Egg Donation FAQs: Becoming an Egg Donor
Medically reviewed by Dr. Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS - Written by CHR Staff - Updated on September 8, 2020
Egg Donation Logistics
Our current egg donation compensation for your time, commitment and services is $8,000 on average for a completed egg donor cycle (i.e. retrieval of eggs). You can earn up to $14,000 depending on your qualifications and the number of eggs you produce. If your cycle is canceled due to no fault of your own, the financial compensation is $1,000.
We require our local NYC egg donors to be between the ages of 21 to 34 years of age, though exceptions are occasionally made for young women between ages 18 and 21 and women ages 34 to 35. For donors who will have to travel to NYC (i.e., those who live outside of the NYC metropolitan area), our age requirement is between 21 and 29.
No. We accept egg donors from all over the United States, as long as you are willing and able to travel to our center in New York City for egg retrieval. However, we cannot work with donors from outside the United States. Prospective long-distance egg donors will need to complete preliminary blood work at a local laboratory after successfully passing the application process. All follow-up medical appointments and testing take place locally until egg retrieval in New York City. For more information, visit our long-distance donor applicants page.
In general, we require all donors to have a social security number or a valid work permit. However, if you do not have a social security number or a work permit, there are two options:
- For a donor who has spent more than 31 days over the last year, or over 183 days over the last 3 years, in the United States, CHR will withhold 28% of the donor compensation, to be remitted as taxes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in accordance with the “substantial presence test” of the federal tax laws.1
- For a donor who has spent less time than above in the U.S., CHR will withhold 30% of the donor compensation, to be remitted as taxes to the IRS, in accordance with federal tax laws.
In either of the two cases above, you may file a tax return with the IRS later to receive a reimbursement of a part or the whole of the withheld taxes.
The number of eggs you produce in your egg donation cycle largely determines your egg donor compensation. Following your clinical coordinator's instructions regarding how to use the medications and when to administer your injections will ensure that a good number of eggs develop. Donors who have donated successfully will earn more in future donations in our program, as do donors whose eggs are designated as being in "high demand." For more information about how our egg donation program's donor compensation works, please see the egg donation fee & compensation page.
The Egg Donation Process
It depends. After you complete your egg donor application, it typically takes a month or so for you to complete the interviews and preliminary testing. After that, whether and when you are matched with a recipient depends on what kind of egg donors our center's patients are looking for at that time. Some donors may never be matched; other donors are matched almost immediately after they join our egg donor program.
Yes! Recipients of eggs are often looking for the sense of connection with egg donors--they want to feel like they know their donor at some level, even though our egg donor program is designed to be anonymous. When completing your egg donor application, you can try to give recipients the sense of who you are, by describing your personality, your interests, your skills and accomplishments, your general approach to life, your ambition and so on. A few good photos--or even better, a short video--that show your face and body clearly are also crucial.
The FDA requires a specific medical screening process for egg donation.2 You will need to have a mental health evaluation, blood tests, sexually transmitted infection tests, and a doctor’s visit. During the physician interview, you will have a physical exam and the doctor will take a medical history and family history (what medical issues are experienced by a close family member or family members).
The egg donation process starts with an application. Once you are approved as a donor after a series of interviews and tests, you will be matched with a recipient or recipient couple. (You may never be matched with a recipient -- intended parents review our database of potential donors and request a donor based on what they are specifically looking for.) The egg donation cycle itself usually takes about 3-4 weeks, and you will be administering self-injections of hormonal medications to help your ovaries produce multiple eggs. During this phase, you will have frequent office visits to monitor your progress. When our physicians determine that your eggs are ready for ovulation, you will trigger ovulation with a different type of injection, and egg retrieval is performed on the next day. For more details, please see the step-by-step guide for egg donation. If you are considering donating eggs at our NYC fertility center despite your residence outside the NYC metropolitan area, this page lays out the donation logistics.
The egg donation process from treatment start to retrieval takes approximately one month. The egg retrieval itself takes minutes (we explain egg retrieval further down the page).
The medications you will need to take are injectables. You will be giving yourself injections one time per day for the first two weeks of the egg donation process and two times per day for the second two weeks. CHR’s clinical coordinators will teach you how to self-inject safely and are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions.
Once on fertility drugs, you need to ensure that you have only protected sexual intercourse for that month as well as the month following egg donation. From start to finish, you will generally have 10-12 doctor visits; the majority of these visits occur during the two weeks prior to egg retrieval. As these visits take place early in the morning, it is recommended that you live in or near New York, NY, where CHR is located. Donors living outside of the NYC metropolitan area can have these visits at a local IVF center, but will be required to travel for 3 nights at the end of their donation cycle.
