Frequently Asked Questions

Frozen Donor Egg and Egg Banks
What’s the difference between donating through an egg bank and a donor egg agency? »

Locations

Where are you located? »

Why am I required to live within two hours of the monitoring sites? »

Will I have to travel frequently? »

Application and Qualifications

What are the requirements to become an egg donor? »

Why are the egg donor requirements so strict? »

How do I apply? »

Why is BMI important? »

Are ethnic donors or donors with higher education degrees compensated more? »

Why do I need to provide three-generations of medical history? »

What  if I don’t have medical information on both sides of my family? »

Will tattoos disqualify me? »

What does a “clean” family history mean? »

Can I donate if I am pregnant or am breastfeeding?  »

Can I be on birth control while donating? »

What if I’m using an IUD or a contraceptive implant? Can I donate? »

What if I’m on Depo Provera? Can I donate? »

If I had my tubes tied, am I eligible to donate?  »

Compensation

How am I compensated for donations? »

Do I need to be matched to a recipient in order to be compensated? »

How many times can I donate? »

Screening and Monitoring Process

What does the entire egg donation process look like? »

How long does the entire process take? »

What do monitoring appointments involve? »

What do the medical tests involve? »

Will I have to pay for my own testing and screening appointments? »

Egg Donation Procedure

How do you get the eggs out? »

Risks and Side Effects

Will I be in pain? »

What are the risks involved? »

What are the side effects of medications? »

Will donating eggs deplete my own egg supply? »

Will this have any effect on my own fertility? »

Does egg donation cause ovarian cancer? »

Will I regret becoming an egg donor? »

What if complications occur and I need medical treatment? »

Referral Program

What is the referral program? »

How much can I earn as a referrer? »

Who is eligible to refer a donor? »

What if I’m not a donor – can I still refer someone and earn a bonus? »

Anonymity and Legality

Will I get to meet the parents or any donor-conceived children? »

What is an ID Option donor? »

How should I choose between being an anonymous or ID option donor? »

Do I bear any responsibility to children that result from my donated eggs?  »

What are the legalities of egg donation? »

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Frozen Donor Eggs and Egg Banks

You mention you’re an egg bank, not an egg donor agency. What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Egg donor agencies deal with fresh egg donations, while egg banks like us deal with frozen donor eggs.

If you choose to become a fresh egg donor, there is no guarantee you will be matched with a recipient, but once you are matched, then you would need to sync the medical process with the recipient of your eggs – which means you have much less control over timing, traveling, and the overall egg donation process. Ultimately, what this means is that you run the risk of not being compensated for your time and services if you are never matched with a donor egg recipient.

If you choose to be an egg bank donor, however, you would go through a much easier and stress-free process, since:

  • Once accepted into the program, you can donate right away and are compensated right after you complete a donation
  • You won’t deal with traveling woes since you can donate locally
  • Upon approval, you can donate more than once, and:
    • You can do so at your own convenience up to 6 times (with full compensation each time)
    • You’ll feel more comfortable with the medical team, since you’ll work with the same team each time you donate

To learn more about the differences between the frozen donor egg and fresh donor egg process, read our blog Fresh or Frozen Egg Donation? What Does it Mean for You, the Egg Donor.

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Locations

Where are you located?

We have locations in Fairfax, Virgnia; Towson, Maryland (for monitoring only); Austin, Texas; Dallas/Frisco, Texas; Several locations in The Greater Salt Lake City area in Utah; Tucson, Arizona; Phoenix, Arizona; Irvine, California; and San Francisco, California. View the locations on a map here.

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Why am I required to live within two hours of the monitoring sites?

During the course of an egg donation cycle, you will be required to come in for approximately 6-8 appointments to monitor you and your progress during the donation cycle. These monitoring appointments will take approximately 30 minutes.

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Will there be any flying or long-distance travel involved?

No. Egg banks like ours are different from traditional egg donor agencies, where donors are often required to travel far to the recipients’ IVF clinic for the egg retrieval procedure. You will be able to undergo every part of the donor egg process locally in a city near you. The exception is for donors who live in or near Towson, Maryland – donors will have to travel to Fairfax, VA for their egg donation procedure. Learn other benefits of donating through a donor egg bank here.

