Egg Donor Information

DONORS NEEDED!
The Fertility Center is currently seeking egg donors of all races. Asian, African American and Hispanic donors are especially a high need!!! Please review the criteria and information regarding donating and if you meet the criteria and are interested, contact Christine at 616-988-2229 ext 131.

Egg Donation Information

Who qualifies to be an egg donor?

Anonymous egg donors should meet the following requirements to be accepted into the program:

  • First time donors should be between age 21 and 31
  • Non-smoking for a full 3 months or longer

(must remain non-smoking and agree to nicotine testing)

  • High school grad minimum; college education preferred
  • Cannot be adopted unless they have full access to their family medical background.
  • Normal Body Mass Index (BMI of 30 or less): Calculator: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

Note that donors with BMIs of 28 or higher are harder for us to match with recipients.

  • No history of severe endometriosis
  • No genetic disorders or birth defects in donor or immediate family
  • Low risk of communicable disease
  • Donors should be off antidepressant medications for 3 months
  • Donors cannot have full Medicaid or Medicare insurance

(Medicaid “Plan First” is allowed: it is sometimes used by young women for family planning services such as pap smears and birth control)

  • A poor family medical history will be difficult to match you with a recipient.

What is involved?

To become an egg donor we must obtain a copy of your medical records directly from your physician’s office and you must complete a donor history questionnaire.  The information on this questionnaire will later be provided anonymously to recipients so they can choose an egg donor appropriate to their needs. 

 Following this initial screening, we will make an appointment for you to have an ovarian antral follicle count.  This is performed by vaginal ultrasound to determine if you have a high egg potential.  We will also schedule you to meet with our counselor and take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test.  This appointment will take approximately 2 hours and can only be scheduled in our Grand Rapids office.  It typically takes 1-2 weeks to receive the results of this test. 

 If you remain eligible after these steps, you will be scheduled to meet with the Donor Coordinator nurse to thoroughly discuss the process of being an egg donor, including: medications, appointments, the egg retrieval process, risks/side effects, and your obligations as an egg donor.  This will take approximately 1 hour and will only be scheduled in our Grand Rapids location. 

 While there is no cost to you for your screening appointments, we do not reimburse you for missed work, transportation, or other related expenses.  However, we do cover all fees generated by our office for your procedure.  Donor reimbursement is paid once you have completed the egg retrieval procedure, assuming instructions were followed.

 All your bills from our office will be paid anonymously by the recipient. We also require all recipients to pay a premium for a supplemental medical insurance policy for you, in case of any complication related to the egg donation process. If you have medical insurance, your insurance would be billed first, and then the supplemental insurance would cover whatever is not covered by your insurance. This is ONLY for complications with your visits here and cannot be used for personal doctor’s appointments. 

 If you remain eligible after these appointments, we will begin to present your information in an anonymous manner to recipients on our waiting list.

Once matched with a recipient

We will begin the egg donation process based on your menstrual cycle. Please keep track of the first full day of your menstrual cycles, so we know how to coordinate you with the recipient.

 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) screening and testing is required for all egg donors.  You will be asked questions about your lifestyle and risk factors for communicable diseases.  We will review your medical history and perform a physical. The physician will do a pelvic exam and tests for Chlamydia and gonorrhea. This appointment can only be scheduled in our Grand Rapids office. We will draw blood for prenatal and communicable disease testing, including HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses, and syphilis.

 The donation cycle takes two months, with most appointments and the egg retrieval occurring in the second month. You will need to be available for frequent ultrasounds and blood tests, with most appointments occurring between 8:00am – 10:30am in the morning. Your work/school schedule should be flexible enough to allow these appointments. If you cannot accommodate these appointments, we will be unable to work with you as a donor. 

During the procedure month, you will inject approximately 6 weeks of medications with a small, subcutaneous needle to produce a high number of eggs for the procedure month.  Two days before your egg retrieval, you will inject an intramuscular medication to prepare your eggs for the egg retrieval procedure.

