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How does egg donation work?

Hello there, amazing human. Are you thinking about donating your eggs?

Here’s everything you need to know first.

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What can I expect from the egg donation process?


When you donate your eggs, you can transform someone’s life.


But as the old saying goes, miracles don’t happen overnight. Here are the steps to become an egg donor.

Applying & consultation

Fill out our online application form and we’ll double check you’re eligible for egg donation.


Once we've reviewed your application, our friendly team will call you to book your first consultation.


You’ll meet with one of our fertility consultants, and you can ask them anything.


They'll carry out a fertility check, using a scan and blood test, to make sure you’re a suitable donor.

Counselling & screening

Next, you’ll meet with a specialist counsellor who helps you explore how egg donation could affect you now and in the future.


Then, you'll have some quick tests for genetic diseases and infections, which make sure it’s safe for you to donate.

Preparation & collection

To get your eggs ready, you'll need to take injections of fertility medicines.


Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds, and our nurses help you practise.


Then, you visit us for scans to check when your eggs are ready.


After 8-14 days, you’ll visit your local clinic where they carefully collect your eggs, which takes less than 30 minutes. 

Aftercare & beyond

Through the whole process and after, our care team are just a phone call away.


We’re here for you if you need anything.


Each donation usually supports fertility treatment for one to two hopeful parents.


You can check in with us to find out if your eggs resulted in a successful birth, the sex of any children born and the year of birth.

Can I donate my eggs?

 

You can donate from age 21 and up to your 36th birthday.


You'll need to meet the following criteria:


  • BMI between 18 to 35 - calculate your BMI

  • Non-smoker for 6 months, including vapes

  • Free from serious illnesses or infections that could be passed to the mother or baby

  • Able to share your full medical history and that of your immediate relatives

These criteria make sure it’s safe for you to donate and that your eggs are healthy.


In some circumstances, we can accept eggs from an older person - for example, if the donation is for someone you know.

 

Not sure if you can donate? Just ask us.

How to apply to donate eggs

Fill out our online application form to let us know that you’re interested in becoming an egg donor.


If you're eligible, we'll:


  • Send you a donor info pack and questionnaire

  • Check you meet the criteria

  • Call you to book your consultation and fertility check


Our friendly team can answer any questions you have - don’t be shy!

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How egg retrieval works


The egg donation process is similar to the first part of IVF.


To get your eggs ready for collection, you'll need to take injections of medicines to adjust your cycle and stimulate your ovaries.


  • Your fertility nurse will show you exactly how to do your injections – you’ll be an expert in no time

  • The injections shouldn’t be painful, though they might be uncomfortable

  • You'll then need to come for scans to monitor your egg production and decide when they're ready for collection

  • It usually takes 8 to 14 days from the start of treatment until collection



How we collect your eggs


When it’s time for egg collection, you'll visit your local clinic on the all important day.


  • It's a widely practiced procedure – our team will talk you through the whole thing

  • During the procedure, we will gently put a specialised device inside the vagina, which carefully retrieves the eggs using a needle 

  • The procedure takes around 15-30 minutes, but you’ll be at the clinic for 2-3 hours

  • You'll be sedated so that you don't feel pain or discomfort during the procedure.


We'll keep your eggs safely frozen in quarantine for three months. After that, they’re ready to be part of a hopeful parent’s fertility treatment, such as IVF.


Learn more about how who your egg donation could help and why it’s needed.

Legal considerations

There are no silly questions when it comes to egg donation.


You might wonder things like…


  • Am I anonymous?

  • Would I be a legal parent?

  • Can I change my mind?


We’ve answered all these and more below, and you can ask us anything at any time.  


Our team know their stuff, and they’ll make sure you’re confident and informed before you donate.

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Support

Egg donors make amazing things possible – so you deserve to be looked after too.


We’ve got your back every step of the way.


  • Our care team are only a phone call away

  • Your Donor Co-ordinator will support you with the practical and emotional side of egg donation

  • An experienced team of fertility specialists oversee your wellbeing from start to finish

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Do something inspiring

Could you give the gift of parenthood? If you’re interested in becoming an egg donor, we’d love to hear from you.

