Helpful Hints for Egg Donors
So you've made it onto the donor database - congratulations! Now you're wondering what you can do to be matched, and to ensure that the match goes smoothly. Today we'll address the second part of that question! (For more information on what you can do to make your donor database profile the best it can be, check out this blog post)
Egg donors often ask us what might come up during their screening or medical process that could delay or even prevent a donation. While those situations are rare, they can be deeply disappointing. Fortunately, it is generally easy to avoid having a match delayed or prevented by following some basic guidelines.
1. Abstain from nicotine, marijuana, and other drugs
You will receive drug tests as part of your medical screening. Even a one-time, casual smoke with friends could prevent you from moving forward. Make sure you don’t use any form of nicotine or marijuana (including drops, edibles, oils, and vapes) from the time you begin your process until after your retrieval. Be sure to also avoid second-hand smoke and contact with vape oils, as they can sometimes result in a positive test. Additionally, other illegal or street drugs can either delay your ability to donate or disqualify you from being a donor. If you are unsure as to whether a drug will delay or disqualify you, be sure and ask your Donor Coordinator and/or Case Manager about it.
2. Respond in a timely manner and keep appointments
In the course of your egg donation journey, you will be communicating with many parties, including our agency, attorneys, and medical providers. It is critical that you check your email and voicemail daily and respond to messages as quickly as possible. If there is a method of communication that you prefer, please let your Case Manager know so that they can contact you in the best way possible!
Once you have set your appointments with the clinic, you must keep those appointments. A missed appointment could cause a disruption to the donation cycle which can be devastating for the intended parents. And if you experience any conflict surrounding the frequency or speed of contact with any party, let us know so that we can help mediate.
3. Avoid STI's
During your medical screening, you will be screened for STI's, including HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. It is very important that you avoid contracting STI's by using proper protection when engaging in sexual relations; use a condom when having sex, avoid sharing towels or underclothing, and wash before and after sex.
As with drugs, a positive result for an STI can either delay your ability to donate or disqualify you from being a donor.
4. Be conscious of your weight
Most fertility clinics will only work with donors whose BMI is below 28. Make sure to get an accurate, current measurement of your weight before we match you. If you are close to the BMI limit, it’s a good idea to monitor your weight regularly until your egg retrieval. Keep in mind that your weight may fluctuate by several pounds in a given day, so aim for being at least five pounds below the BMI limit.
5. Hold off on your next tattoo or piercing
We love your ink! And most intended parents don’t have any hesitation about working with a donor who has tattoos or piercings. However, in order to avoid delays with the medical clinic, it’s best to wait to get any new body modifications until after your retrieval.
6. If you don't have a bank account, consider getting one
Simply put, having a checking account makes it a lot easier to receive reimbursements from us!
7. Inform us of any travel plans
If you travel to any areas with active Zika virus, you will not be able to donate for six months from your return. Because the Zika virus is prevalent in many areas of the world, it is important that you inform us of any upcoming travel. You can check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to see where the Zika virus is currently active.
8. Update us with any schedule or availability changes
We want to make sure that we have the most current information about your availability. We know that things come up in life - whether it is a new job, returning to school, or any other changes that might make you unavailable for donation - it is important to let us know so that we can keep your profile updated and current.
Be sure and also let us know if you may be out of communication for whatever reason (see hint #2)!
9. Choose the right birth control
Certain methods of birth control can impact the timing of an egg donation cycle. Long-acting methods such as implants can cause delays at the fertility clinic, so it’s best not to switch to any of these methods once you’ve begun the process with us. Getting a Depo shot once you’ve started working with us will also cause delays.
10. Make sure you don't get pregnant
This might seem obvious, but it isn’t uncommon for potential donors to have to back out of our program because they got pregnant unexpectedly with a child of their own. Whether you are switching to a new birth control to prepare for your egg donation or using your regular method of contraception, make sure it’s a method that works for you, and contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
11. Keep us posted about breastfeeding
We want you and your baby to have as much time as you both want for breastfeeding. If you wind up nursing or pumping for longer than you originally planned, be sure to let us know so that we can adjust your timeline. You’ll need to be done nursing and have had at least two regular periods before you can be matched with an intended family.
12. Be Truthful
Are you worried that something might prevent you from moving forward or that it might upset your intended parents or us? It is always better to be completely up front and honest. One of our primary concerns as an agency is to support you and keep you safe, and we can offer help if we know what’s going on with you.
We hope you found these hints valuable! We will be posting more in-depth posts on some of these guidelines, so stay tuned if you're interested in learning more about why these requirements exist.