How Is an Egg Bank Donor Chosen?
At the Donor Egg Bank at Santa Monica, we take great care to select the best candidates for egg donation. A potential egg bank donor must meet many strict requirements to be eligible to donate eggs for our patients. There are many steps to the screening process:
- Medical Assessment
- Evaluation of Reproductive Health
- Genetic Screening
- Drug and STD Testing
- Psychological Counseling
Below, you will find additional information about each step:
Overview of Medical Assessment for Egg Bank Donors
Each donor fills out a medical questionnaire with their personal and family medical history. The accuracy and completeness of this information is confirmed with a thorough examination by a physician and review of medical records (is there anything else I should add here?). Some of the more pertinent factors in the personal history of the donor include sexual practices, STDs and contraception, history of pregnancies, menstrual cycle regularity, medication use, smoking and alcohol use, surgeries and any physical limitations. Family medical history is focused on hereditary conditions, cancer, mental illness, and age of death among relatives of the donor.
One of the reasons that patients who select eggs from a donor egg bank have such an outstanding success rate for live births is because of the age and overall health of the donors. Young, healthy women have the highest quality eggs. Reproductive health is evaluated through examination of the reproductive organs and with blood tests to check hormone levels. Some donors may have been pregnant themselves in the past, thus confirming the ability to conceive from their eggs. Other donors have donated previously. Conception in previous egg donation cycles is considered a plus. For first-time donors, an assessment of their egg pool by measuring the resting egg count or the level of FSH allow the physician to assess whether the donor is likely to produce sufficient eggs.
The risk of genetic diseases varies based on ethnicity and family history. All potential donors undergo genetic tests to determine if they are the carriers of any inheritable diseases. In addition to ethnically directed genetic testing, all donors are tested for common causes of mental retardation and certain neurodegenerative disorders. Genetic testing of the frozen eggs is not performed due to the risk of damage. However, additional genetic tests may be safely performed on embryos prior to transfer.
Egg Bank Donor Drug Testing and STD Testing
The FDA requires STD testing to ensure the safety of all egg bank donated reproductive tissues. The communicable diseases screened for include:
- HIV I and II
- Hepatitis B and C
- Treponema pallidum (syphilis)
- Chlamydia trachomatis
- Neisseria gonorrhea
- HTLV I and II
In adherence to FDA regulations, egg donors are screened within 30 days of their egg retrieval date.
Psychological Counseling for Egg Bank Donors
One of the most important aspects of the egg donor assessment is ensuring the donor is confident about her participation in fertility treatment. An in-depth psychological evaluation helps ensure that each participant is fully aware of the risks and commitment associated with donation and is able to make an informed decision.
The young women who donate eggs to the Donor Egg Bank at Santa Monica are typically university students or recent graduates. Many learn about our program from someone who has already had a good experience being a donor. Each of our donors is motivated by a desire to assist other women in becoming mothers. Donors understand that, under current law, they will have no ownership of the eggs after donation.
The Recipient’s Role in the Selection of Egg Bank Donors
As prospective parents, you have the final say in what characteristics matter most to you in an egg donor. We maintain a database of complete donor profiles where you can view information such as:
- Donor photographs
- Medical and family history
- Educational background
- Likes, dislikes, hobbies, and personality traits
- Whether there are currently frozen eggs available from the donor
- The results of previous donation cycles (including live births and miscarriages)
This information may assist you in locating a donor who is an excellent match for your family.
Please contact our offices at (866) 991-1990 to learn more about our frozen egg bank program or to discuss potential selections.