All your egg donation questions – answered right here.
Due to the stringent criteria outlined by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), not all women are able to donate their eggs.
To become an egg donor, you must meet the following criteria:
Egg donors must go through a series of screening tests to ensure they are healthy , so if you have a serious medical history, or a family history of hereditary or genetic conditions, you will be unable to donate your eggs. Likewise, if you do not know your family history, because you are adopted for example, you would also be unable to donate.
You can calculate your BMI using our handy calculator below:
To be accepted as an egg donor your BMI should be between 19 and 29
No. We do not accept smokers as egg donors or egg sharers due to the risks to egg quality caused by nicotine. When you apply to become an egg donor or egg sharer, we ask whether you smoke or not and we will test your urine for nicotine at your appointments.
If you used to smoke, or are trying to stop smoking now, you must have no nicotine in your system for at least three months prior to your donation application. You should then be free from the effects of nicotine.
You should be free from the effects of nicotine, so please be aware that passive smoking can give a positive result in your nicotine test.
No, you will not. The recipients of your donated eggs are the legal parents of any child born as a result. Therefore, you have no financial or legal responsibility for any donor-conceived children now or in the future.
No. Donations are done anonymously, recipient patients will not know who you are whilst they are going through the process. If a pregnancy occurs as a result of your donation, the expectant parents are usually given very basic information about you, which you yourself put on your HFEA form at the time of registering as a donor. This information can include your hair colour, eye colour, and height.
You can also write a short description of yourself called a Pen Picture which can include any skills, interests or hobbies, along with a 'Good Will' message for the donor conceived child. More detailed information is available to the child once it reaches the age of 18, which enables them to potentially identify you if they wish.
While there is no direct payment for donating your eggs, you will be compensated for your time. Women who become egg donors will receive £750 for each donation cycle. This sum covers any expenses for attending each appointment.
HFEA states that every donor is limited to creating 10 families from their donations. However, this does not limit how many children are created from the same donor within these families. This approach enables people who need donor sperm or eggs to use the same donor to give their child a sibling.
While sperm donors can donate multiple times until this 10 family limit is reached, egg donation differs in that it is an invasive procedure, so we typically allow our egg donors to donate only three times.
Manchester Donors is a National Gamete Donation Centre of Excellence, which means that all of our processes and donor care have been independently checked and found to be outstanding. From the moment you apply, to the donation of your eggs and beyond, we will ensure you are well looked after by offering support throughout.
Our first-class standard of care is just one of the reasons so many women choose to come to us if they want to donate eggs.
During the egg donation process, both you and your partner will also be asked to attend counselling sessions with our team to ensure you fully understand the implications associated with your decision.
Many donors like to find out if any babies have been born as a result of their egg donation. You are entitled to know if your eggs have been used successfully, including the number of children that have been born, whether they are boys or girls and the year of their birth. You will not be given any information which could lead to those children being identified.
Drugs are taken in the form of daily injections. These drugs mimic the action of the body’s natural hormones. Drug doses and combinations are calculated for each individual donor depending on a number of factors including age, medical history, BMI etc. Details will be given to you in the form of an individual ‘protocol’.
The drugs are given in the form of injections but it is very straightforward and you can do them yourself at home. You will attend an appointment where a fertility nurse will teach you how to administer the injections
Studies have shown that your own fertility will not be compromised if you become an egg donor. Women who have donated eggs in the past have shown no adverse effect on their fertility in the years following the procedure.
There are risks associated with egg donation, however, we have measures in place to reduce these risks. We will monitor you closely during stimulation and after egg collection.
As with any procedure , the egg collection carries a risk of infection and bleeding. There is also a risk of hyperstimulation - a condition where the ovaries respond quickly to the drugs, producing more eggs than expected.
This is why hormone tests are carried out as part of the screening process, as it allows us to see how your ovaries are likely to respond. You are also monitored regularly once the drugs have been administered in order to prevent hyperstimulation. If this occurs, some women feel bloated and abdominal discomfort, but you will be advised to take pain relief and drink plenty of water. In rare cases, the symptoms can be severe.
If you are using any kind of contraception that affects your ovulation and menstrual cycle, you may be asked to stop taking this to allow for your menstrual cycle to return to normal. This could include oral contraceptives such as the Pill, or contraceptive implants or devices like the coil.
The fertility drugs you take to stimulate your ovaries to produce mature eggs are carefully prescribed and are tailored to you based on your initial test results. You will only ever be given the minimal dose needed for the correct level of stimulation.
The drugs we use are the same as for IVF patients, and they are completely safe to use and will not negatively affect your fertility.
While you are taking these drugs, you will be closely monitored and asked to attend regular blood tests and scans.
