Why Egg Donors Must Be Smoke Free

This information was correct at the time of publishing. It may not reflect our current practices.

Many women who want to donate eggs with us meet our criteria, such as being in good health and falling into the right age bracket. But ultimately find they can't donate eggs after their nicotine levels are tested. Although smoking does indeed exclude you from donating eggs, did you know exposure to second-hand smoke or vaping can too? 

Can e-cigarettes and vapes exclude me from egg donation? 

As most e-cigarettes or vapes contain nicotine, you can't donate eggs if you're using either, as they will appear on your egg donation screening, and on the subsequent screenings you have throughout the donation process.[CR1] [LW2]  Although there is a suggestion that there is less transmission of nicotine in vapour from electronic smoking devices it does not mean we can rule it out as contributing to your nicotine levels.

How much nicotine is too much?

Even trace amounts of nicotine can be found when you're tested. Therefore, avoid  cigarettes or any nicotine-based products, including vapesfor at least three months before you intend to donate. You can do this by:

  • Quitting smoking in advance, even if you use an electronic smoking device
  • Avoiding outdoor smoking areas
  • Ask anyone you live with  to smoke outside or in a separate area of the home
  • Avoid social smoking when you’re out and about- even if you’re friends offer

You may be able to donate eggs if you quit smoking more than three months before your nicotine test. Your body will have had time to recover from the effects of the nicotine, and if you also lead a healthy lifestyle, your eggs should be in excellent condition. If you're ready to be an egg donor but smoke, make today your catalyst to quit. 

Why are smokers not allowed to donate? 

Smoking can affect your natural fertility in many ways, from your ability to conceive to egg quality, ovarian reserve and even how soon you start menopause. Although some women may have been able to conceive while actively smoking, it does not necessarily mean everyone can. As your donated eggs are being used by another person to have a baby, the donor eggs we offer must ensure the recipient the highest chance of pregnancy. And for that, we need to ensure that our donors' eggs are healthy and we offer the highest rate of fertilisation we can. 

Begin your egg donation journey

There's no greater incentive than being able to give the gift of life to someone who genuinely deserves it. If you've any questions about egg donation, contact our friendly Donation Team at 0161 300 2734 or request a call back here.

If you need help quitting smoking or access to more resources, please visit NHS SmokeFree for support and advice. 

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