I’ve been considering egg donation for a while now. A close friend recently donated her eggs and, having known very little about the process beforehand, it turns out to be a lot less daunting than I had previously imagined. You need to have a think about why you’re donating: in the United Kingdom you can expect to receive around £750 for each egg donation cycle so it’s unlikely to be about the money. Initially a donor recruitment coordinator will discuss this with you along with your suitability to donate eggs, including your lifestyle and family history. For many women that have no desire to have their own family they may feel that their fertility hasn’t been wasted by not having children. Other women that already have families feel they can donate knowing that they will be helping other women less fortunate than them. The recruitment of egg donors in the UK currently does not meet demand unlike other European countries where many women travel for treatment.
Under UK law all egg donation in the UK is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). Donors and recipients are anonymous during the donation process; however all children born using donated eggs, on reaching the age of 18, have the right to access to the name, date of birth and last known address of their donor. The donor does not have any legal rights or responsibilities over the child. Following a donation you will have to right to access information regarding the success of the eggs you donated and the gender and year of birth of any children born from your donation. You can by law consent to the creation of up to 10 families from your donation but you are also free to set a limit on anything below that number.
After that initial session there’s going to be some medical poking and prodding including blood tests and scans to assess your eggs and their production. You’ll need to be screened for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis in addition to genetic tests such as cystic fibrosis and other heredity problems. In order to meet the criteria to donate eggs you’ll need to be between the ages of 18 and 35, with a body mass index under 30, have a healthy lifestyle including not putting yourself at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease during the donation process.
Once you’ve passed all this with flying colours, you’ll be matched with a suitable recipient. Your menstrual cycles will be synchronised by using a low dosage hormonal pill so that the recipient’s uterus will be hormonally ready for the fertilised egg. After this you will begin a roughly 2 week process of taking a follicle stimulating hormone and the effectiveness of this treatment will be monitored by the clinic. Finally the HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) trigger shot will be administered 36 hours before egg collection. The procedure to retrieve your eggs will take around 30 minutes and can be carried out under sedation or general anaesthetic and you will be able to go home the same day. There can be some discomfort and tenderness after the procedure, and you’ll want to take it easy for a few days after. The clinic will advise you specifically post operatively.
To find out more I’ve listed some relevant links