Here are the answers to a few questions that potential egg donor applicants often ask us. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 608-824-0075 to discuss.
BECOMING A DONOR
How do I become a donor?
If you decide that you would like to become an egg donor with Wisconsin Fertility Institute, you will first need to complete an online application. After completing your online application, we will contact you to schedule an interview at our clinic. At the interview, we will review your application, walk you through the donation process in great detail, and answer any questions that you may have. Before making a final decision on your application, we will review your medical records and have you complete a blood test.
Am I eligible to become an egg donor?
In order to provide our patients with the safest care and the best chances of pregnancy, we screen our egg donor applicants carefully. In general, we are looking for healthy, non-smoking women who are between the ages of 21 and 30. Egg donors must a reliable source of transportation and a relatively flexible schedule to accommodate the office visits involved with the donation process.
MATCHING WITH A RECIPIENT
How would I get matched with a recipient parent?
If you are accepted to the WFI donor pool, your anonymous profile will be made available for WFI patients to review and select. Patients make their decision of which donor to use based upon a variety of criteria, such as a donor’s physical characteristics, educational background, personality, athletic or artistic abilities, medical history, and prior donation outcomes.
In the future, if a WFI patient asks to match with you, we will call you to confirm that you wish to move forward with a donation cycle. We will also confirm your availability with you so we can take into account any scheduling conflicts you may have.
What types of patients use donor eggs?
Wisconsin Fertility Institute works with a very diverse population of patients who are looking to become parents using donor eggs. Some patients choose to use an egg donor because they have been unable to get pregnant using their own eggs. Other patients have previously gone through cancer treatment and are no longer able to get pregnant using their own eggs. Some patients may be able to get pregnant with their own eggs, but carry a genetic disorder that they do not wish to pass along to their children. Finally, gay men and single men who wish to have a child utilize egg donors and gestational carriers to build their families.
Will recipient parents know who I am?
All egg donation cycles with Wisconsin Fertility Institute egg donors are intended to be completely anonymous. We will not release your name, contact information, or any other identifying information to the recipient parents with whom you are matched. Likewise, you will not receive any of their information. You will not meet or have contact with your recipient parents at any time.
How does egg donation work?
Typically, in a young, healthy woman, about 20-40 eggs prepare to ovulate at the beginning of each menstrual cycle. As the month goes on, only one of those eggs is actually selected to ovulate. It is called the dominant follicle. At the time of ovulation, that egg will ovulate and begin its journey to the uterus, possibly becoming fertilized and implanting. The remaining eggs, which were not selected to ovulate, go away and are re-absorbed by the body.
During an egg donation cycle, injectable medications are used to encourage as many as possible of these 20-40 eggs to mature. Many donor cycles will yield 20-30 eggs. Not all of those will be mature enough to create an embryo. We would expect many of them to be able to be fertilized. This does NOT mean that egg donors lose 20-30 months of their own eggs. Egg donors simply give away the eggs they were going to lose anyway.
At the egg retrieval procedure, all of these eggs are removed from the body. Afterward, the eggs are fertilized with sperm, creating embryos. These embryos are then frozen and/or transferred to the recipient’s uterus.
What does a typical donation schedule look like?
An egg donation cycle lasts around two weeks and requires approximately seven visits to WFI. As a donor, you will come into WFI every two to three days for an ultrasound and blood draw. The initial visit will last about an hour, while the rest of the visits will take closer to fifteen minutes. During these two weeks, you will be required to give yourself (or have someone else give you) medication injections.
At the end of the two weeks, you will return to WFI for one last blood draw and your egg retrieval procedure. You should plan to take off from work, school, and any other activities for the entire day of the retrieval, as you will be sedated and will be tired for the remainder of the day. You will likely be able to resume your normal activities the next day.
One to two weeks after the retrieval, we will have you come back for a follow up appointment. At this visit, you will have one last ultrasound to make sure that you are recovering well, and you will receive your compensation check.
What medical procedures would I need to do?
There are several procedures that you will experience as an egg donor:
What medications would I be taking?
Before beginning an egg donation cycle, you will take birth control pills for a month or two. When we are ready to begin treatment, you will be told when to discontinue your birth control pills.
At the beginning of treatment, you will begin daily injections of Follistim or Gonal F. These injections will continue for approximately twelve days.
When you are nearing the end of your donation cycle, you will be instructed to take an injection of Ganirelix or Cetrotide which will cause you to ovulate.
How many shots would I need to take?
In a typical cycle, you would need to give yourself (or have someone else give you) medication injections twice daily for about two weeks. The injections are given in your abdomen using a small needle.
How much pain will I feel during the donation process?
During the process, you may experience discomfort from the injections and blood draws. A few days before the retrieval, you may begin to feel bloated and full in response to the medications you have been taking and the large number of eggs you are growing. You may feel nauseated around this time as well.
The egg retrieval procedure itself should be painless. You will be given anesthesia through an IV during the procedure. Depending on how you react to the anesthesia, it is possible you will have some nausea afterwards. You will want to plan on taking the entire day of the retrieval off, however you should be able to resume your typical schedule the following day.
A day or two after the retrieval, you may experience some cramping. You may be generally uncomfortable and sore, but any discomfort should be significantly reduced with Tylenol or Ibuprofen and should subside within a week.
Are there any risks associated with being an egg donor?
Overall, egg donation is a safe process with few risks. However, every medical procedure does involve some risk. Possible risks with egg donation include side effects from the medications (headaches, dizziness, bloating, mood changes, breast tenderness, abdominal fullness, bruising/pain at the injection site).
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is another possible complication that can occur if your ovaries become over stimulated with the medications you take. With OHSS, fluid leaks out of your vessels into your abdominal cavity. This can increase your risk for a blood clot and other complications. Mild to moderate OHSS occurs in 2-5% of cases; this is usually associated with abdominal distension, discomfort, nausea and slight shortness of breath. Mild to moderate OHSS is uncomfortable, but not dangerous. Severe Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) occurs in less than 1% of patients. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.
Other possible, yet rare complications occur in less than 1% of cases, including: ovarian torsion, damage to pelvic organs during the retrieval, and excessive bleeding during or after the egg retrieval. Usually, your body will give you plenty of warning that a complication is occurring, and we can typically treat or cure the complications, if we know about them early on.
You will not be responsible for any costs associated with any complications. These costs will be covered by your recipient or by the insurance policy that we will set up for you during each egg donation cycle.