Becoming an Egg Donor

If you want to become an Egg Donor, please fill in the Egg Donor Enquiry Form. Thank you.

Becoming an egg donor

There are an increasing number of women who, for many different reasons, need donor eggs in order to conceive. The sad truth is that many of these women may never get the opportunity to undertake treatment due to the shortage of donors. We are working to find donors, and when you think of the immense impact that successful treatment can have on the lives of an infertile couple, you will understand why, as a potential donor, you are so important and so very special.

We need people who are prepared to make the effort to help someone in need and we will support you in every way – to the maximum extent possible. Women who require an egg donation do not have any other way of conceiving and have to face long waiting times. Age is crucial and for some of these women the waiting time is just too long. If you decide to become an egg donor, you will have the opportunity to help one of these women bring a new life into the world and a new light into their lives.

Stage 1 - Online Enquiry Form

If you are considering becoming an egg donor, then the first step is to complete the online enquiry form. Sadly, not every applicant is eligible to become an egg donor – this form has been designed to give our team enough information to assess your enquiry. Our Egg Donation team will assess the information provided on your form to ensure that there are no obvious medical reasons why you should not donate.

Stage 2

Once we have reviewed your form, we will contact you to seek additional information and ask you to give us permission to write to your GP allowing us to establish that there is no medical reason why you cannot donate your eggs. We send the signed form to your GP and ask whether there are any medical reasons why you should not become an egg donor. For your safety, we will also ask your GP to provide details of your recent cervical smear and we will ask him to perform a breast examination for you.

Stage 3 – visit 1

We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to GENNET City Fertility and, at the Initial Consultation, the Fertility Specialist will explain the treatment programme, the procedures involved in egg donation and assess your suitability to become an egg donor. The doctor will also give you essential information about the treatment itself and the potential risks and complications associated with it.

UK regulations prohibit payment for egg donation, however, it does allow us to ‘for all reasonable costs incurred including your travel expenses and any other direct costs such as childcare, up to a maximum of £750 per donation cycle. All the medical consultations and tests you require are free, as is Implications Counselling. We will advise you about the reimbursement when you visit GENNET City Fertility.

In order to make sure that you can be a donor under HFEA guidelines, we need to take into consideration your family history, to confirm there are no genetic inherited disorders that might risk the welfare of the future child born as a result of donor conception. Your health and safety is of paramount importance to us. We need all relevant medical information to be able to prevent potential risks and complications during your donation cycle. Therefore, you will be asked detailed questions about your familial background and about your general health as well. You will also be advised of the genetic tests that we will run at a later stage in this procedure.

Initial Blood Tests - Your preliminary health check enables us to determine whether you could become a donor as it gives us information about your current reproductive health. You will be tested for FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinising Hormone), Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and Oestradiol (E2). These tests are performed between days 2-5 of your cycle. Day 1 is the first day of your menstrual bleed.

If you are currently taking an oral contraceptive pill, we will determine according to the ultrasound finding whether you need to stop and have those hormones assessed. If you are using contraceptive devices such as the Mirena or Coil it may remain in situ. If you are using implant or depot contraceptive, you will need to stop. The blood test will then be performed on your second period after stopping the use of these types of contraceptives. Please only use barrier methods of contraception during testing and donation.

Screening Blood Tests - This part of the selection process is very important from health, safety and regulatory viewpoints as it finally confirms your suitability for the programme and meets the requirements laid down by the HFEA. We will perform several blood and urine infectious disease screening tests.

Detailed Ultrasound Scan with Antral Follicle Count (AFC) - An internal ultrasound scan is performed in order to make sure that your reproductive organs are structurally normal, both ovaries can be seen and are healthy and to count the developing follicles (antral) on each of the ovaries. We will also measure blood flows to uterine arteries and ovaries as this would provide us with more information about their function. The antral follicle count in fertile women is between 16-20 follicles. The scan is ideally performed in the early follicular phase of the cycle between days 2 – 6 of the menstrual cycle (same appointment as initial bloods).

Stage 4 – visit 2

Once all of the above mentioned tests are available and found normal, you will be called to the clinic for the next step – genetic tests. These are blood tests and include Chromosome Analysis and Cystic Fibrosis, but other genetic tests may be required, according to personal circumstances (e.g. thalassemia in donors of Mediterranean background, Sickle cells anaemia for donors of African background, Tay-Sacs, Nieman-Pick, Goucher Disease in donors of Jewish Ashkenazi origin etc).

Counselling is mandatory at GENNET City Fertility for anyone who wishes to become a donor. It is a very important part of the egg donation process and it is a requirement of the HFEA that all donors have the opportunity to receive implications counselling. If you are married or have a partner, it is important that you are together for a counselling session which lasts approximately 1 hour. GENNET City Fertility’s Counsellor, Victoria Allen, is highly qualified and fully accredited with specific fertility counselling training. You will be able to share any thoughts or concerns, ask questions and explore your feelings thoroughly. The counsellor may introduce ideas and issues that had not yet occurred to you and assist you towards the important decision about becoming a donor, if you and your partner agree it is the right thing to do.

