Purpose of the Program
The use of anonymously donated sperm for initiation of pregnancy has been common practice in the United States for many years. More recently, the advent of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer has allowed development of programs for the use of donated oocytes (eggs). At the North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine (NCCRM), both anonymous and known donors are used. The evaluation and treatment process is identical for both. Donors who complete a successful cycle at NCCRM will be compensated up to $4500 using the scale detailed here.
Anonymous donors must be between 19 and 32 years of age.
For Potential Egg Donors:
- Step 1: Please fill out the on-line Egg Donor Application. Click here.
- Step 2: Once you submit the on-line Egg Donor Application, you will receive an email or phone call to let you know if you qualify to move on to the next step which requires you to attend a Donor Egg Education Class.
- Step 3: Once you have been requested to attend a Donor Egg Education Class, you will be given access to our eIVF Donor Portal to fill out an additional medical questions and an FDA questionnaire.
Egg donors must:
- between 19 and 32 years of age to participate
- be normal weight for height (Check BMI chart below)
- have health insurance coverage
- attend a donor egg education class
- be willing to undergo a physical and have bloodwork for various tests
- be willing to take subcutaneous shots on a daily basis for several weeks
- be willing to come to NCCRM’s offices in Cary or Greensboro, NC multiple times for bloodwork and ultrasounds
- be willing to undergo minor surgery
To see our current list of egg donor profiles, click here.
Process of Becoming an Egg Donor:
- After we receive your donor screening form, our clinical staff will thoroughly review the information. If you meet our requirements, you will be contacted by email to schedule a donor egg IVF education class. After completing the class, we will set up an appointment for you to meet with one of the NCCRM physicians and our donor/recipient Nurse Coordinator to have blood testing done. It will be necessary for you to undergo a history and physical examination and be tested for certain sexually and genetically transmitted diseases. Specifically, the oocyte donor would be tested for HIV (AIDS), hepatitis and syphilis. Genetic testing would include testing for cystic fibrosis, as well as several other diseases that can be transmitted as recessive genetic characteristics. The results of testing will be made available to you.
- You will be asked to consult with a psychiatrist or a psychologist to help determine your suitability as a donor. We will arrange the appropriate appointments for you.
- Accepted donors will be required to sign consent forms, a sample of which is enclosed.
- Complete anonymity between the recipient and the donor will be maintained.
- All oocyte donors will be required to have health insurance.
- Once an egg donor is matched, she will begin an IVF cycle in which she will administer daily subcutaneous shots of fertility medicine for several weeks. During this time, she will come to NCCRM’s offices in Cary or Greensboro for monitoring. Mornitoring includes bloodwork and vaginal ultrasounds. There are approximately 6 – 12 visits for these tests during a typical cycle. Then, she will be instructed to come in for an egg retrieval in which she is given anesthesia and her ovaries are aspirated and her eggs are removed. She will recover at home that day and can return to normal activities the next day. Once the cycle is complete, she will receive $3000 for her time and efforts.
Egg aspiration is carried out in the out-patient surgery unit at NCCRM utilizing intravenous sedation. Eggs are aspirated by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall and guiding the needle into the follicles containing eggs by use of ultrasound. The procedure usually requires 10 to 15 minutes for the actual aspiration. The procedure is relatively painless, although some discomfort may be experienced after the procedure and/or during the subsequent 48-72 hours.
Once the eggs are obtained, they are fertilized with sperm from the husband of the recipient couple. After developing for 48 hours, the fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are placed in the uterus of the wife of the recipient couple. The donor relinquishes all claim to eggs or resulting embryos or children prior to becoming an egg donor.
The time involvement in becoming an egg donor consists of the initial visit to the NCCRM facility, followed by daily visits to obtain blood for monitoring hormone levels in order to adjust the dose of medication. Also, vaginal ultrasounds will be done to examine the ovaries and monitor the follicular development. There may be times when you will need to be monitored on a daily basis. On the day of egg aspiration, the donor will not be able to carry out her usual activity, however, most are able to return to normal activities the next day.
Risk of Being an Egg Donor
- With the use of fertility drugs , it is possible to have excessive enlargement of the ovaries (ovarian hyperstimulation). It is possible that it could be to the extent that a laparotomy or incision in the abdomen may become necessary. This is a very rare complication.
- The risk of egg aspiration includes hemorrhage for the puncture site in the ovary or infection. Both of these are extremely rare, but should they occur, it might be necessary to carry out a laparotomy (incision) of the abdomen. Additionally, while extremely rare, there is a possibility of permanent infertility as a result of infection or hemorrhage.
- You will be paid a fee of up to $4500.00 by the recipient (through NCCRM) for your participation in this program if you undergo egg aspiration. Approximately 5% of women do not respond appropriately to ovarian stimulation and do not make it to egg aspiration. In this event, you would be paid a pro-rated amount for your participation.
- Oocyte (egg) donors are required to sign a consent form before entering the process.
- One of the NCCRM physicians and the donor/recipient Nurse Coordinator will discuss this process in more detail at the time of your visit. If you’re interested in becoming an egg donor, please download the Egg Donor Application/Screening Form. Fill it out and send it back to NCCRM.
Additional Information for Egg Donors
Donors must meet our height/weight criteria (see chart below) to assure that the medications work optimally, be available for multiple morning appointments for screening and monitoring, and must have someone who can provide transportation and care for them on the day of the egg retrieval process.
Process for Becoming a Recipient Couple
Some women, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to use their own eggs for an in vitro fertilization procedure. In these cases, donated eggs may be an option for the couple. Recipients of donated eggs must have a normal uterus or they can use a gestational surrogate.
Candidates for using donated eggs:
- Premature menopause
- Absence of ovaries from birth
- Previous chemotherapy
- Previous ovarian surgery
- Carriers of genetic disorders
- Inadequate response to fertility drugs
- Abnormal uterus
- Multiple failed IVF cycles with her own eggs
The egg donor program involves ovarian stimulation of the donor to produce multiple eggs. Fertilization is accomplished with sperm from the recipient’s spouse, a donor or a partner. Treatment of the recipient or surrogate with hormone replacement drugs prepares the uterine lining to receive the embryos.
The recipient couple visits our center usually once prior to their embryo transfer. During this visit, a thorough history is attained, a physical, and a saline ultrasound of the uterus is performed. The husband or partner will provide a sperm sample for cryopreservation. The couple also will undergo a psychological evaluation by our psychiatrist who delves into the issues this couple will face in deciding to use donor eggs for pregnancy. The couple also will attend an education session about the medications and the different aspects of the cycle. The couple then will submit their top three donor candidates selected from our extensive list of profiles on www.NCCRM.com.
In addition to submitting their top donor profiles for consideration in the matching process, recipient couples also will provide physical traits they desire in their donor in the recipient application form, which is available at www.NCCRM.com. Our clinical team will use the that information in addition to the family medical history of all involved to ensure the best possible outcome. The matching process usually takes three to five months. Once a match is made, the donor will be monitored in our center or one of our satellite centers while the recipient is monitored at NCCRM or in her home town by her gynecologist.
Since the donor is compensated for her participation in the program, recipient couples will be required to cover the donor’s costs and the cost of her treatment prior to egg retrieval. Details of the program fees are available at www.NCCRM.com and by calling our main office at 800-933-7202.
See Today Show story about a couple who used an egg donor: