Donor FAQs

Donors

This sounds scary! Does it hurt and will it affect my health?

One of the first questions almost every prospective donor asks me has to do with, either her fear of the process (I totally get that!! I don’t like any unnecessary needles or doctors in my life either!), or her concern that being an egg donor will impact her ability to have children one day or will cause cancer or something super-frightening like that. It is really important to resolve these concerns before you start the process.

Yes, there are needles and medical procedures involved in being an egg donor. If you go to the Egg Donation Cycle Process page on this website you can read in detail about what a typical egg donation cycle involves. I also will give you a copy of my book The Infertility Survival Handbook when we meet and you will receive a free copy of the Egg Donation E-Book when you apply. Although you are not infertile, in The Infertility Survival Handbook I talk about what it’s like to go through a cycle from a first-hand perspective (remember, although I wasn’t an egg donor myself, I have done what you would be doing if you choose to become an egg donor).

But I can’t tell you whether or not you will find the shots to be painful. Everyone has their own level of pain tolerance. What one person finds painful, another person might not even notice. When I was doing my cycles and my injections, I didn’t feel more than a little tiny pinch, if that. I went through seven of the cycles you would be doing and I am a major baby when it comes to needles and anything to do with a doctor. Most donors with whom I have spoken don’t think it’s painful and most of them do more than one cycle. If it helps, we can show you what the needle looks like (it’s tiny and some of the injections can be done using a “pen” style needle where you just push the cap the way you would on a ballpoint pen. How easy is that?), and you can even ask to have a nurse do the shot for you if you are really concerned. When it comes time for the retrieval procedure, when the eggs are removed from your ovaries, you’re asleep for that! You might feel a little crampy after the retrieval procedure and you might spot some, but it shouldn’t even be as “bad” as a menstrual period. You will probably be up and doing your normal stuff the day after the procedure.

In terms of the long term consequences to your health, there is no scientific research that I know of (if you find some, please tell me!) that the medications you would be taking or the procedures you would undergo will cause you to become infertile or to have cancer or another disease later in your life. The New York State Department of Health and the ASRM websites might provide a more scientific answer than mine, but I don’t know of any long term risks to your health that comes from being an egg donor. However, as part of the medical screening process, you could find out more information about your own fertility (including potential infertility) that could help you make decisions about when you will have your own children if you aren’t already a mother. Unfortunately, a small percentage of prospective donors find out that they aren’t suitable candidates for egg donation due to their own underlying medical issues. But the egg donation process itself shouldn’t prevent you from having babies of your own one day, or cause you to get cancer someday.

The only real “complication” from this process is called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This is when your body “over” responds to the medication (I talk about this in The Infertility Survival Handbook). Although this is very rare (it occurs in fewer than 5% of all women undergoing this process), doctors are very careful to prevent this from happening to you. No one wants you to experience this or any other complication. We even purchase an extra health insurance policy to protect you financially just in case this does happen.

Phone Call

I hope I’ve helped alleviate some of your fears and concerns. If I haven’t and you are interested in becoming an egg donor, please call us and talk to us.

When will I know if I have been accepted into the program?

On average, each submitted application should take no more than two weeks to review (usually it is only a few days-week but we want to be realistic if it takes us a little longer), at which point we will contact you by email or phone to let you know of your approval status. Once you are approved you will need to schedule an interview with Liz at either our Scarsdale, New York or Manhattan office (all documented travel expenses will be reimbursed). We also schedule periodic in-person reviews outside of the immediate Tri-State area, so don’t worry if it’s a long trip for you to Manhattan or Scarsdale; we may be coming to an area closer to you soon!

What happens when I am accepted as a donor?

Immediately upon approval as a Stork Lawyer® Connection Donor we will begin to prepare your Donor Presentation Profile and to collect medical records that doctors will need as part of the egg donation process. Once we have completed your Donor Presentation Profile we will start consider the process of finding recipient parents to match you with. We will contact you once we have a possible match and discuss all aspects of the match that will help you decide whether or not you would like to accept the match.

You’ve talked about donor compensation: What is that and how do I determine what my compensation should be?

Most egg donors receive monetary compensation as part of the cycle process. This is money the intended parent(s) or the fertility clinic pays you as compensation for your time and effort in undergoing the egg donation process. The ASRM provides guidelines regarding donor compensation which we will review with you when you are approved as a Stork Lawyer® Connection Donor.

I am sure you have heard stories about egg donors who have received $25,000 or even more for their donations! You should not expect to receive $25,000 as compensation for your egg donation cycle.

Various Women

Most donors working with The Stork Lawyer® Connection receive an amount of compensation consistent with the ASRM guidelines, keeping in mind that a fertility clinic may decline to cycle a donor who receives compensation substantially above the amounts the ASRM guidelines provide. We will work closely with you to determine the appropriate amount you can request for participating in an egg donation cycle keeping in mind the following:

1. The ASRM Guidelines; and,
2. Your previous cycle history (if any), pregnancy history, and/or number of children; and,
3. Your race and ethnicity; and,
4. Your academic background, your personal skills and interests.