 The Procedure

The egg retrieval is performed in our Grand Rapids office under intravenous (IV) conscious sedation.  You will need to be in the office for about 2 ½ hours. Most of this time is for your instructions, starting the intravenous (IV) for pain medications, and monitoring you afterwards.  The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes to retrieve the eggs from the ovaries. You will need an escort to bring you to and from the egg retrieval.  You will not be able to work or go to school this day due to the pain medications, but most people return to work or school the following day. 

 Two weeks after the egg retrieval procedure, you will have a post-operative appointment with one of our doctors to be sure you are healing properly.  If you are interested in donating again, let us know at that time.  Future cycles involve fewer appointments because much of the prescreening is already complete. 

What happens if I unexpectedly drop out of the program?

Before you begin, if you anticipate there may be scheduling issues, please do not proceed with egg donation.  Cancelled cycles are very difficult for recipients, as many have been attempting pregnancy for years.  However, we understand that emergencies arise. There is no financial compensation if you cancel your donor cycle. At any time if you feel that being an egg donor is not right for you, please let the donor coordinator know IMMEDIATELY. 

What happens to my eggs once they are donated?

The recipient couple provides a semen sample to fertilize the eggs to create embryos.  The physician normally transfers two embryos to the recipient and remaining embryos are usually frozen for future use.

 Occasionally, the recipient couple does not need the remaining embryos for pregnancy attempts.  They have the choice to donate the embryos to another infertile couple or to research, or to destroy the embryos themselves. We want you to understand these options, so you can make an informed decision regarding egg donation.

How many times can a person donate their eggs?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends an egg donor be limited to six cycles. If you inform us that you desire to donate again, we will review your previous donation cycle(s) to determine whether or not you are a candidate.

 If you are a repeat donor and we were able to retrieve many eggs, we may match you with two recipients for one cycle to split the eggs. There is no additional financial reimbursement to you as the donor if we split the eggs between two recipients. It is a way to lessen the costs for recipients that cannot afford this procedure otherwise and limits excessive embryos freezing.

 Can my anonymity be guaranteed forever?

We will not release any information, voluntarily, to any recipient or future child.  However, if future court decisions force us to comply with releasing information, we will have no choice. We cannot anticipate what a child born from egg donation will do.

 What are the risks?

Please review the Egg Donation Informed Consent for possible risks and side effects.

Will egg donation affect my future fertility?

NO, we do not recruit any “extra” eggs to grow in a cycle than you would already normally produce in that cycle. Every cycle you may have 10-30 eggs that begin to grow.  Normally, only one becomes mature and is released (ovulation). When you take fertility medications, more eggs are stimulated to grow that would normally otherwise have been lost that month.

 Do I receive financial compensation?

Yes.  Please review the Egg Donor Financial Information and Consent for details.  Most donors have approximately 11 appointments to prepare for and complete their donation before they are compensated.

 Do I have to claim the income from the donor cycle on my federal taxes?

YES.  You will receive a 1099 form from us at the end of the year. A copy of this is also sent to the government, so you MUST claim the income.  This is federal law.  Failure to do so could result in an audit and/or penalties.  If you move, please be sure to update your address with our office.

 If you do not feel that you can meet these requirements,

it is best for all parties involved for you to not participate in the egg

 donor program.

 Please contact our office if you have any questions. If you qualify, we will review more specific information and instructions at your nurse consultation appointment.

 Christine Dixon, R.N. and Kim Helm, R.N.

Donor Coordinators

(616) 988-2229, ext. 131

The financial compensation for egg donation is $3000 per cycle. Certain criteria will be required before this will be paid to a donor.

  • The donor will need to be reliable with ALL appointments and take all medications correctly.
  • The donor MUST be available by phone on any appointment day so that we can contact her by phone with further instructions. Failure to do so will greatly jeopardize the cycle and may impact the number of eggs retrieved.
  • The donor will have an adequate response to the fertility medications (retrieval of at least 4 mature follicles) and have adequate Estradiol levels.
  • The donor MUST remain a non-smoker!! If at any time we determine that you are smoking, the cycle will be cancelled.