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Application and Qualifications

Who is eligible to become an egg donor?

You can learn our general egg donor requirements here.

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Why are the egg donor requirements so strict?

We receive thousands of applicants every month, and less than .5% of applicants are accepted into the program. The screening process is very rigorous – we want to make sure donors are healthy to avoid medical complications and are emotionally ready to donate. We also want to make sure our recipients, who have dealt with tremendous heartache from infertility and have accepted that they can’t conceive using their own eggs, are getting the best possible chance they can get at conceiving a healthy baby through the help of our egg donors.

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How do I apply?

The first step in becoming an egg donor is to fill out our initial online application and submit 2-3 current photos of yourself. If you meet the basic requirements of our program, you will be asked to fill out our full application. This will include three generations of family medical and personal history. If your application is approved by our Clinical Geneticist, you will be contacted to schedule an initial interview. At this time, we will educate you on all aspects of participation and answer any questions you may have about our egg donor program.

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Why is BMI important?

Our BMI restrictions are in place to protect the safety of the donor. As a general rule, we don’t accept donors with BMI’s outside of 18-27. Not because of superficial reasons, but because if a donor is too overweight or underweight, they’re at a higher risk for medical complications. So, we are looking out for the health and the success of the donor more than anything. We realize BMI isn’t always the best indicator of a “healthy weight” and that there are many people who won’t be at risk outside the 18-27 range, but it is the standard in the health industry. To read more about the importance of BMI level, click here.

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Why do you measure BMI? BMI is an unfair indicator of my weight.

If there is a better formula to use in the future, we surely do hope to use it. Unfortunately, we receive thousands of applications come in each month, and BMI is the most reliable and efficient formula we could use to sift through all of our applicants; to manually evaluate each application one-by-one is an impossibility. With that said, our BMI restrictions are in place to protect the safety of the donor. As a general rule, we don’t accept donors with BMI’s outside of 18-27, because medical evidence shows they’re at a higher risk for medical complications. To learn more, about why BMI matters, click here.

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Are ethnic minorities or those with higher education degrees compensated more?

No. We do not pay more or less based on the level of education or ethnic background of the donor. We do actively encourage eligible women of all ethnic backgrounds and mixes thereof to apply. Infertility unfortunately affects everyone, and there are many recipients in need of an egg donor.

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Why do I need to provide three generations of medical history?

We require three-generation medical histories for every single donor so that we understand any serious genetic conditions that can potentially be passed on to offspring. Donor recipients are going through a tremendous amount of stress during their infertility journey, and accepting that they could only conceive via a donor can be especially challenging. That is why we try to do everything we can to ensure they have a healthy child when they make the brave decision to use a donor.

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What if I don’t have medical information on both sides of my family?

We understand that it can be challenging to obtain information on your parents and grandparents on both sides of your family, especially if you are adopted, donor-conceived, or were raised by a single parent. However, this information is necessary since we need a comprehensive understanding of genetic dispositions you and any subsequent donor-conceived children may have. If you cannot supply this information, unfortunately you will not be able to move forward into our program.

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Will tattoos disqualify me from donating eggs?

Tattoos do not disqualify anyone, but donors must have received them under sterile conditions. The FDA enforces this requirement, mandating that applicants not be at increased risk for infectious diseases being transmitted through unsterile needles.

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What does a “clean” family history mean?

There are many facets to reviewing a donor’s history. We understand no one individual or family has a completely “clean” family history. We expect your usual family health issues. We are mainly concerned about inherited diseases or genetic disorders. We require three generations of family history, which will be reviewed by our geneticist. You may feel like you are listing a lot of history when completing the full application, however we are able to sift through what is pertinent history and what is “normal” history. We do not expect the donor to figure that out on her own.

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Can I donate eggs if I am pregnant or am breastfeeding?

No. You would need to be at least five months post-partum, be done with breastfeeding, and have at least two normal periods in order to be eligible.

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Can I be on birth control while donating eggs?

