All egg donor programs have age restrictions, but most don’t explain the reasoning behind this requirement. This leads many to ask us – how old do you have to be to donate eggs or what’s the oldest you can be to safely donate eggs?
We seek healthy young women between the ages of 19 and 31 to donate eggs to hopeful families. This age range (give or take a year or two) is common to donor egg banks as well as egg donor agencies around world. It’s not for superficial reasons and it’s not age discrimination! Egg donor age restrictions are important to the success of donor egg recipients — and the well-being of our egg donors.
Let’s be real: donating your eggs is a big commitment that takes a lot of time and responsibility. First of all, the testing and screening process takes effort. You have to submit an egg donor application which asks for extremely detailed medical history, not only for yourself but your whole family including your grandparents. You also have to go through a complete medical exam, blood tests and genetic screening.
We also screen for emotional and psychological readiness to become an egg donor and donate eggs. We make sure you understand what’s involved, what it means for you. We also want to make sure you are prepared to work with the doctors and staff during the egg donation process, which can take six to eight weeks. We also assess if you are able to fit egg donation in around work, school, and family responsibilities. If you can give yourself medications and go to daily appointments. Once the process starts, we need to know if you are able to see it through to completion. We need to be sure that you can not only handle all of this physically, but emotionally as well. We support our egg donors through every step of the process but donating eggs is a very personal experience.
The end goal is a selection of healthy eggs that will help dreams come true for those coping with the inability to have a family of their own. We also want to make sure that our egg donors can take charge of their own health. All of this takes a certain level of maturity and responsibility. In our experience, 19 is the minimum age than can consistently take on the challenges and commitments of being an egg donor.
At the other end of the spectrum, you might think that 31 is a bit young for a maximum age. After all, don’t women over that age have children every day?
That’s true, they do. Every woman is different, of course! However, for the most part, the number of and quality of a woman’s eggs begin to go down in her early 30’s. Many women who pursue IVF with donor eggs are doing so because they suffer from infertility due to age-related issues. A woman is born with her set amount of eggs, 1 to 2 million at birth, and by the time she reaches menopause, that number naturally declines to several hundred. It is important to understand Women do not produce “new” eggs, they just release a set number of eggs per menstrual cycle that are either fertilized or discarded by the body with the monthly period. There’s also a higher risk of chromosomal problems with eggs of women over 30 that can lead to birth defects.
IVF with donor eggs is an expensive treatment, often coming after an emotionally draining journey through years of other fertility treatments. To have better odds of IVF success, a couple may need to fertilize and implant many eggs. As an egg bank, our job is to make sure that those who receive our donor eggs are getting the best eggs possible. We also have to make sure that they receive a certain number (or a cohort) of healthy eggs from the same donor. So medically speaking, age does matter when it comes to a woman’s eggs. Our goal is to provide our patients with the high quality and quantity of eggs, to ensure their success with IVF, so we take all of these factors into account.
Our age limits serve two goals: to make sure our egg donors are ready for this important responsibility, and to make sure those seeking donor eggs have the best chance for successful conception and pregnancy. We rely on our egg donors to help make family dreams come true. Still curious about what’s involved or want to learn more about the egg donation process? Check out our FAQs for egg donors or contact us.