Can I use birth control during the egg donation cycle?
You cannot use any form of hormonal birth control during egg donation. It is important to either abstain from intercourse during the cycle, or use a non-hormonal method (such as condoms or a diaphragm).
We use intravenous (IV) sedation, which is administered by an anesthesiologist. Occasionally, you may experience short-term side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, sleepiness. Therefore, we instruct you to rest for 24 hours after egg donation. You are also required to be picked up by somebody after the egg donation and must not drive for 24 hours.
Egg production depends on the individual and how they respond to the medication; the number of eggs produced by a donor can be as low as 5 and as high as 35 or more.
No. You may experience some discomfort similar to menstrual cramps. You may also have bloating, spotting and abdominal cramping, but usually not a lot of pain. CHR’s clinical coordinators can help you with pain, if it does bother you.
We recommend modified bed rest at home for 24 hours after egg donation. For donors who need to travel to NYC for egg retrieval, we will require 3 nights and 2 days in NYC. (Travel costs will be covered by us.)
You should anticipate a menstrual period within 10 days after you donate. Following the next menstrual cycle, your body should be back to normal.
Side Effects and Risks
Most egg donors go through the process with no side effects; however, some may feel bloating, weight gain, pelvic discomfort or moodiness.
Egg retrieval is always performed under ultrasound guidance. However, there is always a risk that a needle may puncture surrounding tissue or organs causing injury, bleeding and/or infection. There is also a small risk (less than 5%) of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). During ovarian hyperstimulation, the ovaries become enlarged and fluid may collect in the abdominal cavity causing bloating, a weight gain of 5-10 pounds, and severe pelvic pain. Hospitalization may be required if ovarian hyperstimulation progresses to a severe state. In addition, certain studies have suggested that some ovulation drugs are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer; research in this area is ongoing, however, and more recent data refutes such a risk.
After Egg Donation
You will be more fertile in the month following egg donation. After one month, you will return to your normal fertility status.
Egg donation does not have any long-term effects on your fertility.
If you sign up for the anonymous egg donation process, the couple that receives your donated eggs will not find out from us who you are. They will know characteristics about you, but we will not give them your name or any other information that could lead to your identification. With that said, given the quick evolution of facial recognition technology and direct-to-consumer genetic testing services, there is a non-negligible chance that you will be identified at some point in the future. We explain this possibility in the informed consent for our egg donors.
Yes. The egg donation process has no effect on a woman’s future ability to get pregnant. If you are interested in egg freezing, please discuss this with your clinical coordinator. (Egg freezing is a fertility preservation method where your eggs are stored in an egg bank until you are ready to use them at a later age.)
Egg Donor Selection
If you’re a woman between the ages of 21 and 29, in good health, and are able to commit to our program requirements, we welcome you to apply! CHR has one of the most selective egg donation programs in the country, as well as one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse. Review and fill out our online application here to get started.
Who will receive my donated eggs?
You’ll be giving the only realistic chance of getting pregnant and carrying the baby to a woman who, in most cases, has struggled for a long time. Women and couples who opt for egg donation typically cannot get pregnant naturally or through in vitro fertilization with their own eggs. When a woman cannot conceive but is able to carry a baby, she does not require surrogacy. In these cases, donor egg IVF is a highly effective fertility treatment option.
CHR’s egg donation program is very selective, which means that many applicants wanting to donate eggs eventually don’t qualify for our program for physiological, psychological and/or social reasons. It can sting to be “rejected” by an egg donation program, but please know that we maintain this rigorous donor selection process to ensure safety for donors and highest possible success for recipients.
Some of the disqualifiers include inheritable genetic disorders, infectious diseases and behaviors that can increase the risks of infectious diseases, reproductive system disorders, substance abuse disorders, as well as inability to commit to CHR’s program responsibilities for donors. This egg donor disqualification list is in no way comprehensive -- we take a holistic look at the entire egg donor application from each candidate in deciding which applicant to bring to the next step.
Read more about Egg Donation
- Donor Eligibility Final Rule Questions and Answers. Food and Drug Administration website. March 22, 2018. Accessed August 29, 2020. Link.
- Substantial Presence Test. Internal Revenue Service website. January 15, 2020. Accessed August 27, 2020. Link.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Repetitive oocyte donation: a committee opinion. Fertil Steril. 2020 June; 113(6). Link. Accessed August 29, 2020.