An Altruistic Gift: What to Consider If You’re Thinking About Becoming an Egg Donor

Self-fulfillment is something we all strive to achieve, but how we obtain this feeling remains very different for each of us.

Some people find a sense of achievement in pursuing a high-flying career, while others want to feel they’ve helped others in a life-changing, significant way.

If you’re amongst the latter, you may be considering egg donation. After all, what better way to fulfill your own existence – and others – than by offering the gift of life itself?

Nevertheless, this path isn’t one you’ll tread lightly.

That’s why we’re going to take you through the egg donation process, from choosing to donate to after donating eggs. We’ll discuss what you may feel, consider, and hope for along the way.

Am I Donating My Eggs for the Right Reasons?

One of the first questions you may ask is whether or not your reasons for donating are right.

While you may sincerely want to help infertile couples achieve their dream of a family, you may also look at this opportunity as one where you can finance your own dream, e.g. putting a deposit down on a house, buying a new car, or traveling the world.

Rest assured, receiving compensation for your time and effort spent donating isn’t wrong.

What you need to consider is how this will make you feel on both a short- and long-term basis. Understanding and coming to terms with your emotions is paramount to making this a fulfilling experience.

How will you know you’re ready to donate your eggs?

When you feel happy, positive, and comfortable with your decision.

That’s the key component – it’s your decision. Others may cast doubt on your altruistic choice to donate, but when you feel helping another woman give birth is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give – you’re ready to apply as a candidate for egg donation.

Am I a Suitable Candidate for Egg Donation?

The egg donor screening process shouldn’t be viewed as a rigorous exam you have to pass. Rather, look at it as a selection process that’s for your – and the egg recipient’s – benefit.

The various required tests (including physical and psychological examinations) aren’t there to trip you up – they’re in place to ensure you’re a viable candidate for egg donation and that it’s safe for you to do so.

Different clinics have varying criteria for their egg donors, but you should expect the following standards:

Women must be…

  • between 21 to 33 years old
  • non-smokers and not taking drugs
  • free of sexually transmitted disease, e.g. chlamydia, hepatitis, and HIV
  • in good physical and emotional health
  • available for approximately 3 months for the egg donor process
  • prepared to self-administer the required injections

Even if you aren’t accepted by a donor clinic, don’t take the rejection to heart. Not everyone is a suitable candidate. The fact you’ve even considered this selfless act is admirable.

Will My Identity Remain Anonymous?

A key part in egg donation is having the right legal documents in place. When you use a trusted clinic and donor program, all of this is taken care of for you. You may decide to be an anonymous or Open ID donor, which means a child born from your egg may reach out to you via the clinic or donor program after his or her 18th birthday. However, proceed with caution if you’re undergoing fresh egg donation – for a loved one, for example. You’ll need to hire a lawyer to ensure the correct documents and contracts are in place before the procedure.

Contracts protect your legal rights, as well as those of the egg recipient and the child that’s born from your egg. They ensure full parental rights transfer to the recipient so you hold no responsibility for the child. They can also ensure your identity remains anonymous, if you wish, although recent advancements in genetic testing are making it easier for donor egg children to find biological relatives.

What if you and the recipient wish to retain a relationship afterward?

If undergoing fresh egg donation for a friend or family member, this is fine if both parties wish to do so, but it’s something you’ll need to discuss with your lawyer. If using a frozen donor egg program, you may choose to be an Open ID donor to ensure the child’s able to contact you when he or she becomes a legal adult.

How Will I Feel After I’ve Donated My Eggs?

Once you’ve donated your eggs and know they’re being transferred to the recipient (or are being cryogenically stored until the right recipient comes along), you’ll no doubt experience a plethora of emotions.

At first, you may feel ecstatic. You’ve just made someone’s dream come true!

However, it’s also normal to feel sad, apprehensive, nervous, and lost.

You’ve just given something so precious to a stranger you’ve never met. In the future, somewhere out there will be a child who’s been born from your eggs.

This is hard to comprehend and may take some adjusting to – hence why it’s so important to feel ready for this process.

A Glimmer of Hope

Nevertheless, as you continue to work through your emotions, you’ll realize how your generous gift will restore faith and life in a family who’d perhaps lost all hope of having children – and how, as a result of that process, you’ve given yourself a sense of fulfillment and reward.