Egg Donation FAQs
If you are thinking of donating eggs, you probably have many questions! Our Egg Donation FAQs offer answers to many common questions that potential egg donors often ask. You can also apply to become an egg donor or contact us if you need more information.
Why should I donate my eggs with Santa Monica Fertility and not another agency?
We are a unique egg donation agency in that we have everything here onsite. Typically, an egg donation agency is separate from the actual egg donation clinic, and egg donors will have to travel between multiple locations for their appointments. Here at Santa Monica Fertility, our clinicians do everything from completing the initial medical testing to performing the egg retrieval procedure itself on our premises. Unlike many other egg donation agencies and clinics, we pride ourselves on getting to know you as a person and not just as a donor. You are not just an anonymous number here. We know you by your first name, and you always see familiar and supportive faces when you walk in the door. You truly become a part of our Santa Monica Fertility family.
We are not a big egg donation agency that freezes eggs or engages in “egg banking”. When you are matched it means an Intended Parent has selected you as their donor. Other agencies may cycle and do the egg retrieval and freeze eggs. Here you will know you’re actually making someone’s dream come true.
We offer very competitive egg donation compensation starting at up to US $10,000 for first time donors. If you decide to donate eggs again (most donors do!), then compensation increases to US $12,000 and can go up from there, depending on a few factors. Sometimes, we can offer additional compensation if you need to travel a significant distance. We always strive to take care of our donors and to provide them with whatever they need. Here at Santa Monica Fertility, you have a strong, and unparalleled, support system.
How much money can I get for donating my eggs?
We compensate an egg donor with up to US $10,000 for completing a cycle for the first time. If you decide to donate eggs again, the compensation increases to $12,000. Egg donor compensation can increase beyond US $12,000 in certain cases.
How long does it take to donate eggs?
On average, an egg donation cycle lasts about eight weeks from start to finish. The hormone injections, which start about 2 weeks from the estimated egg retrieval, require the most effort on your part. Typically, our donors are on birth control during the initial period, while your assigned fertility nurse creates the cycle calendar. If you live out of state and are donating eggs for the first time, you will need to be monitored very closely by our medical team during the last 10 days of your egg donation cycle. This means that you will need to stay in LA for 7 to 10 days. Donating eggs does require a time commitment. If you have a full time job, or are in school, you need to make sure you can take time off prior to matching with intended parents
How many times can you donate eggs?
There are not any laws that determine the number of times a woman can donate eggs. However, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends no more than six donations in a woman’s lifetime.
How long do you have to wait between egg donations?
The health and wellbeing of our egg donors is our top priority. We have our donors rest for three to four months between egg donation cycles. This rest period helps ensure a comfortable egg donation experience for repeat egg donors.
Is egg donation painful?
Each egg donor’s experience will vary. However, our egg donors generally do not report any major pain during the process of donating eggs. Donors tend to report symptoms that mimic the symptoms of an intense menstrual cycle, such as cramping and bloating. Some egg donors report minor changes in mood; sometimes feeling more elevated and other times experiencing some irritability.
Will I need to meet the intended parents?
No. Our program is fully anonymous, and we work hard to protect the anonymity of our egg donors. We never share identifying information about the donor with the intended parents, and vice versa. The donor and the intended parents do not have phone calls, video chats or face-to-face meetings. The anonymity during the egg donation process helps create a comfortable and stress-free experience for the egg donor and the intended parents. Sometimes, a parent will give an anonymous gift or a card at the time of the donation to show their appreciation.
Will intended parents know who I am?
We only provide intended parents with your anonymous egg donor profile information and photos. We never share any identifying information about you. We do not even share your name. Unfortunately, due to advances in technology and DNA testing, we cannot guarantee that an egg donor’s identity will not be revealed in the future by a third party. We do our best to protect each egg donor’s anonymity, but we are not able to guarantee that an egg donor will remain anonymous forever.
Why do I need to come into the clinic several times before the egg retrieval?
