Who can be an egg donor?
If you’d like to donate eggs, you need to:
- Be aged between 18 and 35
- Be healthy, with no family history of serious or inherited illnesses
- Have a BMI of less than 30
- Be a non-smoker
- Not currently be taking recreational drugs or excessive alcohol
- Not currently be trying to become pregnant yourself
Why you need to be aged between 18 and 35
Some women will assume that they can partake in egg donation after the age of 35 if they still have periods. Unfortunately, after this age the eggs in the ovary start to undergo subtle genetic changes, resulting in fewer eggs or an increased risk of miscarriage and abnormalities with the growing baby. As you’ll appreciate, this in turn causes problems for the recipient during pregnancy or when a baby arrives. The HFEA (the UK’s regulatory body on fertility) states that women who donate eggs must do so before their 36th birthday, and the genetic screening (a small but necessary part of the process), takes around eight weeks itself. There’s no way to fast-track unfortunately.
Why you need to have a BMI below 30 to donate eggs
Having a healthy BMI is important. If you have a BMI above 30 (someone who is over their expected weight), you might not respond to the stimulation as expected and could be putting yourself at a greater risk. The same goes for someone with a very low BMI, in which case you would be advised to gain a little weight before going through the egg donation process.
Why you need to be healthy, with no family history of serious or inherited illnesses when donating eggs
The egg donor must pass associated health checks prior to donation to ensure both the baby and mother do not inherit any serious or genetic illnesses from the donated eggs. The egg donation process is generally very safe but nevertheless poses very rare health risks, making the predisposition of a serious illness an increased risk factor for women looking to donate their eggs.
Why you need to be a non-smoker to donate eggs
The risks of smoking are well-documented. In the case of egg donation, smoking impacts the quality of the egg as the toxins in cigarettes cause the egg wall to thicken, essentially forming a protective barrier against the toxins, and this consequently decreases the chances of successful fertilisation.
Why you need to not currently be taking recreational drugs of excessive alcohol when donating eggs
There are lower rates of fertilisation in eggs that have been impacted by heavy alcohol consumption and recreational drug use. It poses more of a health risk to the egg donor as well, given their weakened immune system and the need to fit our requirement for egg donors in good health.
Why you should not currently be trying to become pregnant yourself
If you are currently trying to become pregnant you will be unable to donate eggs simultaneously due to the (temporary) impact on your menstrual cycle.
If you think you could help someone with the altruistic act of egg donation in the UK, register your interest.