Egg Donation: Is it for You?
A woman who has difficulty getting pregnant may go to a fertility clinic and take extraordinary measures to boost her chances of conception. Fertility clinics usually have an array of methods to help childless couples. For example, if a woman’s ovaries do not generate enough eggs, an egg donated by another woman will sometimes allow her to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization. If the recipient gets pregnant and delivers a child, she will be the birth mother of that child even though the child will be related to the donor genetically. Although the rules and requirements vary somewhat on a geographical basis, an egg donor must usually be between the ages of 21 and 32, in good health, both mentally and physically, with a weight that is appropriate for her height. Other criteria involve family health history, and factors such as race and ethnic background.
If you are thinking about donating an egg, find an invitro fertilization clinic near you or contact a donor agency. If you have a friend or relative who has donated an egg, they might refer you to an agency or a clinic. Otherwise, look in the yellow pages or do an online search; but when you choose an agency, be sure to check them out first to make sure they are reputable. If your application is accepted you will have to take fertility drugs to encourage your ovaries to manufacture several eggs at once. During the course of the drug treatments, you will have to undergo several medical tests. You will have a physical examination which includes a pelvic exam.
A blood sample will be taken to check your hormone levels and an ultrasound will examine your uterus and your ovaries. If you decide to become an egg donor you may have several medical visits before you are accepted. During these visits you will have a medical exam and you will be asked detailed questions about your family history. During the donation cycle, you will have several blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the growth of the eggs and to see how you are responding to the hormone drugs. The ultrasound exams involve inserting a probe into your vagina so the doctor can view the follicles on your ovaries.
You will receive a final injection to prepare the eggs for retrieval. The eggs will be removed from your ovaries in a minor surgical procedure. Your eggs will then be combined with sperm from the father-to-be in the clinic’s laboratory. If embryos result, they will be nurtured in a lab dish before one or more is implanted into the uterus of the intended mother. An ultrasound probe will be used to remove the egg and the liquid matter from inside each follicle. After you recover from the egg removal, your role in the treatment cycle will be over. You may be asked to sign a contract with the recipient. The contract will outline in detail your responsibilities and the responsibilities of the recipient.