How Egg Donation Works
In order to be qualified to work with our agency as an Egg Donor, you must meet the criteria below:
- Be a women between the ages of 18-28
- Be in excellent health with a healthy BMI (height-weight proportion)
- Be a non-smoker and drug-free with a great family history and healthy lifestyle
- Have a genuine desire to assist a couple or individual in creating or adding to their family
You are required to complete the GBSEDS fillable form application. Once this has been reviewed and approved by our staff, we will contact you to schedule a more in-depth telephone interview. Psychological Screening, Medical screening and Medical screening must also be completed (see below for details). Once all these clearances are received, your profile will be made live on our database and you will be presented with profiles of Intended Parents. Because the industry standard is an anonymous relationship between Intended Parents and their Egg Donor, it is unlikely you will meet with Intended Parents at any point in the process. However, should you feel comfortable, some Intended Parents want their child to have the option of knowing you in the future (typically, after reaching adulthood). They also may ask for an in-person interview which GBSEDS staff will attend along with you, should you be open to such a request. Most likely, a match will be made by exchanging non-confidential information, primarily focused on the specifics of the egg donation itself. Depending how everyone feels after sharing all appropriate information, you may be matched with the Intended Parents right away. Depending on their fertility specialist’s requirements, you may be required to have a second, less extensive medical review at their fertility specialist’s clinic.
You will be required to submit to background pre-screening. Understandably, Intended Parents want assurance all egg donor candidates are responsible individuals, including an overall healthy, stable lifestyle. We appreciate your honesty and being forthcoming with any past events.
One very important requirement will be your psychological pre-screening. You will undergo screening and/or testing with a licensed therapist who specializes in third-party reproduction. The purpose of this screening is to ensure that you are of sound mind and emotionally stable to undergo the donation process. There is nothing to be fearful of. The therapist conducting the screening process is also there to provide you support, openly discussing any fears or concerns you may have about the process. The results of this pre-screening will be shared with Intended Parents’ fertility specialist to assist in completion of your medical pre-screening.
Once you receive psychological clearance and are matched with Intended Parents, you will be sent to a fertility specialist/obstetrician for medical pre-screening consisting of an in-depth physical exam, a PAP, an infectious disease screening (would also include your partner/spouse), drug screening and any other testing deemed necessary to determine both your suitability and ability to produce healthy eggs. Once the results are received, additional medical testing/screening can be performed at the request of GBSEDS, the Intended Parents or the fertility specialist.
Legal Contract Process
Upon receiving your medical clearance from the Intended Parents’ fertility specialist, you will move into the legal contract phase. The Intended Parents’ attorney will draft a contract agreement between you and the Intended Parents addressing all the legal issues pursuant a egg donation arrangement in California and cover any unforeseen situation that may arise. Everything that has been discussed and agreed upon between you and the Intended Parents will also be included. The Egg Donation Legal Contract is a binding and enforceable agreement under the laws of the State of California. It details all the responsibilities you have to each other and protects each individual person’s legal rights. You will also have your own attorney who, at no cost to you, will personally review the agreement with you. You can expect advisement on the terms of the agreement, your legal rights and obligations, and any remaining steps for finalizing the Intended Parents’ parental rights prior to the egg retrieval, such as what will be done with any excess eggs.
As a Donor, you will undergo an Egg Retrieval (ER) procedure so your eggs can be combined with the Intended Father’s sperm or donor sperm to form an embryo. The Intended Parent’s fertility specialist may perform a brief exam to verify the health of your ovaries and fallopian tubes and review the results of your psychological and medical pre-screenings. You will be ready to begin the injectible medications once the fertility specialist feels confident you are ready to proceed. Medications will include birth control pills to regulate your cycle and/or synchronize your cycle with the Intended Mother or Surrogate. Lupron is typically medication used for your protocol. You will be required to administer this medication via subcutaneous injections on a daily basis for several weeks. During this same time period, you will receive regular monitoring of your eggs via ultrasound and status of your hormone levels via blood tests will be performed during multiple appointments several times each week at the fertility specialist’s office during your cycle. Note: It is imperative that you take all medications and administer injections exactly as indicated by the fertility specialist. You must attend + be on time for all appointments required of you. It is also extremely important to completely abstain from sexual activity during the entire egg donation process. The medication you will be taking makes you extremely fertile, dramatically increasing your likelihood of getting pregnant. The fertility specialist will know you are ready when you reach 75% capacity. Once ready, you will receive a one-time trigger shot, often administered in the fertility specialist’s office between the hours of 11 p.m. – 2 a.m.
On the day of your egg retrieval, it is extremely important you have someone drive you to and from your appointment as you will receive what’s called twilight sedation and will be unable to drive yourself home. Once you are asleep, the fertility specialist will go in with a small needle and aspirate (suction) eggs from your ovaries. This will take between 15-20 minutes at which time your eggs will be taken to the lab to be cultured (mixed) with either the Intended Father’s sperm or donor’s sperm to form embryos. You will take another 15-20 minutes to come out of the sedation, returning home with the help of your companion who brought you to your appointment. Egg donors living long-distance from the fertility specialist’s office will need to go directly back to their hotel room instead. You will likely be required to take bed rest for the remainder of that day + the following day. Out-of-town egg donors are often able to fly back home with their traveling companion on the third day from initial arrival. Most egg donors are able to resume normal activities by the 2nd day after the ER. Depending on the fertility specialist’s regimen, you may return in two weeks for a final ultrasound to insure your ovaries have returned to normal.
To help us determine your eligibility, click here to complete our pre-qualification form online. If you meet the basic criteria for an egg donor, you will be contacted by Great Beginnings for an in-depth telephone interview. Thank you for your interest in becoming an Egg Donor and for offering hope to couples in need.