Help a couple with their dream of creating their own family
The Fertility Institutes Egg Donor Application Process
The decision to donate eggs is among the most humanitarian of all human endeavors. The wish to assist a couple in desperate need of assistance with their desires to achieve a family is recognized by all as a huge gift on the part of a donor to others in need. The ideal Fertility Institutes Egg Donor is a single (not married) woman between the ages of 21 and 27 years who lives a healthy life, has a clear medical history, has completed some advanced education studies, and is genuinely committed to the egg donation process in their desire to assist others. We applaud potential donors for considering this option.
The application process at the Fertility Institutes begins with a prescreening questionnaire that you, the prospective egg donor, complete online, to help us determine if you are a potential candidate. The application may be completed all at once or you may return to complete the application at your leisure. Once completed, your application will be reviewed by our friendly egg donor program intake nursing staff. If you meet our initial selection criteria, you will be notified on-screen and/or by email that you can then proceed to our long-form application, where you will complete your personal profile. The personal profile is a very important tool in determining your final suitability as a potential Egg Donor.
Your profile includes information about you, your family and your medical history, and you will be provided the opportunity to upload a personal "photo gallery". All uploads to our site are entirely confidential and will never be shared with any commercial entity. Once completed, your long form application will be reviewed. Should you meet all our egg donor program requirements you may be invited to an in-person interview. The interview provides you an opportunity to ask any questions about egg donation and an opportunity for us to ask additional questions that will help us make our final determination. When you have completed the entire application process you will be notified if you have been accepted into our egg donor program. Currently, approximately 82% of potential donors are found qualified to donate their eggs.
If you are accepted into the egg donation program, your profile will become accessible to our registered recipients (our potential recipients are also known as "Intended Parents"). However, the profile that the recipients see will exclude your personal contact information, including your last name, address, etc.
There are some clinical reasons why a donor's eggs will not be deemed acceptable for Egg Donation. Listed below are some of the behaviors/conditions that automatically disqualify women from our Egg Donor program.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- If you have injected drugs or engaged in prostitution within the last five years
- If you have been diagnosed with syphilis, Chlamydia or certain other infectious diseases within the last year (if treated, you must be deemed disease-free for at least 12 months)
- If you have a BMI (body mass index) which is beyond the currently accepted "healthy" levels. That is, if your body weight is excessive.
- If you have traveled to the UK or Europe and lived in the area for greater than 3 months during the FDA-designated "mad cow risk" time periods from 1980-1996.
- If you have a medical and/or family history of birth defects that required surgery (such as cleft lip, Spina Bifida, or a heart defect), Huntington's Disease, Hemophilia, Tay-Sachs Disease, Sickle Cell Anemia, major medical problems, mental handicaps and/or psychiatric problems.
- If you are a carrier of the gene or genetic mutation for certain diseases or syndromes (i.e. Cystic fibrosis, Fragile X, Tay-Sachs, Sickle Cell Anemia).
The Fertility Institutes reserves the right to decline any applicant at our discretion. All information in your application is kept secure on our password protected website.
The Donor/Recipient or Donor/Egg Bank Matching Process
Once you agree to be available for donation, there are two potential methods where your selection may occur. We select many donors for "immediate" donation to our "egg bank". Egg bank donations will involve your eggs being recovered and placed into our frozen egg bank so that the eggs will be available whenever needed to those in need of donated eggs. The second match process is where Intended Parents-Recipients have identified you as their choice for a "match". The formal "match" begins in these instances when you are notified that you have been selected for donation by one of our patients. Egg Donors in our program are generally matched within 30-90 days of becoming available for donation. In many instances, donors are matched within days. Egg Bank donors will be notified immediately. The match is "confirmed" when you verbally accept. A written contract between you and the Recipient(s) and/or our Center will then be drafted. For legal reasons, we may require that you speak with an attorney in order to ensure that you are aware of all aspects of the egg donor process, including your responsibilities (as well as those of the Recipients). If required, we are happy to assist you in choosing an attorney with whom you are comfortable. Your attorney's fees will be paid by the Recipients or our Center. It is important to understand that the egg donation process involves donating your eggs irreversibly and that you will relinquish any claim to the eggs you donate permanently. At the same time, you will have absolutely no responsibility for any ultimate disposition of your donated eggs. Your identity will never be revealed to any recipient.
