Egg donation is the process by which the donating woman’s eggs are harvested for fertilization and subsequent induction of pregnancy. Typically, egg donation is a viable option when a woman is genetically unable to have children of her own, or if a reproductive health specialist deems her eggs are not viable enough for in vitro fertilization (a process by which pregnancy is artificially induced through egg stimulation, harvest, and implantation into the womb). This is normally a direct consequence of advanced age, given that fertility problems for women rise sharply at approximately 30 years of age and continue until a natural pregnancy is extremely unlikely (approximately age 40). Egg donation is a viable (though expensive) solution to these and other specific fertility problems.
In most other developed nations that perform egg donation, the egg donor must have legal anonymity. In the United States, however, anonymity is left up to the agreement made between the recipient and egg donor. Some recipients may wish to request photographs, family medical histories, and other information relevant to the procedure. In countries where the identity of the egg donor must remain anonymous, donors are selected based on their temperamental and physical resemblance to the recipient. Much emphasis is placed on proper physical and psychological screening to ensure that the egg donor will complete the process.
Though couples facing fertility problems face several expenses when considering egg donation (medical diagnostics, outpatient procedures, possible hormonal therapy), egg donors typically receive sizable monetary compensation per egg donation. While egg donation clinics explicitly seek women who want to donate on altruistic terms, the monetary compensation further incentivizes egg donation for those who may wish to help struggling couples but are put off by the extensive testing associated with the procedure.
If you and your partner are considering egg donation as an option for a healthy pregnancy, consult a fertility clinic in addition to your personal physician. Be completely honest regarding your sexual and medical histories, as medical professionals can only advise you correctly if they are given all the information they need. After a few sessions with a local fertility clinic, your physician will have a more accurate perception of whether you are a good candidate for egg donation, or if, through a process called egg stimulation that relies on hormonal therapy, your own eggs may induce a healthy pregnancy. Ask the fertility clinic any questions you may have, particularly regarding financing, as they will likely have information regarding local financial planning institutions that can provide assistance during the planning stages.