Read our updated egg donor requirements guide for 2021.
Suppose you're thinking about being an ovary egg donator. Kudos to you!
What may seem like a simple act of kindness can actually help someone in need start the family they've always wanted.
The bottom line is this: egg donor requirements tend to vary only slightly agency-to-agency and state-to-state, too. But generally, they're similar across the board.
Surrogacy agencies like ours go the extra mile to screen our candidates thoroughly. While traditional surrogacy may be the only option for you, we can also screen egg donors if you're leaning towards trying a gestational surrogacy.
So what are the top egg donor requirements that we look for in candidates? Here's a look at how we decide which egg donors meet our basic standards and which don't.
What are the demographic qualifications?
Demographics are the most elementary qualifications that we use to begin the screening process. Think of demographic data as a tool to categorize large groups of people, minus all the minute details that aren't statistically relevant.
How old do you have to be to donate eggs?
First, we want egg donors to satisfy a few demographic requirements. At the minimum, we'd like our donors to be within a particular age range: 18-29 years old.
Women who fall within these ages tend to produce the healthiest eggs and are the better candidates. But some agencies require that you be at least 21 years old, not 18 years old, and others will accept eggs from candidates in their 30s.
Are citizenship and residency included?
Furthermore, you must be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident, or a legal immigrant to donate eggs in general. You should also reside in a state that is friendly to surrogates like California, which we prefer.
Does smoking matter?
The best egg donors are non-smokers who likewise live in non-smoking homes. We want our surrogate mothers to have a safe, successful pregnancy, and we won't don't like to take unnecessary risks when it comes to smoking.
Habitual cigarette smoking may affect the viability of embryos after artificial insemination. There's scientific evidence that smoking damages an egg's genetic material.
Do you have to be fit to donate eggs?
While you don't have to be a marathon runner, we do require that donators demonstrate a body mass index (BMI) no higher than 30. Think of BMI as a shortcut to measure fitness based on your height and your weight.
In other words, you don't have to be in perfect shape since the cut-off is BMI 30.
What are the medical qualifications like?
Suppose you think you might be right for surrogacy. In that case, it's absolutely critical to us that you demonstrate a healthy reproductive history with no serious medical complications before, during, or after birth.
Another medical requirement is that you must have two healthy ovaries before donating to our agency. This qualification exists because women with both ovaries tend to produce the healthiest ovum, increasing the likelihood that the fertilization will take hold.
You must also show that you have no reproductive disorders, and you can't be born with genetic abnormalities that you can pass on to your eggs.
Moreover, it's common to ask egg donors to undergo psychological evaluations since medical literature does suggest a genetic link to mental illness.
Do you have to go to college?
We prefer that you have some college education under your belt, but we'll also accept vocational certifications in place of a university degree. The idea is that people with the intelligence to go to college can likewise reproduce offspring with that same potential.
Are there any legal requirements for egg donation?
When you donate eggs, you have the legal right to remain anonymous if you choose. This anonymity is what makes egg donation an attractive option since you can do it privately without the intended parents ever knowing your name.
An agency might give the intended parents a broad look at what makes your eggs different (e.g., college education or inherent athleticism).
At our agency, we like to ensure that donors fully understand that they will not retain any custody claims after the donation.
There are cases when the intended parents want to meet the egg donor if they are willing to reveal their identity, but there's no law that mandates a meeting.
Lastly, it goes without saying that egg donors can't have a criminal history or felony convictions. Illegal drug use is another factor that might disqualify you if you want to donate.
What's the approval process like?
Overall, the approval process can go smoothly if you meet our qualifications. Anyone can apply, but we adhere to our basic requirements strictly because we care about the well being of everyone involved, including egg donors.
The first step is to fill out a pre-screening questionnaire that goes over the necessary demographic information we discussed above.
The process also involves completing more extended interviews that delve deeper into your specific qualifications. You may be an ideal candidate and not know it!
After that, we would require that your general practitioner sign off that you can donate healthy eggs. Some topics that might come up during a medical screening are your family's medical history and any psychological disorders you might have.
Once we approve you as a donation candidate, you'll begin the process of harvesting your eggs with certain fertility drugs to increase the likelihood of a safe birth.
In total, donating eggs can take more than 30 days to complete each step, and it's not uncommon that it will take longer.
The good news is that agencies like ours can start the application process online to make it easier for everyone involved.
At SurrogateFirst, we're a boutique surrogate agency specializing in quickly matching intended parents around the world with our fully-vetted, exceptional surrogates.
We help individuals and couples, regardless of race or sexual orientation, build their families through the miracle of surrogacy.
Every team member at SurrogateFirst is either a former intended parent or an experienced surrogate herself. We also have first-hand knowledge of what it takes to have an incredible, successful surrogate journey.