Yes, but it is vital to ensure that you use barrier contraception such as condoms. This is because the fertility drugs you take to stimulate the ovaries will make you extremely fertile.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is recommended ahead of becoming an egg donor. Other than that, it is essential that you are a non-smoker (including the use of e-cigarettes). If you have recently given up smoking, you can still donate eggs but you need to have stopped smoking for at least 3 months.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) must be within a healthy range, as being overweight can affect your own health and fertility. An unhealthy weight could also impact how you respond to ovarian stimulation.
In addition, you must not put yourself at risk of any STIs by having unprotected intercourse, and ensure you do not get a tattoo in the six months prior to donation. This is to ensure there is no risk of passing on any infectious diseases.
When our scans have indicated that your eggs are ready for collection, you will be given one final hormone injection on a specific date and time, which “triggers” the release of your mature eggs. Then, you will come into the clinic for egg recovery.
This procedure is fairly simple, carried out in a single appointment and does not require general anaesthetic. Instead, light sedation is used, and your eggs are retrieved through a fine catheter. We will be able to tell you how many eggs we have collected for your donation straight away.
No. As with many procedures, you must not eat from midnight the night before egg recovery, (you can drink water until 6am) until after the procedure is carried out, as you will be subjected to light sedation.
After your eggs have been collected, you will be taken to our private ward, where the nursing team will take over your care before you go home. Here, they will ensure you are well enough to be discharged.
Due to the use of light sedation, we recommend that you do not drive for 24 hours after egg recovery, so you will need to bring someone along with you to accompany you home.
Following egg collection, you may feel tired, bloated and have some mild abdominal pain. There is also the likelihood of some light vaginal bleeding for a few days afterwards. These symptoms are perfectly normal after egg recovery.
Should you need to take something for the pain, paracetamol is recommended. You will be given our contact information, including an emergency out-of-hours number that you can contact with any concerns you have once you get home.
Many women who need IVF have no problems with their eggs. Some women undergo IVF due to problems with their fallopian tubes, or because their partner has issues with his sperm that means the egg cannot be fertilised naturally. Others undergo IVF because they are in a same-sex relationship and want to start a family.
This means that eggs are very often of a good quality, and is one of the reasons why so many women choose to donate eggs and have IVF at the same time. This process is called egg sharing.
Those women who choose egg sharing as their route to having a baby will receive IVF treatment at a reduced price in return.
There are strict criteria that must be met in order to become an egg donor, and these conditions are exactly the same as those women choosing to donate their eggs for altruistic reasons.
If you have a relative who is experiencing fertility issues, you may be wondering if you are able to donate to them. This is certainly a possibility, but it is important to consider all of the implications and to ensure you are both fully aware of the process, procedures involved and the legalities.
Even if you are donating to a family member, you must undergo screening for any diseases or conditions that could have implications for the person you are donating to and any resulting children.
In addition, both you and the intended recipient of your eggs will need to undergo counselling with our experienced and friendly team. This is particularly important, as donor-conceived children now have the right to find out information about their donors when they reach 18.
The relative receiving your eggs will be asked to pay all of the costs associated with the screening tests and procedures required.
As with all forms of assisted reproduction, egg donation does not automatically guarantee a baby. Firstly, the donated eggs need to be fertilised with the recipient partner’s sperm, or that of a sperm donor, to produce embryos. These have to be of a high enough quality, and sufficiently developed enough, to implant into the uterus.
Even then, as with IVF, this does not always mean there will be a pregnancy.
As a donor who is registered with the HFEA, you will join our programme, but never meet the people who have chosen you as their donor.
They will only know the information you have chosen to provide as part of your personal “pen portrait” which you write once you have been accepted as a donor.
Some of our patients have very specific requirements when it comes to the qualities they are looking for in an egg donor. For example, they may want a donor from the same ethnic background as themselves, but mostly, they want donors who share similar physical characteristics including height, eye colour and hair colour.
We provide each of our patients with a choice of up to three egg donors, which match their preferences, allowing them to read the personal pen portraits to gain a better idea of which donor is the most suited to them.
This is why your pen portrait is so important. It gives you the chance to talk about the reasons why you became an egg donor, what your hobbies and interests are, and a little bit about yourself.
More women than ever are now using egg donors to have a baby, and there are many reasons for this. We have outlined the most common reasons below:
From your very first appointment to egg collection it can take up to 3 months. The process takes this amount of time as you will be required to undergo various screening tests, medical history checks and counselling sessions before we can accept you as a donor at Manchester Fertility. Once you have been selected by a recipient, and you have been registered with the HFEA it can take up to 3 weeks to stimulate your ovaries using daily injections to produce mature eggs, during which time you will attend the clinic for monitoring.
Yes. Infertility and the need for an egg donor affects everyone - regardless of race, ethnicity and religious belief. We have a shortage of egg donors from ethnic backgrounds and this does mean that donor choices are very limited for our patients who want a donor with the same ethnicity as themselves. They may have to wait for a long time to find that donor, and so we always ask for donations from varied backgrounds.