You will self-administer a series of hormone injections during the 12-14 days before your egg retrieval appointment. During that time, our clinicians need to monitor you and your hormone levels. The monitoring process helps us ensure that your body is reacting appropriately to the medication and that you remain comfortable during the process. The monitoring process is for your safety.
What are the side effects of egg donation?
Although every donor is different, many egg donors report side effects such as gaining water weight, bloating and mood swings. Some donors report an elevated mood during the injection period and others some irritability. You can find out more about the egg donation medications and potential side effects on our dedicated page:
I have applied to become an egg donor, why can’t I see my profile in your database?
Our online egg donor database only features a limited number of profiles at a time. However, we keep many profiles on file to share with intended parents. Even though your profile may not be featured on our website, we do have your online application and profile information saved.
I registered with other egg donation agencies. Is this ok?
Yes! However, since we are actively promoting your profile to intended parents, we ask that you inform us if you donate with another agency. We want to be sure to respect a resting period of 3 to 4 months between egg donations. Also, telling us when you donate eggs elsewhere allows us to provide an up-to-date availability calendars to potential matches.
When will I get the egg donation compensation?
On the day you begin the initial medical screening process, you receive $100 screening fee. Once matched, you will receive the first $500 at the start of your injections and the remainder of your compensation on the day of the egg retrieval appointment. Some donors may receive separate compensation for longer commutes, and we will give that compensation at the time of each visit.
Do I have to travel to donate eggs?
If you are local to the Los Angeles area, you will only need to travel to our Santa Monica clinic for each appointment. We’ll cover the cost of flights and accommodation for any egg donor who comes to us from an out-of-state, international or just non-commutable location. If you are not local to Los Angeles, a fertility clinic that is nearby your current address may need to monitor you prior to your egg retrieval procedure at our clinic in Santa Monica. However, we need to monitor out-of-state donors who are donating for their first time. Out-of-state, first-time donors will need to come to Santa Monica and stay for 7 to 10 days. This required time off can be a serious time commitment for you if you have a full-time job or school. Egg donors need to be sure that they can take this time off before accepting a match.
I am scared of needles. Can I still donate eggs?
We hear this all the time! Our medical assistants are very skilled at carrying out blood tests, and they aim to make the entire egg donation experience as comfortable as possible. For self-administered injections, your assigned nurse provides you with in-depth instructions on how to administer the injections. Additionally, we only use high quality needles that help ensure a comfortable process. Many egg donors who were initially scared of needles now laugh about their former fear of needles!
If I traveled to a Zika zone, can I still donate eggs?
Of course! However, we cannot start the egg donation process until six months after you have returned from a Zika zone.
If I had an STI (Chlamydia) two years ago, can I still donate eggs?
Yes. We only prohibit an egg donation if the egg donor had an STI within the last 12 months. This means that if you had an STI, you will need to wait 12 months from your successful STI treatment before you can donate eggs.
Are there any out of pocket expenses I will need to pay for by myself?
No. However, we do not provide gas reimbursement unless you travel a significant distance. So in most circumstances, you are responsible for your transportation to and from our clinic. All other expenses throughout your egg donation cycle are covered. If the egg donor lives at an out-of-state or international address, we will cover the cost of airfare, accommodation, meals, and other daily expenses.
Will I have to take time off from work or school to donate eggs?
The answer to this question depends on your schedule and availability. We are only open Monday through Friday, and any visits need to occur during normal business hours. However, we can sometimes schedule clinic visits as early as 7:00am to help fit appointments within your schedule.
During the two weeks leading up to the egg retrieval procedure, we need to see you 3 times per week. Additionally, you will need to take off the entire day for the egg retrieval appointment and the entire following day for rest. Accordingly, you will need to come in for about 6 to 10 appointments during your egg donation cycle. Egg Donors who live out-of-state need to stay in Santa Monica during the seven to ten days before the egg retrieval appointment.
I am on birth control, can I still donate eggs?