The only forms of contraception that we do not allow during your participation as an egg donor are Depo Provera, a hormonal IUD (Mirena) or Implanon/Nexplanon. You can continue to use birth control pills, the Patch, a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard) or Nuva Ring.

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What if I’m using an IUD or a contraceptive implant? Can I donate eggs?

If you’re using a hormonal IUD, such as Mirena or Skyla, or a contraceptive implant, such as Implanon or Nexplanon, you will not be able to participate as an egg donor. If you are accepted into our program based on the review of your application, you would need to agree to have the IUD or implant removed before we are able to begin the medical screening. This would need to be done through your own physician. You can choose to use another form of contraceptive such as birth control pills, the patch, Nuva Ring or a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard) while you’re in the program.

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What if I’m on Depo Provera? Can I donate eggs?

If you are accepted into our program based on the review of your application, you would need to agree to discontinue use of Depo Provera. You may choose to use another form of contraceptive such as birth control pills, the patch, Nuva Ring or a non-hormonal IUD (Paraguard). In addition, if you choose to discontinue using Depo Provera in order to participate with us, we would need to wait until you have two consecutive menstrual cycles before we can begin the medical screening. This can take anywhere from a month to a year, depending on the person.

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What if I had my tubes tied or use Essure? Can I donate eggs?

Yes. You will still be able to donate.

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Compensation

How am I compensated for egg donations?

Due to the dedication, time and effort required by participation in the donor egg program, you will be adequately compensated for each donation cycle you complete. Donors receive $200 upon completion of the initial medical screening tests and an additional $300 upon acceptance into the program. They will also receive generous compensation (compensation varies according to location) at the conclusion of each completed egg donation cycle. We encourage you to donate multiple times, but will always be in close contact with you after each cycle to inquire about your interest for another cycle.

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Do I need to be matched to a recipient in order to be compensated?

We’re a frozen donor egg bank, so the compensation process is different from a typical egg donor agency. There’s no waiting to be matched to a couple or recipient. Once donors are accepted to our program, they are able to cycle immediately and get compensated quickly.

To learn more about the process as an egg donor in a frozen donor egg program, read our blog Fresh or Frozen Egg Donation? What Does it Mean for You, the Egg Donor.

How many times can I donate?

Per ASRM guidelines, the governing body of reproductive medicine, we allow donors to cycle up to 6 times in their lifetime. Typically, donors donate several times. The success of previous cycles along with the donor’s volition determine how often the egg donor will ultimately donate.

What do monitoring appointments involve?

When you are in for a morning monitoring appointment, we will first draw your blood to assess your hormone levels. Following the blood draw, we will evaluate your ovaries using an ultrasound. This ultrasound will show us how your follicles are growing and help us evaluate what dosage of medication to give you that evening. We may have you come in after 3 or 4 nights of medication toward the beginning of the cycle but nearing the end we will plan on you being in every day or every other day. The donation cycle usually lasts for 10-14 days and we will give you an approximate calendar to follow. You will be called or emailed every day you are in for monitoring to be given the dosage of medication to take that night as well as to confirm your next appointment.

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Screening and Monitoring Process

What does the entire egg donation process look like?

Learn the process here.

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How long does the entire process take?

From when you complete the long-form questionnaire to when you finish a cycle, the average time span is about six months.

For the egg donation cycle itself, the process is approximately 2 months, with the first month predominately dedicated to simply taking birth control pills. It consists of 3 main stages:

  • 2 to 3 weeks of birth control pills
  • An average of 8 to 10 days of stimulation via self-administered subcutaneous injections and in-office morning monitoring appointments
  • A ~1-2 hour outpatient egg retrieval procedure (though you’ll be required to take the entire day off)

Your period will resume 1-2 weeks after the egg retrieval.

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What do the medical tests involve?

You will be required to have a physical and pelvic exam, infectious disease testing, genetic screening including a chromosome analysis, and a psychological evaluation including a psychological health history and an evaluation of your comfort level with the donor egg program. The genetic and infectious disease testing is very extensive and implements the most advanced technology available today. All appointments will be arranged for you or performed on site at one of our affiliated clinics.