Once all the results are available we will start looking for a suitable recipient. This is usually very quick since the waiting list for donors is lengthy. Once the recipient is available we will synchronize your cycle. You might be required to use a contraceptive pill in the cycles before for easier timing of the treatment. You will have a nurse planning consultation and the process will be explained to you in full.

The treatment is based on retrieving eggs from your ovaries and later fertilizing them with the recipient’s partners’ sperm. The fertilised eggs are incubated for 1 – 6 days and then transferred into the recipient womb (uterus).

Stimulation - The chances of obtaining one or more good quality embryos with the highest implantation potential are related to the number of mature eggs recovered from the ovaries. Therefore, one of the goals of the treatment is to obtain a larger number of eggs than is released in a natural cycle.

Retrieval of Eggs - The retrieval is usually conducted under sedation. The procedure is usually performed by vaginal approach, under ultrasound guidance. You will recover in the comfort of your own dedicated room at GENNET City Fertility until you are able to go home.

The safety of the donors is very important to us, and we use mild (low intensity) stimulation protocols in order to minimise the risks and make the treatment as smooth and easy for you as possible. We also take care to closely monitor your cycle, so we can take preventive measures to avoid the risk of hyper stimulation (OHSS).

FAQ - Donor Program

WHO NEEDS YOUR HELP?

We need egg donors in order to be able to treat women who can no longer produce their own eggs. It may be that they have lost their ovaries due to cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or that they are suffering from early menopause. We also use egg donation to help women who are at risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder to avoid the birth of children with a disability, deformity, long-term illness or a short and painful lifespan.

WHO CAN BECOME AN EGG DONOR?

You have to be fit and healthy and aged between 18 and 36 at the time of the donation. It is important that your periods are normal as this indicates that your hormone levels are within the normal range. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) level must not exceed 30 kg/m2. You should not have any personal history of transmissible infection and there must be no personal or family history of inheritable disorders. You are unable to donate if you are adopted. Donor anonymity – It is important to be aware that at the time of donation, the donor is anonymous, i.e. you will not meet or know the recipient. However, since April 2005, identifying information about donors is held on the HFEA Register and may be given to any child born from donation once they are 18 years old, including:

  • Donor’s full names (and any previous names)
  • Date of birth, and town or district where born
  • Last known postal address (or address at time of registration)

Resulting children will have access to the following information about the donor (if the donor has provided it) from the age of 16:

  • physical description (height, weight, and eye, hair and skin colours)
  • year and country of birth
  • ethnic group
  • whether the donor had any genetic children when they registered, and the number and sex of those children
  • other details the donor may have chosen to supply (e.g. occupation, religion and interests)
  • the ethnic group(s) of the donor’s parents
  • marital status (at the time of donation)
  • details of any screening tests and medical history
  • skills
  • reason for donating
  • a goodwill message, and a description of themselves as a person (pen portrait)

You will have the opportunity to discuss the above during your implications counselling session.

Parenthood issues – if you go through a licensed clinic, you will not be considered as a legal parent of the child and you cannot make a claim for or be responsible for the child. By law, the woman having the treatment (the recipient) is considered to be the offspring’s mother, not the woman who donated the eggs.

Withdrawing consent – You can change your mind at any time about the use of the donated eggs up to the point of the embryo transfer. This applies to any “surplus” embryos resulting from the egg donation that had been frozen for future use.

HOW ARE THE DRUGS ADMINISTERED?

The administration of your medication is very important and the ideal solution is for you to perform this yourself. We provide all the necessary instructions and advice and, if you have any problem with injections, as some people do, we can assist your partner in doing this for you.

DOES IT HURT AT ANY TIME?

Individuals have different responses to the egg donation experience. The egg collection is definitely considered a minor invasive procedure and some minor discomfort is not unusual – but real pain is very rare indeed. We can assure you that a dedicated and supportive team will help you with all the medical and emotional aspects of donation.

CAN MY OWN FERTILITY BE AFFECTED?

Your welfare always comes first and your fertility is highly unlikely to be affected. Your consultant will explain in detail all treatment aspects and implications of egg donation during the Initial Consultation. Any implications of donating as far as your own fertility in concerned will be discussed with you at the appropriate time.

WHAT ABOUT SEXUAL INTERCOURSE DURING THE CYCLE?

Yes, this is fine. We advise you to use the barrier methods of contraception (not the contraceptive pill) from the menstrual period before you start the nasal spray or Prostap until the period after egg collection. When this occurs (approximately 2 weeks after your egg collection) you may then resume your normal method of contraception.

WILL I HAVE A CONTINUING RESPONSIBILITY TO ANY CHILD BORN FOLLOWING THE DONATION?