At the beginning of the process, it will be necessary for you to undergo a thorough medical examination, including a pelvic exam, blood draw to check hormone levels and to test for infectious diseases, and an ultrasound to examine your ovaries, uterus and other pelvic organs. These evaluations are necessary to ensure you are fully prepared and capable of completing the egg donation cycle safely and successfully. These evaluations will be done at no cost to you. These examinations are carried out by Board Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologists or Female Health Care Nurse Practitioners at our offices in Los Angeles, New York or Salt Lake City.
The Egg Donation Process
Once the screening is complete and an agreement contract signed, you will begin the donation cycle, which typically lasts between 3-6 weeks. Prior to beginning the process, nurses at our Center will speak with you about the proposed schedule and will assure that your own schedule is free to allow you to complete the several examination visits to our center that will occur during the process. There are two parts to a successful egg retrieval procedure: the Egg Donor’s Cycle and the Recipients’ Cycle. For donors in the "egg bank" process, the "Egg Donor’s Cycle" and the "Recipient Cycle" are independent of each other. For Donors in synchronized cycles, the two cycles occur simultaneously.
The Egg Donation Cycle will begin with a few weeks of birth control pills (to synchronize your cycle with the Recipient’s), followed by injections that will temporarily halt your ovaries’ normal functioning. An initial injection will be given to you at the doctor’s office where you will also be given instructions on how to properly administer the injections yourself. These injections must be administered on a daily basis for one or more weeks (typically not more than 3 weeks.)
The next step is to stimulate egg production. You will be given follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH and FSH/LH) to increase the number of mature eggs your body will produce. These injections are similar to the natural hormones your body produces. The fertility hormones are typically injected just under the skin for a period of ten to twelve days. If you are unable to administer the injections yourself, you will have to arrange for someone to administer them for you. Throughout the cycle your doctor will continually monitor you. They will run blood tests and perform ultrasound exams to determine your reaction to the hormones and the progress of follicle growth.
Once the doctor decides the follicles are mature, the date and time for your egg retrieval will be determined. This date is critical and it is very important that you understand that it is your personal response to the fertility hormones that will determine this important date. This date cannot be changed. Approximately 36 hours before retrieval, you will be given one more injection (of the hormone HCG or Lupron-leuprolide) to ensure that your eggs are ready to be harvested. The Egg Retrieval is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that requires sedation and lasts about 20-30 minutes. The doctor will use a small ultrasound-guided needle inserted through the vagina to aspirate the follicles in both ovaries. Immediately following the surgery you will rest in the recovery room for an hour or two. Due to the administration of the sedative, you will need someone to drive you home. It can take one full day up to a week to fully recover, but generally Donors return to normal activities the next day.
Things to Consider
Egg donation is an incredible and most generous humanitarian gift. Egg donation, however is also a medical procedure. As with any medical procedure, there may be possible side effects and risks. Some women feel no or slight discomfort during their egg donation cycle. Others may have varying symptoms which typically disappear following the retrieval procedure. In some cases you might feel bloating, abdominal pain, pressure and swelling, all of which will go away with the start of your next period. Severe side effects are rare, and the doctor will explain the various risks that, although unlikely, can become part of this procedure. Egg Donation has been done since 1984, with over 10,000 retrievals annually in the U.S. alone. Overall, there are no proven long-term effects of Egg Donation on a woman's health or fertility. Many of our former egg donors have gone on to begin their own families with no problems at all.
Pregnancy is another very real side effect and risk of Egg Donation, so you will be required to abstain from sex during the process. You will also be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol and taking certain medications. Your doctor will explain this to you in detail.
The average Egg Donation cycle lasts for between 3-6 weeks, not including the evaluation appointments. The time, attention to detail, and patience required of an Egg Donor is substantial. For your time, energy and commitment, you are compensated twice; once with a financial payment and once with the sense of fulfillment you receive from helping to complete a family! Fertility Institutes Donors receive fees well above industry averages. These fees will be explained to you in detail prior to your match. Donors may choose to be considered for our "immediate" egg bank cycles. These matches occur rapidly for those chosen but fees may be slightly less than those who elect to wait for an Intended Parent match. Egg Donors are limited to 6 donation cycles.
What are an Egg Donor's Responsibilities?
Completing the enrollment process in a timely manner, with accurate and verifiable facts:
- Attending any scheduled interview.
- If applicable, making sure all medical records are received by the Doctor's office on time.
- Scheduling and attending medical screening appointments.
- Being on time for all monitoring appointments.
- Taking the medication as instructed.
- Arranging transportation to and from the retrieval.
- Communicating any problems during the cycle to the Doctors.