Egg donation still causes uncertainty for both donors and recipients.  However, in recent years, the number of egg donors has increased, giving hope to couples who can’t conceive. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published that over the last decade, egg donors have increased by 70%. Therefore, raising the hopes of many couples who would like to become parents.

The FDA has strict rules and regulations especially when it comes to egg donation. Before a woman can donate her eggs, she must go through extensive tests, which includes physical, psychological and DNA screening.

Many women go through these tests, only to realize they’re not eligible for donation. The reason being, is lack of information. Below are common questions about egg donation and egg donor qualifications.  

1. Can a woman become an egg donor if she has PCOS?

Yes, women with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) are eligible to donate their eggs at Physician’s Surrogacy. However, they are not common. If our physicians suggest we do not continue an egg donation cycle with a candidate who has PCOS, we generally follow their recommendation.

It is important to keep in mind that PCOS causes issues with menstrual cycles. Therefore, it requires lot of planning and monitoring of the intended egg donor. One of the key steps for egg donation is ovarian stimulation treatment. Women with PCOS are likely to develop OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) due to the stimulation. It may cause swollen ovaries, abdominal pain, shortness in breath and rapid weight gain. This is the reason why women with PCOS rarely become egg donors. Our physicians put the donors health as their top priority.

2. Can a woman donate eggs if she has herpes?

The answer to this question is circumstantial. A woman can become an egg donor even if she had herpes or any other STD in the past. However, doctors won’t start her egg donation cycle if she is currently having a herpes outbreak.

A woman can go through the egg donation process if test results show antibodies for HPV or herpes. That’s because, herpes isn’t transmittable through egg donation. Other diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and syphilis can be transmitted via an egg and would automatically make her ineligible for donation.

3. Can a woman diagnosed with depression donate eggs?

Women diagnosed with depression and taking antidepressants are not able to donate their eggs. The FDA requires extensive psychological screenings that every donor must go through before donating their eggs, and depression usually doesn’t go unnoticed.

The egg donation process includes the injection of different hormones, which can cause contraindications with antidepressants. Furthermore, depression may also be hereditary which would also disqualify a woman from becoming a donor.

4. Can a woman who smokes become an egg donor?

No, women who currently smoke tobacco can’t donate their eggs. It is found that smoking decreases natural fertility.  Also, it may cause additional health issues, putting the egg and donor at risk.

As compared to a non-smoker, the body of a women who smokes produces much less FSH, and often enter menopause earlier.  

To become an egg donor a woman must be a non-smoker for at least six months with Physician’s Surrogacy. This means no vapes, hookah and traditional cigarettes.

5. Can a woman donate eggs, if she is overweight?

Weight issues will disqualify a woman as an egg donor. Weight issues, whether it’s overweight or underweight, decreases natural fertility and quality of eggs. We require egg donor candidates be between the BMI range of 18 to 28.

Women who are overweight, have adipose tissues which produces hormones like cytokines, that can cause inflammation and swelling. This can directly impact the egg’s development and renders egg retrieval ineffective.

6. Does breastfeeding make women ineligible for egg donation?

Women who are currently breastfeeding cannot donate their eggs. Breastfeeding isn’t compatible with the medications and hormone-heavy treatments that are required during the egg donation process. Women who just had a baby but are not breastfeeding are eligible for egg donation. You must have had at least 2 regular periods after no longer breastfeeding, before applying to become an egg donor.

7. Can women donate eggs if they have an IUD?

Yes, a woman who has an intrauterine device can donate eggs. If they have a slow-release hormonal IUD, doctors will remove it before hormonal treatment. Women who have a non-hormonal IUD can become egg donors immediately since it will not interfere with the FSH treatment. Furthermore, it is not necessary to remove a non-hormonal IUD during treatment.

8. Can a woman who has had their tubes tied donate eggs?

Ovarian production of eggs is not affected at all by tubal ligation, therefore women who have had their tubes tied are still eligible to become an egg donor.

It is a general misconception that tubal ligation makes women ineligible for egg donation, but the actual process of retrieving eggs from ovaries is done directly through follicles. Therefore, the state of the tubes is not important, since the egg won’t be released in the body.

9. Can a woman donate eggs if she is on birth control?

Yes, a woman is eligible to donate her eggs even if she is on birth control. Birth control has no effect on her status as an egg donor.  All forms of non-hormonal birth control like pills, patches, and rings can be used during the egg donation process.

10. What is the minimum age required to be an egg donor?

The minimum age required to become an egg donor with Physician’s Surrogacy is 19. This age limitation ensures the quality and the number of eggs. Donors who are too young might not meet the fundamental physical and physiological requirements of egg donation.

Become an Egg Donor

Becoming an egg donor is a wonderful way to help someone start a family and bring happiness and joy in their life. However, you need to be prepared, since it is an involved process, both physically and mentally. Physician’s Surrogacy can guide you through the complete process and can facilitate everything to help you become an egg donor.