Egg Donation: Why is Egg Donor Criteria So Strict?

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

Egg Donors are integral to the work we do at Manchester Donors - and thanks to our donors, we've been able to help countless people across complete their families since our opening 35 years ago. 

Here in the UK, egg donors are always in high demand. Research from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, also known as HFEA, indicates that children born in the UK with the help of donor gametes have risen by more than 64% since the 1990s. So why are the criteria to be an egg donor so strict?

Many potential donors are surprised to learn that they can't be egg donors if they're older than 35, even though they may still be fertile. Or that they can't donate eggs if they're significantly overweight, even if they've had healthy children of their own.

However, at Manchester Donors, we follow guidance set out by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, also known as HFEA, and use a range of criteria to ensure an egg donor is healthy enough and a suitable candidate to donate. These criteria are:

Age: You must be between 18 and 35 to be an egg donor. The age limit for egg donation is 35 to ensure egg quality is at its best to give the recipient of your eggs the best chance of having a baby when your eggs are used for treatments like IVF or ICSI. 

This is because egg quality generally declines after age 35 as your own natural fertility reduces as you age. So although you may still be able to conceive naturally after this age, remember that your eggs will be used in fertility treatment for your recipient and all of the processes this may involve.

Weight: Your BMI must be within a healthy range of 19-35. If your BMI is high, your natural fertility may be affected, making the egg donation process too risky for you. You may not respond well to the ovarian stimulation needed for egg donation, which involves boosting your egg production through fertility drugs. It's our responsibility to ensure all our egg donors are healthy and well enough to donate eggs, which is why BMI limits are in place.

We understand that a lower weight isn't always an indicator of a healthy body. However, having a BMI in this range helps to ensure your well-being throughout the donation process. As such, we recommend working toward a combination of a healthy diet and moderate exercise to improve your overall health and well-being if you plan to be an egg donor.

Smoking: If you're a smoker, you can't donate eggs as smoking can affect your fertility, including e-cigarettes, as they interfere with the urine testing for nicotine that all egg donors undergo as part of the screening process. However, you may be able to donate if you quit smoking more than three months ago.

Medical history: Do you have any inheritable conditions in your family? Can you find out your family medical history, as far back as grandparents, including any siblings? All egg donors must know or be able to access their immediate family medical history. There must be no genetic or hereditary conditions because of the risk of passing these onto any child born from their eggs or affecting their recipient.

Your own health: Being an egg donor means you must not put yourself at risk of any sexually-transmitted infections. Your initial screening tests for many common STIs and other diseases and infections, including HIV and Hepatitis.

Screening and testing are vital to ensure that you're healthy with good fertility and are free of any diseases that could be a potential health risk to your recipient and any child she has.

So whilst the criteria to donate eggs may seem too stringent, it's important to remember that it's in place to safeguard everyone involved – your own health and well-being as the egg donor, the recipient of your eggs, and ultimately any child born.

If you have any concerns regarding the donor process or want more advice on whether or not egg donation is for you, our team is always ready to help. Contact Steph or Olivia today at 0161 300 2734, request a call-back or apply online via our website.


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0161 300 2734