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Will I have to pay for my own testing and screening appointments?

No. We cover all testing and screening costs for your health screening which provides valuable information about your health and genetic history, regardless if you are accepted into our program or not. The exceptions are if the donor receives a pap smear and is required to pay for the co-insurance or medical visit, or if the donor has to pay her academic institution to obtain transcripts.

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How do you get the eggs out?

After approximately 8-12 days of medication and appointments, you will undergo the egg retrieval. The egg retrieval procedure is the only time throughout the egg donation process where you’ll need to devote the entire day to the process. The egg retrieval is an outpatient procedure that will take place at our partnering fertility center; once you arrive, you will be placed under twilight sedation, where you’ll be unconscious but breathing on your own. Once you are comfortably asleep, a reproductive endocrinologist will aspirate your eggs with a vaginal needle under ultrasound guidance. The egg retrieval procedure is very quick; it typically takes about 15-20 minutes.  After the egg retrieval is complete, you will rest for about an hour before you are released to go home. You will need a friend, significant other, or family member to drive you home since you’ll be considered legally intoxicated, even if the twilight sedation is wearing off. Afterwards, the most common symptoms are cramping, spotting and bloating – you’ll want to relax for the remainder of the day. Most donors are able to resume normal activity the very next, with minimal to no side effects.

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Risks and Side Effects

Will I be in pain?

Administering self-injections is not necessarily an enjoyable experience. However, the needles are very thin and small, and most donors find the experience get easier each time they have to administer another shot. For the actual egg retrieval, you won’t feel anything since you’ll be asleep under conscious sedation. You’ll also take pain medication during the egg donation procedure to further protect you. Once you wake up, you’ll probably feel a little groggy. You may also feel cramping and bloating, similar to what you may feel during a menstrual cycle. Tylenol is typically sufficient to quell any discomfort. Most donors are able to resume normal activity and return to work/school the next day. In summary, each individual should consider her own pain tolerance, as this can vary widely from person to person. We’ve seen Youtube videos of donors explaining their experience, so we’d encourage you to check some of them out. For further information, check out our blog How Painful is Egg Donation?

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What are the risks involved?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. You will have an opportunity to discuss the potential risks with a clinician during your screening processThe following risks are ones that you should consider:

    • Pregnancy: It is possible that not all of the eggs will be retrieved and therefore, donors are at a high risk for pregnancy for a period of time after the egg retrieval. We ask that donors practice abstinence during this time. Donors should always use protection if having intercourse at any time during participation.
    • Infection: The risk of infection from egg retrieval is less than 1%. To lower the risk of possible infection even further, donors will be instructed to take an antibiotic for several days following the retrieval.
    • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): Occasionally excess fluid from the ovaries will transfer into the abdominal cavity causing moderate to severe bloating. If a significant amount of fluid is present, it will be removed in a procedure very similar to the egg retrieval and IV fluids are given in replacement. In mild to moderate cases of OHSS, the fluid is slowly reabsorbed over the course of several days. Approximately 1-3% of women will experience significant OHSS. In order to reduce this risk, donors may be given different medications or a change in protocol to help eliminate or significantly decrease the risk of donors having OHSS.
    • Ovarian Torsion: Very rarely the ovary can twist on itself causing a sudden onset of severe pain on one or both sides. The risk of ovarian torsion is less than 1%. For a period of time, donors are asked to discontinue activities such as running, moderate to high impact aerobic activity, horseback riding and strenuous lifting to further decrease this risk.

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What are the side effects of the medications?

The medications utilized during a donation cycle are generally well tolerated.  If you were to experience side effects, they may include bloating, moodiness, cramping, aching, PMS-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, hot flashes or breast tenderness.

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Will donating eggs deplete my own egg supply quicker?

Donating eggs will not deplete your own egg supply quicker. Every cycle, about 15-20 eggs mature inside follicles. However, usually only one follicle reaches maturity and release an egg for ovulation; the rest stop growing and are discarded by the body.

In an egg donation cycle, medications are given to fully develop all of the eggs that naturally mature in a cycle. Hence, we don’t take out any more eggs than what the body naturally puts out.

