Egg donation can be an empowering and rewarding choice for many young women, but not everyone will qualify as a donor. Certain factors, such as age, physical health, risk of inheritable genetic issues, contraceptive use, and schedule availability are potential egg donor disqualifications. Let’s explore each of these.
1. Physical Health
Physical health is important for egg donors for a few reasons. First, it increases the chances of a successful donation. Second, it helps to ensure the health of the eggs. And finally, it helps to keep the donor healthy during and after the donation process.
When increasing the chances of a successful donation, physical health is key. A donor who is in good physical health is more likely to have a successful donation than a donor who is not in good physical health. That is why one of the most common reasons a clinic would disqualify a woman as an egg donor is because of her physical health.
Egg donors must meet the following health criteria:
- Body Mass Index (BMI) of 19-29
- No smoking or drug use; minimal or no alcohol use
- No transfusions, piercings, or tattoos in the past 12 months
- No notable family health history or past personal history
- Not on any antidepressants or undergoing any treatment for psychiatric disorders or depression
- No sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV-I or HIV-II, Hepatitis B or C, Syphilis, Chlamydia, or Gonorrhea) within at least the past year
You’ll be required to undergo a physical exam and get clearance from your own OB/GYN or general practitioner before beginning medications for a donation cycle.
- Importance Of A Regular Menstrual Cycle
Egg donors need to have regular menstrual cycles in order to qualify. Regular cycles show a healthy reproductive system, so this is one of the major criteria. You must have both ovaries, regular menstrual periods, and no history of reproductive disorders or abnormalities.
2. Age Requirement
Age is perhaps the biggest factor in determining who will qualify as an egg donor. Because the quality of a woman’s eggs diminishes as she ages, it’s best for egg donors to be 29 or younger. Younger women are more likely to have healthier eggs that are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy.
Younger women are less likely to have health problems that could complicate the egg donation process, causing problems for the donor. Each agency and egg bank can set their own criteria for age, although it’s very common to see egg donors between the ages of 20-29.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines state that egg donors should be between the ages of 21-34; however, it is up to each individual clinic, agency, or egg bank to determine eligibility.
3. Inheritable Genetic Disorders
Another common reason to be disqualified from egg donation is evidence of having an inheritable genetic disorder.
When you apply to be an egg donor, a physician will ask you about your family medical history, including any inherited genetic disorders.
Many times, your physician will also ask you to submit a blood sample for genetic testing. This is to find out if you are a genetic carrier for diseases like cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs, muscular dystrophy, and more.
4. Use of Contraception
There are a few things to keep in mind when considering contraception choices and how they might affect your eligibility for candidacy. Foremost, it is important to remember that all candidates are required to be abstinent from sexual activity prior to surgery.
This means that you must discontinue any form of contraception, including birth control pills, for at least two weeks prior to surgery. In addition, it is important to be sure that you are using a reliable form of contraception prior to and after surgery.
If you are using long-term forms of birth control such as Depo-Provera injections, or implants,, this will disqualify you from egg donation.
If you have received the Depo-Provera injection or the Nexplanon/Implanon implant, you will need to wait 6 to 12 months after stopping the contraception.
Hormonal IUDs like the Mirena are incompatible with egg donation, but after removal, you can become qualified fairly quickly. Donors can typically continue using birth control pills and copper (non-hormonal) IUDs.
It is important to talk to your physician about your contraception choices and make sure that they are aware of any medications or devices that you are using.
5. Uncommitted To Medical Schedule
The time commitment involved in becoming an egg donor surprises a lot of women. You will need to have a schedule that is flexible enough to attend multiple medical appointments, sometimes 10-15. You need to understand that the final two weeks of your cycle will involve frequent in-person appointments at the clinic.
If you have a very busy lifestyle and cannot find flexibility in your schedule, it may disqualify you as an egg donor.
Also, we discourage egg donors who are planning to travel to areas infected with Zika. Zika is a virus that can cause severe birth defects in babies. If you are thinking about becoming an egg donor and have plans to travel to an area where Zika is present, please reconsider.
Fortunately, many of our best candidates are extremely driven and will commit to whatever it takes to give another person a chance to have a family of their own.
Initially, the opportunity draws many egg donors because of the compensation, but the women who are best qualified are highly driven by their altruistic desire to help others.
Can You Reapply To Be An Egg Donor?
If you’re considering becoming an egg donor, you may wonder if you can reapply if some agencies have rejected you in the past. The answer depends on the reasons for the rejection and the policies of the fertility clinic or agency you’re working with.
You may be eligible to reapply if what disqualified you was a medical condition for which you have since had treatment. For example, if the rejection was because you had a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but have since had treatment and was cleared, you may reapply.
However, if the cause of the rejection was a genetic condition, or because you have a family history of a genetic condition, you probably cannot reapply. If the clinic turned you down because of a lifestyle reason, such as smoking or being overweight, you might reapply if you change your habits.
For example, if the agency or clinic denied you because you smoked cigarettes, you would need to quit smoking for at least six months before reapplying. If the rejection was because you were overweight, you would need to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight for at least six months before reapplying.
The policies of the fertility clinic or agency you’re working with will also play a role in whether you can reapply.
Some clinics and agencies have strict policies that do not allow donors to reapply, regardless of the reason for the initial rejection. Others may be more flexible and allow donors to reapply after a certain period, such as six months or one year.
If you’re considering becoming an egg donor, it’s important to research the policies of the fertility clinic or agency you’re working with before applying. This will help you understand their eligibility requirements and whether you’ll be able to reapply if you’re initially rejected.
How To Increase Your Chance Of Becoming An Egg Donor
If you are concerned, it may disqualify you from being an egg donor, the good news is that most times, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that may help.
Such changes may include:
- consumption of a healthy diet and exercise moderately to reach your ideal BMI;
- control on your drug, alcohol, or nicotine use;
- abstaining from smoking, drinking, and drug use for at least a year before you apply as a donor;
- avoiding getting a tattoo or piercing; and
- choosing a compatible contraceptive with egg donation.
Regarding the last tip, you can speak with your doctor about it, as, during the donor cycle, you will take medication that makes you extremely fertile. You need to know exactly how you can keep yourself from becoming pregnant during this period. Often, you will need to remain abstinent for around a two-week period before retrieval.
Start Sharing The Wonderful Gift Of Life
Egg donation is a selfless act that can change lives, and we are so grateful for those who choose to do it. By sharing your eggs, you can help bring new life into the world and make a vast difference in someone’s life like helping infertile couples have children.