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Egg Donation (for the donor)

  • The process of a female donating some of her eggs so that another couple can have a child
  • For women who are considering becoming an egg donor for an infertile couple
  • Being matched with a recipient and taking fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries is next
  • Involves Yale Fertility Center, Reproductive Endocrinology

Overview

An act of kindness can transform someone else’s life. Becoming an egg donor means you are giving another person the opportunity to realize their dream of building (and raising) a family.

Receiving an egg donation can be the long-sought answer for women who have already tried other infertility procedures or for women who were born without ovaries, whose ovaries have been removed, or whose ovaries may have been damaged by radiation or chemotherapy after cancer treatment. Egg donation can also help same-sex male couples have a baby.

At the Yale Fertility Center, doctors recruit donors from the community. Donations can also be made by friends or relatives. All donors are carefully screened, and the identities of donors who wish to remain anonymous will not be released.

Dorothy Greenfeld, MSW, a Yale Fertility Center counselor, works closely with women who have donated their eggs. “Many women like the idea of helping others,” she says. “Often, they know someone who is infertile. They acknowledge the money is helpful [egg donors are compensated], but they aren’t doing this to make a living.” 

How do you become an egg donor?

If you’re a woman between the ages of 21 and 30, who is interested in egg donation, you should first fill out an online questionnaire. “We conduct a comprehensive health history of the donor candidate, asking additional health history questions about her parents, siblings, maternal and paternal grandparents, and aunts and uncles,” Greenfeld says.

You will then be asked into the office where you will undergo a thorough physical examination, which includes screenings for genetic and infectious diseases, by a dedicated fertility specialist.

Finally, you’ll meet with Greenfeld for a psychological assessment and to discuss any questions or concerns. 

How does egg donation work?

Once you have been accepted as an egg donor, and are matched with a recipient, doctors will prescribe a series of injectable fertility medications that will stimulate your ovaries to produce many eggs at one time rather than one, as happens during a normal menstrual cycle.

While using the medications, you (and your eggs) will be monitored via blood tests and ultrasounds. When your eggs have developed to the appropriate size, which is after approximately 10 to 12 days, explains Emre Seli, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, the doctor will remove them with a needle and ultrasound probe. (This is a minor procedure performed in the office. After about an hour in the recovery room, you can go home.) Once this procedure is complete, your role will be fulfilled. All retrieved eggs will then belong only to the recipient.

What stands out about Yale Medicine’s approach to egg donation?

Yale Fertility Center’s Third Party Reproductive Program has achieved successful results for couples from around the country for decades. Many discoveries in reproductive sciences occurred here and our physician-scientists are among the most well-known and funded in the United States.