About Egg Donation
Some women may not be able to conceive a child using their own oocytes (eggs). The reasons vary, but may include:
- premature menopause (premature ovarian failure)
- poor egg quality
- absence of the ovaries from birth
- previous chemotherapy
- previous ovarian surgery
- genetic issues
For these women, egg donation is a treatment option that may allow them to achieve and carry a healthy pregnancy. At RBA, our program can involve either a known egg donor (friend, family member, etc.) or an anonymous egg donor. In our anonymous egg donation program, the egg donor does not meet the recipient couple, no adult photographs are exchanged, and the donor will not know whether a pregnancy has resulted for the recipient.Reproductive Biology Associates established the first anonymous egg donation program in Georgia in 1992 and today the program is one of the largest in the Southeast.
Who Can Become an Egg Donor?
- RBA is looking for healthy women of all ethnic origins between 21 and 30 years of age. You must possess some form of higher education, above the high school level.
- At this time, we are seeking potential egg donors from within the state of Georgia. This is due to travel costs that may be incurred by the donor, which may be extensive due to multiple appointments during the screening and monitoring phases of the egg donation. At this time, RBA does not reimburse donors for their incurred travel costs.
- If you have lived in any of the below-mentioned countries, this may disqualify you from our egg donation program, according to the FDA:
||*United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands)
- *Note: If you have the sickle cell trait or are a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis, you will not be eligible for our program.
- You must have documentation of a social security number. If you possess a work or student visa, but not a social security number, you are not eligible for our program. If your social security card states valid for work only with DHS authorization, further investigation will be needed.
- The donor must be willing to complete a thorough screening process, at no charge, which includes screening for general and reproductive health, genetic history and psychological stability.
- Donors must meet our height/weight criteria (see chart below) to assure that the medications work optimally, be available for multiple morning appointments for screening and monitoring, and must have someone who can provide transportation and care for them on the day of the egg retrieval process.
The Egg Donation Process
- Each month during a woman's normal menstrual cycle, one mature follicle on the ovaries produces one mature egg, and several immature follicles are lost.
- During egg donation, the donor will be using injectable fertility medications that will stimulate the development of more than one egg. While the donor is on these medications, she will be monitored very closely with transvaginal ultrasounds and blood tests until the eggs are mature.
- Mature eggs are then retrieved from the follicles in a procedure called an "egg retrieval", and the eggs can then either be placed into the frozen donor egg bank or be donated to the recipient (a fresh cycle).
- The egg retrieval is done vaginally and there is no incision. The donor receives intravenous sedation through her arm during the retrieval and the procedure lasts about fifteen minutes. The donor spends a short amount of time in recovery and is then discharged home to rest for the afternoon. Most donors return to work/school the next day.
Reproductive Biology Associates acknowledges the time commitment involved in an egg donation cycle and upon completion of a cycle through egg retrieval, RBA offers $7,000 to the donor for a first-time donation. If a donor would like to pursue an additional donation cycle, and is cleared to donate again, the compensation increases, to a maximum of $8,000. RBA offers free fertility preservation through egg freezing for donors during their third donation. Many donors find the experience very rewarding and complete the maximum number of six donation cycles.
If you live or attend school in the Atlanta area and would like to give the gift of life, please contact the egg donation program at RBA at 404-843-0579 or toll free at 888-722-4483; email firstname.lastname@example.org or apply online at www.rba-online.com.
Egg Donor Testimonials
Being an egg donor with Reproductive Biology Associates was a great experience. The RBA staff takes great care of each individual and is available for any and all questions or concerns along the way. They take care of their patients! I feel as if I was adopted into a family. Once the process was complete, I knew I had fulfilled my small part in helping a couple make their dreams come true. It's a great feeling!
-Previous donor after first donation cycle
I am glad to know that I have helped someone else out- and helped myself at the same time. Going through the egg donation program has opened my eyes to appreciating what I have. I used to take for granted the fact that I am young and healthy. Now I am thankful that I am! Being healthy brought me the opportunity to help others in a way that many young women could help, but few follow through. Not only did I help, but the compensation was great. Also, RBA's referral program provides extra compensation for referring friends.
RBA has a class-act staff that is very professional, caring and happy. Not once did I ever feel uncomfortable with the donation process. I am not going to lie- it wasn't the easiest thing I have ever done, but the crampish-ish type of pain was easy compared to the emotional pain of a woman that might not be able to conceive with my or your help.
Once this donation cycle is finished, I will have donated for the sixth time. The compensation that I have received has helped with many things- school, small debt, a vehicle, etc. Not only do I feel good about the very small sacrifice I've made to help others, but I've been treated wonderfully and compensated well.
-Previous donor after fifth donation cycle
Becoming an egg donor changed my life. I was honored to be a part of something so special. It was my chance to help give someone their miracle. Reproductive Biology Associates was wonderful and treated me like a guest of honor throughout the entire process. I will always treasure the memory of my experience as an egg donor.
-Previous donor after first donation cycle
How do I get more information and begin the process of becoming an egg donor?
Application and Seminars
What can I expect as an applicant to RBA's donor program?