If a cycle is cancelled by The Fertility Center for any of the following reasons, the financial compensation will be $250.

  • Poor response to the fertility medications and < 4 mature eggs retrieved.
  • Estradiol levels drop while taking the fertility medications.
  • Risk of ovarian hyperstimulation is too high to proceed with egg retrieval.
  • Premature LH surge or ovulation prior to egg retrieval.
  • Failure to retrieve eggs at retrieval for unknown reasons. (rare)

Most of these situations are rare in young, healthy donors. If hyperstimulation occurs, the donor can try again to donate if she desires. We would prescribe lower medications and in the majority of cases, the repeat attempt is successful.

Reimbursement checks are mailed out 7-10 days after the egg retrieval procedure is done. Please contact our office if you have NOT received it.

There will be NO FINANCIAL COMPENSATION GIVEN FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS:

  • Donor withdraws from the program.
  • Laboratory testing on donor are abnormal.
  • Donor is unreliable with appointments and/or is unable to be reached by phone on appointment dates.
  • Donor makes errors in medications causing a poor response to the fertility meds or problems retrieving eggs.
  • Evidence that the donor is smoking and/or taking drugs. Nicotine levels may be drawn with other blood samples and sent without prior notice. This would be done if we suspect you are smoking.
  • Evidence that the donor is mentally unstable during the donation cycle.

The following information outlines the steps for a patient utilizing an anonymous egg donor for the goal of pregnancy.  If a recipient instead chooses to find their own egg donor, the steps are slightly different.  Our Donor Coordinator, RN, can outline the steps for this situation.

If you’re not already a patient of our office, the first step is to schedule a new patient appointment with one of the physicians to discuss the donor egg recipient program—we request that a copy of your current medical history from your current physician’s office be sent to our office prior to this appointment.

You may want to consider getting on our waiting list prior to this appointment.  This will help decrease your wait once your fertility plan is established.  To get on the egg donor waiting list, you must contact our billing department and pay a deposit.  We recommend you contact our Donor Coordinator for the current estimated wait. 

The next step is to schedule an appointment with our infertility counselor to discuss the emotional and psychological issues related to using a third party to achieve a pregnancy. There is no charge for this appointment.  Both the male and female patients using the egg donor are required to attend this appointment.  An annual appointment with the counselor is required by our office while attempting pregnancy with an egg donor (including attempts with frozen embryos).

A nurse consultation is also required and can be scheduled at this time. The nurse will review the medical aspects of the program, required testing, the donor screening process, and how we match you with a donor. The cost of this consult is covered by your deposit.

Once a recipient is presented a donor(s) and selects a donor, the Donor Coordinator will coordinate the timing of the procedure, based on the women’s menstrual cycles. All remaining fees are due at this time.

The matched egg donation cycle typically takes 2 menstrual cycles to complete. The donor takes fertility drugs to encourage the growth of multiple eggs.  During this time, the recipient female also takes medications to coordinator her cycle with the egg donor’s and to prepare the uterine lining for a pregnancy. 

Donor eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the recipient partner’s sperm on the same day. An embryo transfer is performed with the recipient female two days later.  Normally two embryos will be transferred.  Two days of bed rest and minimal activity are required after the embryo transfer.  A blood pregnancy test is done within two weeks of the transfer.  A repeat blood test is needed 2-4 days following the first test. 

This is a brief explanation of the process.  It will be reviewed in detail at the nurse consult appointment.  If you have questions, contact our Donor Coordinator at (616) 988-2229, ext. 131.

Egg Donor Information

The following guidelines/requirements are a combination of those of The Fertility Center and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Some are in place to assure optimal fertility response in the donor, while others reduce the risk of communicable disease transmission.  Note that there may be additional reasons a donor may not be eligible to donate, but this list covers most requirements.