FAQs

What is donating eggs like?

Being an egg donor is a significant and special experience.


Giving such a meaningful gift to someone in need can be very rewarding.


The process also requires a significant time commitment and can be physically demanding as you reach the end.


  • You’ll need to visit our clinic for several appointments

  • You’ll be required to take fertility medicines, including at-home injections

  • You may feel bloated, tired and sore towards the end and after your donation

  • This part of the process takes around three months


The whole process, from your application to post-donation screening and payment, takes around six months.


Despite this, many of our donors choose to donate eggs more than once.


Hear Rachel’s experience of donating eggs three times.

How soon after birth can I donate?

You can start an egg donation cycle six months after giving birth.


You must also wait three months after finishing breastfeeding.

Can I donate if I’m breastfeeding?

You cannot donate eggs while breastfeeding.


You must wait three months after finishing breastfeeding before you can start an egg donation cycle.

Is donating eggs painful?

Most people feel uncomfortable and sore just before and after donating, but the egg collection itself shouldn’t hurt.


We offer sedation and painkillers to help.

What fertility medicines will I take?

Usually, the body releases one egg per cycle, but egg donation requires a batch of eggs.


To achieve this, you’ll take fertility medicines to stimulate extra egg production.


We tailor the medicines, dose, and timing to you.


The medicines may include:


  • Medicine to suppress your menstrual cycle at the beginning, which could be a contraceptive or a nasal spray

  • Daily or twice daily injections of gonadotrophins to stimulate egg growth

  • An injection of hCG to stimulate the final stage


The HFEA regulates egg donation and offers more information about the process.

Does egg donation use up your eggs?

It’s a myth that egg donation uses up your eggs.


But it’s easy to see where the confusion starts.


You may have heard about egg count (ovarian reserve) and the concept of 'running out of eggs'.


But this is talking about your overall supply.


Every month, multiple eggs start developing. One is released and the rest naturally die off.


During egg donation, we use fertility medicines to keep these eggs growing, so that we can collect a batch.


Donating your eggs doesn't affect your future fertility potential.

How many times will I need to visit the clinic?

You’ll come to the clinic for several appointments, including:


  • Your first consultation and fertility appointment

  • Your genetic screening and tests for infections

  • Your specialist counselling and consent appointment

  • Scans to check when your eggs are ready

  • Your collection day

  • A follow-up appointment


Our egg donors usually come for 7-9 appointments in total.


We have local satellite clinics where you can have some of your tests and scans closer to home, which can save a lot of time. You can also ask to have your counselling done virtually to reduce trips into the clinic.

Do I need to stop my contraception to donate eggs?

You can usually donate eggs while using:


  • The copper coil

  • The Mirena coil if you have regular periods


Only oral contraceptives would need to be stopped and coils don't need to be removed.


You can keep taking these contraceptives right up until you start your fertility medicines:


  • The Mirena coil if you don’t have regular periods


You can’t usually donate eggs if you’re currently using:


  • The implant

  • Depo injections

  • The progesterone-only mini-pill


If you’re not sure – don’t worry.


Just ask our fertility nurses and they’ll explain what to do.

Are there any side effects?

The fertility medicines used for egg collection can have side effects.

For most people, these are mild or moderate, and include:


  • Feeling bloated

  • Stomach pain

  • Tender breasts

  • Mood swings


With IVF, about 1 in 100 women may experience a severe reaction called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.


The symptoms include:


  • Feeling or being sick

  • Breathlessness

  • Feeling faint


Your nurse will explain what to expect when taking fertility medicine and what to do if you feel unwell.

How many times can you donate eggs in the UK?

There’s no official limit to how many times you can donate eggs, but it’s usually advised to only donate 3-6 times in your life.


UK regulations allow your eggs to be used in creating a maximum of 10 families.

How many eggs do they take at egg donation? 

The number of eggs collected varies, but it’s usually around 10 eggs.


On average this is enough to help 1-2 people have fertility treatment.


This is because not all the eggs will fertilise, and we only implant 1 or 2 embryos at a time.

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