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Will this have any effect on my own fertility? Will I be able to have my own kids after donating eggs?

There are no studies that prove those who donate eggs are at increased risk for experiencing infertility issues. Plenty of our donors go on to becoming mothers or have more children after they donate. We understand you may see articles that try to prove otherwise in the media; however, please be aware that media hype tends to draw out negative donor egg experiences and that furthermore, these cases tend to lack proof of correlation – just because a donor experiences infertility later on in life, it doesn’t mean that the reason was because she donated her eggs.

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Does egg donation cause ovarian cancer?

There are no studies that show any link between egg donation and ovarian cancer. Per ASRM, the governing body of reproductive medicine, “Earlier reports from several decades ago suggested a link between ovarian cancer and the use of fertility medicines. However, more recent and well-done studies are reassuring and do not show this association.”

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Will I regret becoming an egg donor?

We provide counseling and deep interviews to make sure donors are emotionally prepared and confident enough to go through the process with appreciation rather than regrets – the last thing we want is for anyone to regret their decision. Egg donation isn’t for everybody but for those that do it, the experience can be extremely rewarding in that they’re changing the life of a couple or individual forever.Those that donate don’t really see it as creating their own child, they see it as passing off their genetic material. And for recipients, even if the child is conceived through egg donation, that child is every much still theirs. Ultimately, it’s not the DNA that counts, it’s the love.

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What if complications occur and I need medical treatment?

As an egg donor at Fairfax EggBank, you will be covered under supplemental insurance in addition to any existing health insurance you have. Your health is paramount to us, and we will cover the medical costs should the rare event happen where you experience complications as a result of being an egg donor.

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What is the egg donor referral program?

If you become an accepted donor at Egg Donor Central, you will become eligible to participate in our Referral Rewards Program. Through this program, we will offer compensation of up to $1,000 for each new egg donor you refer. There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make!

It’s pretty simple: just pass this web form along to your friends and ask them to complete the form on the bottom. If your referred egg donor is accepted into our egg donor program, you’ll receive $50. Then, you’ll receive a $950 referral bonus after she completes her first egg retrieval.

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How much can I earn as a referrer?

There is no limit to the number of referrals you can make! If your referred egg donor is accepted into our egg donor program, you’ll receive $50. Then, you’ll receive a $950 referral bonus after she completes her first egg retrieval.

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Who is eligible to refer a donor?

Fairfax EggBank donors are eligible to refer other friends.

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What if I’m not a donor – can I still refer someone and earn a bonus?

We encourage you to refer her/them, though the compensation structure is different. Please e-mail us to learn more information.

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Anonymity and Legality

Will I get to meet the parents who use my donated egg or any donor-conceived children?

No. We do not offer an open egg donation program. You will not receive information on who uses your donor eggs, and recipients will also not receive personal information on donors they use. An exception is if the donor chooses to become an ID Option egg donor, where the donor-conceived will receive the option to contact their donor once he/she reaches the age of 18. Learn more about this program here.

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What is an ID Option donor?

At Fairfax EggBank and Egg Donor Central, we’ve launched our ID Option Donor Program. Here’s a quick rundown about how it works:

  • An egg donor may choose to be anonymous or ID Option.
  • If an egg donor chooses the ID Option, she agrees to allow us to release her identity and contact information only to the donor-conceived child, not the recipients of donor eggs, once that child reaches the age of 18 and requests the information.
  • The recipients of the donated eggs decide whether they want to choose an anonymous or ID Option donor. Even if recipients choose an ID Option donor, they may still choose for the donor to remain anonymous.
  • Once choosing to be an ID Option or anonymous donor, the donor may not change her mind as this may be an important factor to recipients.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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Do I bear any responsibility to children that result from my donated eggs?

No. You will not be legally bound to any donor-conceived children. Should you be diagnosed with any serious medical issue that may be genetic, however, we do mandate that you contact us.

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What are the legalities of egg donation?

You assume no responsibility or liability for any child conceived by your donation. Likewise, you will have no rights to any child conceived by your donation.

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