FAQ

Quick List

1. What is an egg donor?

An egg donor is a healthy young woman who is between the ages of 18 and 35. This special woman donates a few of her eggs to a recipient who strongly desires to have a child but who is unable to produce eggs from her own ovaries. Following their removal, the eggs are fertilized with the recipient’s male partner’s sperm or with donor sperm. The resulting embryos are then placed into the recipient’s uterus. She then has the amazing opportunity of becoming pregnant, carrying, and delivering a child to finally create the family she has so long hoped for. A donor gives one of the most beautiful gifts possible—the gift of potentially growing a family. Egg donors are so special in fact, that they get front row seats and houses with sea views up in heaven.

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2. Why would someone need an egg donor?

The recipient of donor egg(s) is someone who desires to have a child but is unable to produce viable eggs from her own ovaries. Various reasons a woman might not be able to produce eggs include premature ovarian failure, infertility due to poor egg quality or age, severe endometriosis, genetic disorders that she does not want to pass on, or elevated follicle stimulating hormone. Being unable to have a child when you really, really want one is heartbreaking. Infertility is something we would not wish on our worst enemy!

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3. Why should I donate through Nurture?

Because we understand this business of egg donation better than anyone else. Before you come on board, we will ensure that you are provided with all the information of how it all works – the good, the bad and the not so ugly so that you can make a conscious decision about donating.  We have supported over 1800 fabulous donors in 8 years who have signed up and donated through us. We will answer all your questions honestly, and support you all the way through the process. In a nutshell, we care. We call. We write. We call some more.

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4. What is the first step of being an egg donor?

The first step is to fill in the application form. Should you meet all the basic requirements, you will pass round one of the screening process and you will proceed to round two: filling in the full application form where you supply information about your medical and family history etc. It is a fairly lengthy form but we need all that information from you. Once we have all your information, we will set up a time to go through your application with you.

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5. Can I do this anonymously?

All donors registering with UK clinics will be identifiable to people conceived using their gametes when these people reach the age of 18. These donor-conceived people may apply to the HFEA to receive identifying information about their donors. The information will only be given out by the HFEA to a child born as a result of the donation after the child’s 18th birthday and only upon request made by the child. The recipients will receive only non-identifying information about the donor at the time of treatment.. This does NOT mean you will have someone knocking on your door one day saying “Hi Mum, where is all the pocket money you owe me?”. It does mean that if the child wants to know more about his or her genetic origin, they are able to get this information in a controlled manner. The donation is confidential, it is not anonymous. For more information about donor anonymity refer to the HFEA website http://www.hfea.gov.uk/1973.html

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6. What will it be like having my children running around out there?

Think of it this way: Point A: Those eggs you donated? They would have been flushed away with your normal cycle if you hadn’t donated them. Point B: Eggs alone do not a child make! Without the partner’s sperm, and without the future mother’s womb, there aint gonna be no child. So fear not, there aren’t going to be any of ‘your’ children running around anywhere!

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7. What makes a mother?

As I sit on the couch at 2am holding my ill son in my arms, I reflect back on a conversation I had with a potential donor egg recipient today, a future mother. She has only just heard that she will need a donor egg in order to conceive, and is still in shock. Part numb, part devastated. Grieving for the loss of a child created from her own DNA
So many questions, so many concerns. “But will I feel like the child’s mother?” Will that child feel like ‘mine’.
Sitting in the perfect still of the winter night, wiping my child’s feverish brow, it comes to me in a moment of absolute clarity….being a mother is not about the origins of conception. It is not about an egg or where the DNA comes from. Simple biology does not a mother make.
The mother is the person who cradles the baby to her chest, gently rocking him to sleep.
The mother is the person who holds the sickly child in her arms, wiping her feverish brow.
The mother is the one who whispers ‘I love you’ into the sleeping ear, who wipes the snotty nose, who fixes the scraped knee and cleans the poopy diapers.
The mother is the one who loves the child regardless, who loves the child unconditionally, even on the days where they behave revoltingly.
The egg donor, surrogate or birth mother (in the case of an adopted child) is a wonderful, beautiful, generous person who helped in the creation of that child, but they are not that child’s mother. That child’s mother is the one the child calls mommy.
What makes a mother is not about what happened at the moment of conception; it is about what happens every day in the life of the child.
And that my friends, is what makes a mother.

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8. How do people choose a donor?

The factors recipients consider are varied and personal. For some people, things like eye colour, hair colour etc are important. Others couldn’t care less. Some are looking for donors who share similar interests. Actually, it is often the little messages and personal bits that help them decide on the ‘right’ donor for them. It is very important that you complete the application as honestly and thoroughly as possible.

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9. What if I am on birth control?

During the actual donation process – you will be off the pill for a month – during this time you will need to abstain or use extra precaution. If you are using Norplant (jadelle) or Depo Provera (2/3 month injection) you will have to discontinue use for several months before you can donate. (i.e. you need to have two consecutive periods after discontinuing.) If you have an Intrauterine Device (I.U.D.) that does not release any level of hormone, you may be able to donate without removing it. If you have a Mirena – this will have to be removed prior to the donation – and will be replaced on the day of retrieval – at no cost to you.

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10. Will donating eggs now affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?

You are born with approximately two million eggs. Each month a group of eggs enter a growth phase that will ultimately result in ovulation. Normally, your body selects only one egg each cycle to ovulate and the remaining eggs from this group do not develop fully and are flushed down the loo. Fertility medications allow your body to rescue many of those eggs that would have been lost (those rescued ones are the ones you donate!) and do not affect any eggs destined to enter growth phase in future cycles. The fertility medication has no proven long term effects.