No. The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology) Act, 1990, states that a person donating eggs will not be the legal parent of any resulting offspring. At the time of the donation you relinquish all legal rights and claims over offspring that may result from your donated eggs.

WILL I BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF A CHILD BORN FROM MY DONATION IS DISABLED IN ANY WAY?

It is your responsibility to inform us of any genetic or inheritable disease present in your immediate family. Failure to do so is an offence and it is the right of any child disabled as a result of failure to pass on this information to sue the donor for damages. Most abnormalities, however, result from spontaneous mutation or difficulties at delivery, in which case the donor would not be held responsible.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I CHANGE MY MIND?

You may withdraw or vary your consent up to when an egg or embryo created using your eggs is: a) transferred to a recipient b) used in a research project (defined as being under the control of the researchers and being cultured for use in research) c) used for training (if it has been donated for this purpose), or d) allowed to perish.

HOW MANY TIMES CAN I DONATE?

The law states that there should be live births in no more than 10 families from any one donor. However, we recommend that you only donate for a maximum of three cycles so the limit will not be reached.

I HAVE HEARD YOU CAN GET PAID FOR EGG DONATION – IS THIS TRUE?

Donors cannot be paid for donating eggs but all your costs, expenses and lost earnings can be reimbursed. This change to reimbursement rules has been in effect since 1st April 2012 and this allows us to reimburse a lump sum of £750 per donation cycle in respect of your costs. For further information please contact the Egg Donation team.

CAN I FIND OUT IF MY DONATION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL?

You can contact us at any time after your donation and providing your recipient gives consent, we will let you know if any children were born from your donation, how many, their genders and the year of their birth(s). You will be asked to put your request in writing. We will not give you any information that may lead to the identification of anyone involved.

WHO CAN ACCESS SPERM, EGG OR EMBRYO DONOR INFORMATION?

People conceived as a result of a donation have a legal entitlement to apply to the HFEA for information about their origins. This information includes the details the donor provided at the clinic. Patients seeking treatment with donor gametes and parents of donor-conceived children will also be able to access anonymous donor information. Donor information is shared with parents and patients in order to help people be open with their children about their donor-conceived origins from an early age.

Donor-conceived people conceived after 1 April 2005, when they reach 16 years old, are able to apply to the HFEA to receive the non-identifying information that their donor provided (all information given by the donor except for their name and last-known address).

Donor-conceived people conceived after 1 April 2005, when they reach 18 years old, are able to apply to the HFEA to find the information their donor provided, including identifying information.

ANONYMITY

The law regarding anonymity was amended in 2005 and, for the avoidance of doubt, we provide the HFEA‟s guidance notes below.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Register and Confidentiality. The HFEA keeps a confidential register of information about donors, patients and treatments. This register was set up on 1st August 1991 and therefore contains information concerning children conceived from licensed treatments from that date onwards. People conceived as a result of licensed treatment aged 16+ (if contemplating marriage) or 18, who ask the HFEA, will be told whether or not they were born as a result of licensed assisted conception treatment and, if so, whether they are related to the person they want to marry. As the law now stands, children born as a result of treatment in the UK using donor eggs will have the right to learn the identity of the donor on reaching the age of eighteen, if the treatment was performed on or after 1st April 2005. No information about patients, their children and donors related to the treatment before this date* will be given out by the Authority under any circumstances other than those outlined above. The names of the children are not collected.

*An exception would be if the child was born with a disability as a result of a donor’s failure to disclose an inherited disease. If he or she were to sue a clinic for damages, a court might require the HFEA to disclose the donor’s identify under the Congenital Disabilities (Civil Liabilities) Act 1976. If you have any other questions about being an egg donor then we strongly suggest referencing the HFEA website on www.hfea.gov.uk which is an excellent source of information.

RESOURCES FOR EGG AND EMBRYO DONORS: ADVICE & SUPPORT

Your decision to donate eggs or embryos is an important one with life-long implications. There are many issues to consider, and some of them are complicated. There are a number of organisations that can provide further information about the issues involved. You may also wish to discuss issues with the counsellor at the clinic where you are donating, as they will have experience in helping you explore the implications of your decision, now and in the future.

SPERM, EGG AND EMBRYO DONORS: ADVICE & SUPPORT LINKS

Support through GENNET City Fertility
www.city-fertility.com
2 free supportive counselling sessions for every treatment cycle to take up before, during and after the treatment

British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA)
www.bica.net
BICA aims to promote high quality, accessible counselling services for those with fertility problems.

Donor Conception Network (DC Network)
www.dcnetwork.org
Information and support for people planning, or who have, children conceived using donated sperm or eggs.

Infertility Network UK (I N UK)
www.infertilitynetworkuk.com
A charity providing practical and emotional support for people experiencing difficulties in conceiving.

National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT)
www.ngdt.co.uk
A registered charity and central reference point for donors, recipients and health professionals.