 Anonymous egg donors should meet the following requirements to be accepted into the program:

  • Between age 21 and 32
  • Non-smoking for a full 3 months or longer
  • High school grad minimum; college education preferred
  • Donors cannot be adopted unless they have full access to their family medical background.
  • Normal Body Mass Index (BMI of 30 or less).
  • No history of severe endometriosis
  • No genetic disorders or birth defects in donor or immediate family
  • Low risk of communicable disease
  • Donors cannot be currently taking antidepressant medications
  • Donors cannot have Medicaid or Medicare insurance
  • Medical records from their primary care or OB/GYN demonstrate eligibility
  • Psychological screening by our on site counselor determines donor is appropriate/eligible
  • Completion of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI); reviewed by our counselor and a Fertility Center physician for eligibility

 After initial acceptance, all egg donors must complete the following:

  • A new patient appointment and physical examination by a Fertility Center physician
  • Consultation with the Donor Coordinator (to review procedures, plans, medications, etc)
  • Injection teaching
  • FDA screening questionnaires for communicable disease risks and testing for HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.

 If you are using a known egg donor, follow the above guidelines for your best chance at success.

 Egg Donor Selection

 Unlike an egg donor agency, The Fertility Center does not have “books” full of donors to choose from.  We do significant screening before our donors are considered “available” (often much more than an egg agency).   Because of this, our donors are usually available and ready to begin the process once you choose her; however, this also means that we have fewer donors available to choose from. 

 If you prefer to choose from a larger selection of donors or if you prefer to see current photos of your donor (we will only show you childhood photos—so that it remains an anonymous process), you may advertise for an egg donor on your own or you may consider using an egg donor agency.

 Types of Egg Donors

 Recruited/Anonymous egg donors:  These women are initially screened verbally by questionnaire based on some of the previous guidelines.  If they are eligible after the initial screening, they must complete an extensive questionnaire and release their medical records to our office.  We review their medical records and compare them to the questionnaire.  If their information is consistent and they remain eligible, we schedule them with our counselor and they complete the MMPI.  We also normally do an ultrasound at this time to evaluate their antral follicles (potential to create numerous eggs).  If they remain eligible, they meet with our Donor Coordinator to review the process in its entirety and to stress the significant commitment they are choosing to make.  If they remain interested, we begin to present them to potential recipient couples.  After they are matched with a couple, we perform additional screening and testing for FDA eligibility.  Once this is complete, and if the donor remains eligible, we begin to match up the donor and recipient’s menstrual cycles for the procedure, which is a two month process.

 Advantages: There is low chance of cancellation due to low numbers of eggs.  There is a high chance of having additional embryos to freeze for later use.  Young, healthy donors are more apt to have good quality eggs. 

 Disadvantages: Cost is the biggest disadvantage.  All testing, medications, and procedure costs have to be paid, as well as donor reimbursement for their time and efforts. 

 Split Donor:  A split donor is screened the same as a recruited donor, but her eggs are divided between two recipients.  We only allow donors with prior good response or high follicle count to be matched with two recipients.  This decreases the chance of cancellation due to a low egg collection. 

 Advantages: Lower cost for both recipients.

 Disadvantages: One patient is the “primary” recipient and will be initially responsible for all cycle fees.  The primary recipient is given first priority to receive the eggs if the donor does not grow enough for two recipients (eight eggs total is normally the minimum).  The “secondary” recipient pays less but carries a higher risk of being cancelled. 

 In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) patient donor: A patient who is doing her own IVF cycle and decides to donate some of her eggs.  The ideal patient is a young woman with infertility which doesn’t affect egg quality (e.g. tubal or male factor).    

 Advantages:  The biggest advantage to using an IVF patient donor is the lower cost, due to the fact that the patient will pay for her own medications and procedures. 

 Disadvantages:  The wait time to be matched with an IVF patient donor can be longer than a recruited donor.  There is a higher chance of your cycle being cancelled if the patient does not grow enough eggs.  The IVF patient may want to freeze some embryos for themselves.  If so, decisions will need to be made regarding how many eggs will be received by each party.