FAQs: Egg Donors

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Washington University Egg Donor hotline at 314-286-2425.

Will I know whether the donation of my eggs resulted in a pregnancy?

No. In order to maintain the integrity of the anonymity of the process, we do not disclose outcomes of your donation to you.

Who are the recipients?

Couples generally choose to use donor eggs because they’re unable to conceive a child with the female partner’s own eggs. There are many reasons that a couple may not be able to conceive with her own eggs, including older age, early menopause, poor-quality eggs or previous cancer treatments that damaged the ovaries. Frequently, recipients have already been through extensive fertility treatments without success.

Egg recipients can be couples or single women or men. At the Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center, all recipients are our patients.

Why should I choose the Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center Egg Donor Program?

Because the Washington University Egg Donor Program only provides eggs to our own patients, you will receive all your care in one setting. Egg donor agencies may send you to donate at various locations, all of which may have different processes.

If I’m interested in participating, how do I get started?

Contact our Washington University Egg Donor hotline at 314-286-2425 to learn more.

What is the compensation?

We offer ovum donors $5,000 for their time, travel and efforts, once they have completed an ovum donation cycle. The medical screening you will receive before donating is performed at no cost to you, and you may request results of all your medical tests for your own records or to give to your doctor.

Many egg donors report the positive emotional impact as an additional form of “compensation.” Knowing you’ve helped complete a family can be very rewarding.

So how much time does this require, really?

The screening process generally takes a few weeks to complete. You will speak to the Egg Donor Program coordinator by phone and come into the office for a few short visits at our Central West End or Missouri Baptist location. Once you’re chosen as an egg donor, a cycle takes approximately four weeks.

During a two-week period, you’ll come to the clinic about seven to 10 times for ultrasound monitoring and blood tests. These appointments generally require a 15- to 30-minute visit in the morning. The day that you are scheduled for the egg retrieval, you’ll be at our Central West End office for approximately 3 hours. Most donors are able to continue to work or go to school during the process.

Will I need to give myself shots?

Yes. The shots are done at home. You can do them yourself, or have a friend or family member help you. We will teach you how to mix and administer your medication in our office.

Are there possible side effects and risks?

As with any medical procedure, there are possible side effects and risks. Many women feel very minor or no discomfort during the donation cycle. Others have varying symptoms that typically resolve after the egg retrieval procedure. Some donors may feel bloating, pressure, abdominal pain and swelling, breast tenderness and moodiness from the hormone medications, which will go away by the next menstrual period. Severe side effects are rare and will be discussed with you in detail by a doctor before you join the program.

Injection side effects and risks: The blood tests and hormone injections are usually well tolerated. However, some women experience pain, redness or minor bruising at the injection site. Allergic reactions are rare.

Medication side effects and risks: There is a small risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) developing during an egg donation cycle. OHSS generally occurs after the egg retrieval and involves enlargement of the ovaries, significant increases in fluid retention within the abdomen and concentration of the blood within the blood vessels.

In its more mild form, OHSS can be uncomfortable but resolves within several days. The severe form, which occurs in about 1 percent of donor cycles, may require hospitalization for monitoring. While the condition is serious, it usually lasts no more than one week. There are some steps that your doctor can take to minimize this.

Procedure side effects and risks: The egg retrieval procedure is guided by transvaginal ultrasound. The risk of serious complications from this procedure is rare — about 1 in 1,000. Serious complications involve bleeding that requires observation in the hospital, blood transfusion, or both, as well as damage to internal organs and infection.

Other side effects and risks: To date, evidence does not suggest any increased risk of breast or ovarian cancer from serving as an egg donor. There is no evidence of increased risk of infertility, either.

Are there any restrictions during the process?

You can get pregnant during the egg donation process, so we ask that you abstain from intercourse during the process.

Your ovaries will become enlarged during the egg donation process. We ask you to refrain from high-impact activities such as running, mountain biking and jumping until several weeks after the egg retrieval. After approximately one month, your ovaries will return to their normal size.

Can I become pregnant during treatment?

Yes! It’s very important to avoid intercourse from the time you start the hormone medication until three weeks after your egg retrieval. This will prevent an unwanted pregnancy and ensure the cycle goes as planned.

Will it impact my fertility or deplete my eggs?

No. The procedure itself doesn’t have any impact on your future ability to have children. Women are born with about 2 million eggs. Each month, a group of eggs begin the maturation process, but the body selects only one egg each cycle to ovulate, while the rest are absorbed by the body. Fertility medications “rescue” some of these excess eggs that the body would have ordinarily discarded.

Can I still work or go to school?

Although the egg donation process requires you to adhere strictly to your medication and appointment schedule, most women are able to continue with work and school without difficulty.

However, you must take the medication as instructed, and on time. You must be on time for all monitoring appointments, and you must arrange for transportation to and from the egg retrieval. This means you will need to make your egg donor cycle a top priority during the few weeks that it occurs, and you may have to reschedule other events, classes or work times as necessary.

What are my responsibilities if I agree to become a donor?

The responsibilities of ovum donors are:

  • Be truthful in all portions of the donor screening process.
  • Follow the doctors’ orders during the treatment cycle.
  • Adhere strictly to your medication and appointment schedule. You must take the medication as instructed and on time, and arrive for all monitoring appointments on time. This means you must make your egg donor cycle a top priority during the few weeks that it occurs. Remember, a couple is relying on you.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from the egg retrieval procedure.
  • Abstain from sex from the time you start the hormone medication until three weeks after your egg retrieval, to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and make sure the cycle proceeds as planned.

Do I have legal responsibilities to any child born?

No. When you agree to donate your eggs, you are giving up all rights and responsibilities associated with the eggs and any child born as a result of them.

Will the recipients know me or meet me?

Egg donor arrangements are strictly anonymous, meaning you won’t know the recipients and they won’t know you. Information about you is shared with the recipients in a non-identifying manner. For example, we share the following information: your blood type, ethnic background of your mother and father, height, weight, body build, eye color, hair color and texture, years of education, occupation, special interests and family medical history. We will not share your last name, address, telephone number or email address.

Can I donate more than once?

Washington University Fertility and Reproductive Medicine uses various criteria to determine whether a donor can donate again. If you are invited back to donate you can donate up to six times. Repeat donation may take less of your time, because you will have already completed the initial screening process.

For your safety, ovum donors can donate no more than six times. This guideline was established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Interested in learning more?

Contact our Washington University Egg Donor hotline to become an egg donor.