria are intended to protect both you and future recipients of donated eggs. They include:
- You must be fit, healthy and between the ages of 18 and 35.
- Your weight should be within the normal limits for your height, with a BMI under 30.
- You should have no family history of inherited disease or genetic disorders. If you’re unsure about this, don’t worry – we can perform a simple blood test in order to find out. Your test results will be fully explained by your egg donation coordinator.
- You should not be trying to conceive during the egg donation process.
Before you are able to donate, you will also need to attend a counselling session, so we can be sure that you are fully aware of the implications of egg donation.
What is the egg donation process?
The process of donating eggs is very similar to that of an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure, up to the point of egg collection. Here are the steps involved:
1. Your first visit to the clinic
You will meet our coordinator who will guide you through the whole process from start to finish. We’ll discuss your medical history and perform a pelvic ultrasound scan as part of your reproductive health check-up.
Our coordinator will arrange for you to talk to our in-house counsellor. This is your opportunity to explore what the egg donation process will mean for you and your family. This interview can be done face-to-face or by video call.
3. Meeting the fertility consultant
You will then go on to meet one of our specialist doctors. Your health is our top priority and so we undertake some further medical tests to make sure that donating eggs will not put your health at risk in any way.
4. Your cycle begins
Providing all our safeguard checks are fulfilled, the egg donation cycle can start:
Until the process can begin, you will need to wait until the arrival of your next period.
On the second day of your period, you start a course of regular hormonal medication which stimulates your ovaries to produce multiple eggs. You will need to make two or three monitoring visits to the clinic over the next two weeks.
After an ultrasound scan to check the egg follicles are maturing as planned, the stimulation phase ends with an injection to trigger ovulation. The egg collection will be scheduled roughly 36 hours following the trigger injection.
The egg collection procedure takes around half an hour, and our anaesthetist will sedate you beforehand to make sure you feel no discomfort. After the procedure, we will take you to rest in our recovery rooms where we will provide drinks and refreshments. After you’ve rested for around an hour, you are free to go home accompanied by a friend or family member.
Anonymity and knowing the outcome
In the UK, donation is always non-anonymous. This applies to sperm donation and embryo donation, as well as egg donation. As a donor, non-anonymity means that at the time of your donation, you will be completely ‘anonymous’ in terms of your identifiable information, such as your full name and contact details. The only information your recipient couple will be given will be non-identifiable information, like age, ethnicity and certain physical characteristics, such as eye and hair colour.
Donation is considered non-anonymous because donors must consent to their personal information to be stored confidentially by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) . If a child is born from a donation, the donor-conceived person can legally request information about their donor upon reaching the age of 18. To do this, they will need to submit an application to the HFEA and, before the request is handled, the authority will inform the donor. The donor will then be given to option to be involved in the process from that point onwards.
To find out more, you can read guidance from the HFEA regarding the rules around releasing donor information .
As for finding out the result of your donation, you will be entitled to find out from staff at the clinic if your donation was successful once a recipient ‘s pregnancy is confirmed. You can also ask for information on the sex and number of children born, as well as the year of birth.
Are my expenses covered?
In the UK, it is illegal to pay for egg donation. However, the HFEA recognises that there are legitimate expenses involved, such as travel, accommodation, childcare and time off work. Clinics are allowed to compensate you for these expenses for every donation cycle. One complete cycle is considered as a round of treatment which culminates in the collection and donation of eggs .
At IVI London, we make a payment of £ 750 to each donor to cover these costs.
I have more questions!
If you’re considering becoming an egg donor, you are bound to have lots more questions. For example, you might want to find out whether you can stay on contraception during your egg donation cycle, or whether or not you can continue having sex . You might like to know if various aspects of your own lifestyle and medical history may have an impact, and how. Check out the Donor FAQ page of our website where many of these are covered.
Come and see us
If you’re interested in donating eggs, you can contact IVI London to request a free appointment at any time. This initial consultation is an informal and friendly place to get started, with our experts available to answer any questions and talk you through the process. You can book your appointment online here. By attending an appointment, there is absolutely no obligation for you to continue to donation. It could be the first step to one of the most generous and rewarding things you’ve ever done.