Yes! Note that a trained clinician will have to remove some birth control methods, such as a hormonal IUD or arm implant, before you begin an egg donation cycle. If you currently use such birth control methods and wish to become an egg donor, we will pay for a clinician to remove the implant and put it back in place when your egg donation process is complete. Other birth control methods may be compatible with egg donation, however, you may need to switch your birth control method to a standard birth control pill during your egg donation cycle.
Will I be put under general anesthesia during the egg retrieval procedure?
Although egg retrieval procedure is not considered to be a major surgery, you will not be awake to ensure you feel no discomfort. However, we don’t use general anesthesia. Instead, you will be sedated with an intravenous medication and the recovery time is only a few hours. You won’t be able to drive after the sedation therefore will need someone to drive you home that day.
What medication will I need to take?
Although the protocol and the dose of medication will vary from one egg donor to another, you can expect to take 4 different medications throughout the process of donating eggs. You will start with a standard birth control pill, followed by a self injectable Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH), GnRH Antagonists and hCG (the trigger shot).
We explain egg donor medications and possible side effects in detail on a dedicated page, please follow this link to learn more.
What are the requirements to donate eggs?
There are some basic egg donation criteria that you will need to meet in order to donate eggs with us here at Santa Monica Fertility. In general you will need to be in the age range of 20-29 years old, well and healthy and without any medical, psychological or genetic issues including but not limited to birth defects, intellectual disability, hereditary diseases that may run in your family. We are explaining all our egg donor qualifications in detail:
What screening will I have to go through to donate eggs?
The screening consists of a full consultation with our fertility specialist. During the consultation, you will discuss your medical background, family history and the egg donation process. Also, the doctor will perform a transvaginal ultrasound to take a look at your egg follicle count, which will give a good indication around the number of eggs that you may produce. Additionally, our clinicians will draw blood to test for infectious diseases and certain genetic indicators. You will then speak with a licensed genetic counselor and a psychologist, who will conduct your mental health evaluation.
Do I need to have health insurance to donate eggs?
No, it is not required for our egg donors to have health insurance. We’ll provide health insurance for you during your egg donation process.
How will I know how to inject myself with the medication?
Our skilled nurses will teach you by showing you the self-injection process step-by-step. When you come into the clinic, our nurses will use a dummy stomach to demonstrate the self-injection process. If you are out of state, the nurse will walk you through the process on the phone and send you helpful “how-to” videos.
Can I stay sexually active when donating eggs?
Yes. However, you must use protection at all times during the egg donation process.
How much does it cost to donate eggs?
Our egg donors will never have any out-of-pocket costs during the egg donation process; we cover all expenses, including the insurance, travel, accommodation and legal representation.
Is egg donation dangerous?
Egg donation is considered to be very safe so long as doctors who take care of egg donors are careful to not over-stimulate donors and cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS can be associated with abdominal swelling, pain, and the need for additional procedures. With attentive medical care, the risks of egg donation are very low. Although there are no good long-term studies on the safety of egg donation, the technology has been around for over 30 years with thousands of women donating eggs. Today, no consistent long-term risk factor has been identified.
Can donating eggs make you infertile?
Egg donation does not make a woman infertile. Women release a certain number of eggs every month, from which one egg ovulates and the rest die. During an egg donation cycle, we use hormones to rescue more of the eggs that would normally die. There is no additional loss of eggs from the egg donation process.
I am only 31 and healthy, why can’t I donate eggs with your egg donation program?
Eggs contain 46 chromosomes, 23 from each parent. Before an egg can be fertilized, it must discard 23 to make room for the sperm’s 23 chromosomes. As women age the egg has a tendency to discard the wrong number of chromosomes leading to abnormal embryos. Eggs make the least number of mistakes under the age of 30, making this the age cut-of for most egg donation programs.
What happens during the egg retrieval?
To retrieve eggs from the ovaries, we’ll pass a needle through the vagina directly into the ovary under ultrasound guidance. The procedure lasts approximately 20 minutes and is done under IV sedation so the egg donor feels no pain or discomfort.