You are unique and special. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you some sense of how we help you determine your compensation
amount.

Because we are based and focus our matching in the New York Tri-State area, and work with many of the top fertility clinics in the United States, there may be instances in which your compensation will be determined by the particular clinic through which we have made your match. Sometimes fertility clinics set a particular compensation amount for all of the donors that cycle through their clinic. Even though you were matched through The Stork Lawyer® Connection, we will have to honor the clinic’s requirements regarding compensation. If for some reason your cycle requires traveling, your travel expenses will be reimbursed and are not taken out of your compensation.

Is there travel involved in my cycle? And if so, for how long?

Travel

Even though we are focused in the New York Tri-State area, it is possible that you might have to travel for a cycle. As part of your agreement to cycle, all of your travel-related expenses are paid for by the intended parents or the clinic, including meals, transportation, and hotel expenses. Most fertility clinics will only need you to be at their clinic for approximately 3-7 days. However, some clinics may need you to be there longer. We will discuss all of these issues with you both when you are considering accepting a match.

If you cycle locally, meaning within the New York Tri-State area, the amount of your travel will depend on where you live in relation to the fertility clinic performing the egg donation, and whether or not they have satellite offices near your home or school and will permit you to “monitor” at another fertility clinic closer to your home or school. We will discuss all of these issues with you when you are considering accepting a match.

Are there qualifications I have to have to be an egg donor?

Yes. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) provides guidelines on what criteria make for an ideal egg donor. However, these are used as “guidelines” and if you do not meet a certain criteria it does not mean you should not, or cannot, become an egg donor. The ASRM guidelines provide that donors should meet or fall within the following criteria and/or parameters:

Age: Donors should be between the ages of 21 and 32.
The rationale for the younger limit is to ensure that the donor is mature enough to provide a comprehensive informed consent. The rationale for not being older than 32 is that younger women typically produce more and/or healthier eggs and that younger women respond better to the medication used to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs as part of the egg donation cycle.

Body Mass Index (BMI): Egg donors’ BMI should be between 18 and 29 as those who have higher BMIs may have a higher risk of complications or adverse reactions associated with taking the medications administered during an egg donation cycle. If you are unsure of your BMI, please use this BMI calculator.

Education: Egg donors must have obtained a high school diploma or GED.

Medical History: Donors will be required to complete comprehensive medical questionnaire that details their personal and family medical history. Included in this questionnaire will be questions concerning your sexual, substance abuse, and psychological histories. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires that all egg donors be screened for risk factors for, and clinical evidence of, communicable infections and diseases. A donor may be found ineligible if either screening or testing indicates the presence of a risk factor for, or clinical evidence of certain communicable infections or diseases. In addition, donors must be non-smokers and drug-free. Egg donors must have abstained from smoking for at least six months prior to submitting an application and should not have a history of injectible drug use.

Please note that on occasion a donor who does not meet one or more of these guidelines may be approved to conduct an egg donation cycle. However, if you smoke you should not apply unless you are willing to stop smoking until your egg donation cycle is complete. Research studies have proven that there is a direct link between nicotine and egg quality; nicotine can even been detected in the fluid surrounding an egg within approximately one hour of smoking a cigarette (and yes, fertility clinics check!).

Donation History: The ASRM recommends that a donor conduct no more than six egg donation cycles in her lifetime. We will consider an experienced donor who has conducted up to five cycles, especially if one or more of the donations was to the same intended parent(s).

Misc: Egg donors cannot have had any tattoos, body piercing or blood transfusions within the past twelve (12) months prior to commencing an egg donation cycle. When applying we will consider a donor who has a tattoo, body piercing, or has had a blood transfusion. However, you must make sure to give us the dates you received the transfusion or had the piercing or tattoo done so that we can properly assess the issues presented in light of the ASRM guidelines. In addition, egg donors will be responsible for updating their egg donor profile semi-annually with any important medical changes, change of name, or change of address.

Office

If you would like to read more about these guidelines, you can visit the ASRM web site. If you are concerned that you do not fit these guidelines, please contact Kelly at Kelly.K@thestorklawyerconnection.com or call her toll free at 1-800-880-0088 so that we can have an opportunity to answer your questions.

Our team will review your application in light of the above-criteria and the information you provided on your application form. Please remember that while we have to consider the guidelines, we are looking at you as a person and not what you look like on paper. There are many different aspects of your personality, your life, and your background that are just as important to us in accepting you into our program as the guidelines listed above!

Please consider that many donors do enjoy the opportunity to travel to other areas of the country for their cycle. Although you won’t be able to do a ton of site-seeing, it could be fun to explore a new part of the country for a few days, or visit friends or family!

If you would like to apply to become a Stork Lawyer® Connection Donor, please click on this link to complete our Donor Application.

Remember, if you have any questions prior to completing the application, or during the application process, please feel free to contact our donor specialist, Kelly, at Kelly.K@thestorklawyerconnection.com, Liz at Liz@thestorklawyerconnection.com, or call either Kelly or Liz toll-free at 1-800-880-0088.