Women ages 21-30 years old are encouraged to apply to become an egg donor. Due to the increased interest in our donor program, we have changed the application process slightly. You can begin the process by:
- Filling out an application on-line. This is a preliminary information form. If you meet the initial criteria we are currently looking for, you will be contacted by a member of our egg donor program, via email or phone, and will receive via email the required paperwork to complete to the best of your knowledge and return to us. This paperwork includes:
Confidential Medical Questionnaire
Patient Registration Form
Photo Release Form
**We ask that you submit a nice, recent adult photograph (for use by our staff ONLY, for matching purposes) and strongly encourage you to also submit a childhood photograph (between 1-3 years of age) that can be shown to the prospective recipient and, with consent, be placed on our frozen donor egg bank website, if your eggs go into the bank. Only registered patients with RBA will have access to the childhood photograph on the website. We ask that no identifying information be written on the photographs. Recipients will NOT have access to the adult photograph.
Once we have reviewed your paperwork, if you meet the current criteria sought by our recipient couples, you will then be contacted and scheduled for your initial appointment.
Initial Donor Screening
How is the donor screening done?
Donors are screened according to criteria established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Call RBA between the hours of 8:30am-3:30pm at 404-843-0579 with the first day of your menstrual cycle. We will schedule an appointment for bloodwork and ultrasound within the first three days of your menstrual cycle. If your period starts on a weekend, call on Monday. If you are on other forms of birth control, please call to determine when to schedule bloodwork.
The remaining steps to the screening process are:
- An interview with a genetic counselor
- A consultation and physical exam with one of the RBA physicians
- Infectious Disease testing, vaginal cultures, and other bloodwork
- A psychological consult and testing
The total amount of time spent in the screening process is approximately six to eight weeks. This time is not compensated. All testing is paid for by Reproductive Biology Associates and is NOT the responsibility of the donor. If you pass the screening process, you are then eligible to become part of our egg donor program.
Once it has been determined that your eggs are needed, you will be contacted by our staff to initiate the donation process. You will either be matched with a recipient couple (fresh cycle) or be cycled through to the frozen egg bank, where your eggs will be frozen and used at a later time by a recipient couple. An appointment will be made to teach you how to administer the injectable medications you will need to take. The injections are relatively easy and painless and the needles are quite small.
How exactly does RBA get my eggs?
Once the process begins, our staff will ask you to start taking birth control pills to regulate your cycle. Alternatively, you may be asked to start taking an injectable medication called "Lupron". Both pills and Lupron allow us to control the timing of the stimulation phase of the cycle. In some cases, cycle control will not be necessary and the donor will not need either the pill or Lupron. It is based on the specific situation.
Once a start date for stimulation has been chosen by our staff, you will be asked to stop the pill on a specific date or adjust your Lupron dose. On the first day of stimulation, you will take injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). FSH is taken twice daily in most cases. Donors on Lupron will still take their Lupron during the stimulation phase. Donors who were on the pill will start a second injectable medication called Ganirelix on either the 5th, 6th or 7th day of stimulation.
Donors will visit one of our offices for bloodwork and ultrasound six to nine times in a ten to thirteen day period to assess the growth of their eggs. Once the eggs appear mature, donors will take one final injection to ripen their eggs and mkae them suitable for retrieval. Thirty-six hours after this final injection, you will come to our office on the sixth floor where you will undergo a minor procedure to remove the eggs.
Eggs are captured with a suction device attached to a vaginal ultrasound probe. The device allows us to both see the ovaries and safely insert a needle into them through the vagina so that we can remove the eggs. The procedure is done under light sedation and you will not feel the procedure while it is underway. After egg retrieval some donors feel mild discomfort that resolves typically within a day. Once the eggs are removed they belong to either the recipient couple or our frozen egg bank and will be provided to one or more recipients.
What happens then?
Donors are generally ready to resume normal activity the day after egg collection. Two weeks later, donors return for a brief check-up to be sure they remain in good health. At this appointment they are compensated for their time.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Egg Donation Process
Why is there a height/weight criteria?
The medications that are administered work best in average weight individuals.
Can you donate your eggs if your tubes are tied?
Yes, you can donate your eggs even if your tubes are tied. The fallopian tubes are not involved in the retrieval process, just the ovaries.
Does donating my eggs affect my ability to have children in the future?
No, these drugs do not affect your future fertility.
How long does the screening process take, and how quickly does it take for you to find me a match?
The screening process typically takes about one to two months, and you should be matched within a one to two month time frame.
How often do I need to come in for monitoring (lab work and ultrasound appointments)?
You will need to come in for approximately six to nine days in a row until your eggs have fully matured.
How long do the monitoring appointments last, and what times can I come in for appointments?
The appointments can last anywhere from thirty minutes to one hour, depending on how many patients are ahead of you. We offer appointments between 7:00a.m.- 11:30a.m., with the exception of a few appointments that need to be made later in the morning.
Can I monitor at one of your satellite offices?
Yes, we allow donors to monitor for most of their appointments at our Lawrenceville and Alpharetta offices.
How many times can I donate my eggs?
You are eligible to donate up to six times in a lifetime, as long as you have been approved by our embryologist to return for additional donation cycles.
Does the egg retrieval process hurt, and how soon after can I return to work?
You will receive light IV sedation during the egg retrieval process, but you may have some discomfort afterwards. Every person has a different experience. Most individuals are able to return to work the next day, and others may need an additional day to recover from the procedure.
If the process is anonymous and the recipient couple does not see my adult photo, why do I submit one?
The adult photo that is submitted with your profile is used ONLY by the egg donor program team to match your physical characteristics with that of the potential recipient. The recipient usually desires a donor with similar physical attributes.
If you believe you meet the requirements for Reproductive Biology Associate's Egg Donation Program, fill out the Donor Application and send it in now. You could make an important difference in another woman’s life.