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11. What are normal activities after the procedure?

You MUST have someone drive you home after the procedure. It’s the law. You may find that you need to sleep for the remainder of the day after the procedure. We recommend you take it easy for a few days post-retrieval. Your fertility clinic physician may give you other guidelines regarding post-operative activities.

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12. Who pays my medical bills?

Not you! All medical costs are funded by the recipients.

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13. What about compensation?

Compensation is regulated by the HFEA and is set at £750 as 01 April 2012. This compensation paid is not intended to pay for the eggs donated (as donors donate their eggs as a gift of hope), nor for monetary reward. Ladies, you are not ‘selling’ your eggs, you are giving them as a gift to someone else. And for the mission of going to all the appointments and taking your meds like good girls, you will be rewarded on earth (the £750) and in heaven (front row seats, house with sea view). The payment is recompense for expenses occurred and inconvenience suffered during the donation process. The £750 does not even begin to come close to reflecting the immense gratitude the recipients feel. Their deep appreciation and good wishes for the donor continue for forever.  For more information about compensation, refer to the HFEA guidelines

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14. Do I meet the couple receiving my eggs?

No. The donation is confidential. Even though we are required by law to provide your identity to the fertility clinic, we do not release your identity to the recipient. The recipient will not know your real name, only your physical characteristics and the details of your medical history and family history.

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15. Will I know the outcome of the donation?

This is really private stuff, but if the recipient agrees and you really want to know, the doctor will let you know.

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16. Will I have to take time off from my studies or work?

Yes – There will be an initial appointment with the doctors at the clinic which will take approximately an hour. In addition to this, you will also have a one hour visit with a Counsellor.  During the actual procedure, you will have to go to the clinic at least three to four times for ultrasounds. (This is over a two week period) You will also have to allow a day for egg retrieval. These visits cannot be scheduled for outside of normal working hours or on Saturdays. So yes, you will have to take time off, but not AGES and AGES.

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17. What are the possible side effects?

Let’s get the 2 immediate general concerns out of the way – 1) Am I going to put on weight? You are on medication for 2 weeks so you will not put on too many kilo’s – give or take 1 or 2.

2) Am I going to turn into an emotional basket case / raving ice-pick killer? The doctor’s who we work with are not cowboys, i.e. they are Not pumping you full of hormones so that your body produces kazillions of eggs – They use a very mild/gentle stimulation protocol which is closely monitored!

Side effects differ from donor to donor. Some women experience absolutely none. If you are prone to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) you may feel some of the side effects attributed to the injections. These effects are usually mild and may include allergic sensitivity, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You shouldn’t become too much of a dragon, but if you do, blame it on the hormones! You may gain a kilogram or two, which will only be a temporary weight gain as it is when you have PMS. As with any medical procedure, there is always a miniscule chance of infection, and/or reaction to the anaesthetic medication(s). Bleeding is usually minimal and infection is unlikely as an intravenous antibiotic is routinely administered at the time of the procedure.

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18. What are the risks?

This is the serious bit and we can do Serious. As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with egg donation. The clinics we work with prefer to have all the steps in place so that none of these nasties happen – Prevention being better than cure! The primary risk is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This is relatively rare (1% of IVF cases). It is caused by the ovary producing too many eggs in response to the drug stimulation. This is why we make sure that you can get to the clinic for all those important scans – The doctor’s can soon pick up that your ovaries are over zealous – and will adjust the medication accordingly. i.e. lower the medication whilst you are on it. If OHSS does kick in, it normally happens a day or two after the retrieval – you will go from feeling uncomfortable to pretty rotten – You will have our mobile number and email address  – you will have the clinics number and email address and if in any doubt, get dialing or emailing. Symptoms include feeling nauseous, or extreme bloating and pain. The doctor will ask you to get to the clinic so that she can assess your condition. Normally extra bed rest and a couple of days for your ovaries to shrink back to their normal size is sufficient. IF the doctors are overly concerned, they will check you into the clinic, hook you up to a drip and administer antibiotics. Basically, your ovaries are swollen, pissed off and they are letting you know all about it. They need an extra bit of TLC and time to shrink back to their normal size. The secondary potential risk is the risk of infection – whether one is having a baby, having an ingrown toe nail cut out, wisdom teeth removed or donating ones precious eggs – there is always a chance of an infection developing. There is NO doctor, agency or clinic that can say “Yes Ma’am – this procedure is 100% safe” (so beware the people who do!) The thing to remember is that the chance of anything going wrong is highly unlikely, but not impossible. Again – what most clinics do – is, whilst you are under having your eggs retrieved, they will administer an antibiotic shot to counter act that very small risk of infection.

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19. Can I die from the procedure?

As with everything in life, there are risks. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is the most common serious complication (see point above). It may become a more serious problem in 1% of women undergoing egg donation and very rarely it can be life threatening.

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20. How many times may I donate?

The UK regulation stipulates that a donor can donate up to 10 times.  So after your first donation is completed – if you would like to join the gorgeous and divine Nurture team again, we will put your profile back on the website a month after your last donation. That way if you donate again, you will have had three months break between donations.

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21. What if I’m still not sure.…

If your application is successful, you are given the opportunity to chat about these feelings with Kirsty at Nurture and the Counsellor, and Doctor before proceeding. This is a very personal decision so you must be comfortable with it. We will respect whatever you decide and encourage you to take time to make the right decision for you.

 

For more information about the rules, requirements and rights for egg donation in the UK, please visit the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority website: http://www.hfea.gov.uk

 

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