The Pros and Cons of Being an Egg Donor: Benefits, Risks, and Myths

0
2230

Picture this for a moment: You struggle for months and years trying to get pregnant, yet achieve nothing but an ever-growing pile of negative pregnancy tests.

You go to the doctor and learn your eggs are not viable…the only way to carry a child of your own is through using an egg donor.

In situations like these, it’s easy to see why egg donors are so important.

Are You Considering Egg Donation?

There’s no right or wrong reason to become a donor. It’s essential, however, to understand the process involved and the risks of donating eggs before you make an official decision.

While no medical process is without its dangers, the beauty of egg donation is in the final outcome. Donating is relatively simple, yet it yields the most profound result possible – the opportunity to help a couple become a family.

Unfortunately, many women are scared to take the final leap into egg donation because of various myths surrounding the process. Debunking these rumors can help put those worries to rest.

Myth 1: Any Woman Can Donate Their Eggs

While it’s admirable to be interested in donating, there are strict guidelines and a rigorous screening process that protect both the donors and the egg recipients.

Here are just a few of the basic requirements most fertility clinics have in place:

  • Donors must be within the ages of 21 and 33.
  • Applicants should be free of all STD’s, along with being in good mental and physical health.
  • Smokers and/or drug users will not be accepted.
  • Approximately three months of availability is necessary to complete the process.
  • Donors should be prepared to self-administer injectable medications.

Potential donors will undergo a variety of medical tests, including but not limited to: drug tests, psychological screenings, ultrasounds, and blood work to ensure their bodies are capable of undergoing the donation process.

Myth 2: Donating Eggs Will Affect the Donor’s Future Fertility

There is no scientific evidence that donating your eggs will prevent you from having children of your own. In fact, some women who have already had children – and plan to have more – will find themselves choosing to donate as a means of helping others.

Another rumor which tends to go hand in hand with this fear is that egg donation depletes a woman’s egg reserves. Wrong again.

Every woman is born with approximately two million eggs. Each month that number diminishes slightly, but given the large number available, it is impossible for egg donation to exhaust your supply.

Myth 3: Egg Donation is Painful and Comes with Serious Health Risks

As stated previously, any health procedure will come with a certain number of risks – egg donation is no exception. That being said, it’s important to understand how safe the process is overall.

Once a donor has been cleared for donation, she will begin the actual donation cycle. This will involve a regimen of medications to help her body prepare more ovarian follicles and eggs for release than would naturally occur during a normal monthly cycle.

While the medications used during this stage of the process do come with a minimal risk for causing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), the donor’s progress will be closely monitored using ultrasounds and blood work as a means of prevention.

Once her body is ready for the outpatient egg collection procedure, her fertility specialist will use a thin needle to retrieve the matured eggs from each primed ovarian follicle.

In terms of pain, every woman’s tolerance is different. The average woman may experience discomfort the day of and after surgery, but most feel fine within a few days and are ready to return to work.

Myth 4: You Have No Rights to the Eggs You Donate

While this “myth” is true, some fertility clinics offer the option offuture contact after a child turns 18.

Any time you are preparing to donate eggs, you will be required to sign a contract after being accepted into the program. This contract will cover your legal rights to any eggs collected –none.

While you do not have any claim to the eggs, if you would like to give the resulting children an opportunity to find you after their 18th birthday, these terms can be written into the contract.

This is an increasingly common and encouraged option, as many recipients wish for this type of arrangement.

Egg Donation: The Definition of Selfless Action

There are no two ways about it – egg donation is not an easy decision to make. For certain women in certain situations, however, it may be the perfect choice.

Maybe you’re struggling to pay for school.

Maybe you’d like to travel the world before settling down into a career, but don’t have the funds to do so.

Or, just maybe, you’re a young mother who sees the beauty in having a child and wants to help someone else experience that special bond.

Whatever brings you to this decision, appreciate the beauty in it. Realize that within any dark moments of sadness after donation, there is light. When these parents look down at the child you’ve helped them create, they will fondly reflect on their experience, forever grateful for the role you played.