Frequently asked questions
Choosing to donate your eggs is a big decision, and questions are normal and welcome! Here are answers to the most common questions we get at Bright Expectations from young women like you:
Do I have to live near Beverly Hills to be an egg donor?
No! If you’re local that’s great - you won’t need to travel far for your appointments. But if you’re outside of the area, we’ll cover all your travel expenses, from mileage reimbursement if you’re driving to us, all the way up to airfare, hotel, meals, and ground transportation for you and a companion if you’re coming from farther away.
How old do you have to be to become an egg donor?
We accept applications from women between 20 and 29 years old. Age restrictions like this are in place for a number of reasons, and all of them are about making sure that your egg donation is a good experience for you and for the intended recipients of your eggs. By 20, most young women are mature enough to understand the importance of their decision to donate their eggs, and able to follow through the with responsibilities and commitment required.
Capping donations at age 29 helps us ensure that the patients who are going through the stress and expense of fertility treatments have the best chance of success using the donated eggs. We want to offer them the highest quality eggs available, and when women reach their 30s, their egg quality and quantity can start to go down. Older women may not respond as well to the fertility medications used to stimulate their ovaries, which can mean less viable eggs are produced.
Is the process extremely time consuming?
Not at all. The process mainly consists of 20 to 30-minute doctor appointments that can be arranged around your schedule. The screening appointment, psychological evaluation, and egg retrieval are the most lengthy of the process. You can expect to visit the clinic between 6 and 8 times. From start to finish, the whole egg donation cycle takes about 4 to 6 weeks.
Is the egg retrieval a major surgery?
No. The retrieval is a non-invasive (no cutting or stitching) procedure. You will be sedated, but the actual retrieval only takes 20 to 30 minutes. The anesthetic used is comparable to the sedation your dentist might use to remove your wisdom teeth. You won’t feel any pain, but you might be a little woozy afterwards from the anesthesia. Most donors are back on their feet within 1 to 2 days.
Can I donate if I do not have medical insurance?
Yes. As a donor, you will be provided with an incidental insurance policy that covers you and all related costs throughout the donation process.
Will it cost me money to donate my eggs?
There are no costs to the egg donor! Along with the incidental insurance to cover any related medical expenses, we will pay all of your travel expenses.
Can I donate more than once?
Absolutely, you can donate up to 6 times! Medical clearance will be required for each donation.
How will I feel on medications?
Typical symptoms include bloating, cramping, and moodiness. You are taking hormones, so essentially you will feel elevated PMS-like symptoms. Should any of these symptoms feel abnormal, contact your coordinator and nurse immediately. In extremely rare cases, severe bloating, abdominal pain, and nausea could be a sign of a potentially serious complication known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, also known as OHSS, which could require medical treatment.
Related reading: What Are the Side Effects of Becoming an Egg Donor?
How long will I be on medications?
This will depend on how your body reacts to the hormone stimulants in the fertility medication. Typically, most donors are on medications for only 12 to 14 days.
Can I have sex while on medications?
We ask that you refrain from sexual intercourse while on medications, as you are extremely fertile and have a high chance of becoming pregnant during this time.
Can I drink alcohol while on medications?
You’ll need to give up drinking for the duration of the egg donation process: luckily, it’s only 4 to 6 weeks total! It’s also very important that you do not take any other drugs during this time.
After retrieval, how long does it take for my body to return to “normal”?
You will begin a menstrual period within 1 to 2 weeks of the egg retrieval, which should signal that your body is back to normal. Bloating from the egg donation cycle should subside within 3 to 5 days after retrieval. If your bloating does not reduce within that timeframe or worsens, call your coordinator and nurse immediately.
Will I still be able to have my own kids after donating my eggs?
If you are fertile enough to donate eggs in the first place, donating your eggs should not have any effect on your future fertility. Research has found no link between egg donation and problems conceiving in the future. Donating your eggs will not deplete your natural egg supply! Every month during your natural cycle about 15 to 20 eggs begin to mature in follicles before you ovulate, but only one usually makes it all the way to ovulation: the rest are reabsorbed body and are lost. In egg donation, the fertility medications simply ensure that most of those eggs do mature all the way, so we’re only retrieving the eggs your body would have disposed of anyway!
Related reading: If I Donate My Eggs, Can I Still Have Kids?
Can I be an egg donor if I have had a tubal ligation?
Yes! Eggs are retrieved directly from your ovaries so your fallopian tubes are not involved in the process at all.
Can donate if I’m on birth control?
The answer is that it depends!
- If you’re on the pill, that’s fine, but you’ll need to stop it while you’re taking fertility medications.
- If you have had the Depo Provera shot, you will need to stop getting the shot and wait six months before you can be an egg donor.
- If you have an Implanon implant, you’ll need to have it removed and wait four to six weeks before you’re eligible for donation.
- If you have a non-hormonal IUD like the Paraguard, you can still donate your eggs.
Can I donate my eggs if I have tattoos and/or piercings?
Tattoos and piercings are usually okay, but because there is a risk of infectious disease with getting either, you might need to wait six months to a year after getting the tattoo or piercing before you can donate. However, if you have signed proof from the tattoo or piercing studio that sterile disposable needles were used, you won’t need to fulfil the waiting period. Most studios do no use disposable needles, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
What about my privacy?
Egg donation is very a personal decision, and some donors are worried about family and friends finding out. Others wonder about boundaries with intended parents. You should know that your privacy and safety are a primary concern for Bright Expectations. Your identity will be protected throughout the process, and your medical and personal information are held in strictest confidence. Most egg donations are anonymous, so intended families and their donors never have direct contact, unless (in rare cases) all parties specifically agree otherwise in the donor contract.
As always, we are here to answer any questions and concerns you might have at any point in your decision-making process. If you’re wondering about something we haven’t mentioned here, don’t hesitate to contact us!