A woman gives one of the greatest gifts a parent could ever know when she decides to donate eggs to infertile couples. With fertility clinics paying tens of thousands of dollars per egg retrieval, egg donation can be quite lucrative for donors as well. But before delving into the egg-donation process, it is important to understand how egg donation happens to help determine whether it is for you.
Before donating your eggs, you must first locate a reputable fertility clinic that seeks egg donations. Fertility clinics frequently advertise in local newspapers, magazines and radio ads. To determine which fertility clinic would best suit your needs, discuss your options with your gynecologist. Obstetric and gynecological offices work closely with fertility issues and know where to refer their patients.
Before you become an egg donor, you need to complete a written application. The application will ask about your health, lifestyle, education, career, children and religion. You will also be requested to attach photos of yourself and any children you have. From a medical standpoint, physicians seek egg donors with no familial history of birth defects and prefer women who have already given birth. This illustrates the viability of her eggs. Infertile couples prefer intelligent, accomplished and healthy women who possess certain physical attributes; a specific height, weight, skin color, hair color and ethnicity are common requests.
After your application is accepted, you must go through a screening process. The University of Virginia Heath System details this process as requiring a meeting with a social worker to help you realize the possible emotional strain surrounding egg donation. He will also assess your motivation to donate eggs. Additionally, you will be requested to undergo genetic and blood testing to uncover any potentially harmful diseases or conditions that could be passed on to offspring.
Once you are chosen to donate eggs to an infertile couple, you will begin an intense preparation period. Before your eggs can be harvested, you must be in optimal health and at peak fertility. To ensure this, you will be placed on a regimen referred to by the American Pregnancy Association as ovulation induction. This process consists of giving yourself high doses of hormones that first suppress certain hormones, then raise others to increase the number of eggs that will drop during ovulation. Doctors will then utilize ultrasound technology as well as blood and urine samples to determine your peak fertility.
After several weeks of preparation, you will be ready to donate your eggs. Stanford University informs egg donors that although egg retrieval does require surgery, it is minor. Donors are sedated but left awake. The doctor uses an ultrasound probe with an attached tube. Using the imagery of the ultrasound, the doctor uses a small suction needle attached to the tube to withdraw the mature eggs from just outside the ovaries.
Once surgery is completed, recovery is speedy. Donors are left to rest in the fertility clinic for 1 or 2 hours before being released. Women receive an antibiotic to prevent infection and are told to take it easy for a day or two. Occasionally, side effects are experienced. These side effects include structural damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes, vaginal bleeding, infertility and general discomfort. The risks should be assessed before deciding to donate eggs to infertile couples.