Question: If I become an egg donor, will I be able to have my own kids in the future?
One of the most common misconceptions about egg donation is that it will affect your own ability to have children in the future. Indeed, in speaking with our egg donors, almost all of them said that this was initially their biggest worry about becoming an egg donor. This is a very real and understandable concern. However, current science behind egg donation and women’s fertility tells a different story than what is commonly believed.
When donating eggs, the donor on average donates about 10-20 eggs. Compare this number to the one to two million eggs that a woman is born with – there are certainly plenty of eggs leftover! Women naturally lose a significant number of eggs as they age, and a woman will never use up all of her eggs anyway.
What about the medication/hormones that the donor receives?
The medication the donor is given during the egg donation process is very similar to the hormones produced by the body naturally during menstruation. During each menstrual cycle, follicles (fluid-filled sacs) are produced by the ovaries that contain immature eggs. Usually, only one follicle will develop into a mature egg to be released for ovulation. The medication simply helps the donor’s follicles grow and produce more mature eggs.
Can’t the egg donation process cause infertility?
The idea that donating eggs can cause infertility is not backed by current science. Like any other medical procedure, egg donation can cause infection, bleeding, ovarian torsion, and other possible complications, but infertility is not one of them.
It is very normal to worry about the effect of egg donation on fertility. Many of our donors had similar concerns before, but after doing further research, they felt much better about the process. As Donor IS* said,
I think my biggest worry was if it would affect my fertility long-term – that would be something I would want to know about obviously… But I did a lot of my own research so I went online and read about the egg donation process and I talked to other egg donors who’d done it before so all of that made me feel a little more calm about it, just hearing how all of these folks had had pretty good experiences.
Similarly, Donor TY* said that one of the things she learned about egg donation was that women have many eggs, and women who decide to donate their eggs can donate multiple times and still go on to have their own children:
I thought I’m not going to be using them so maybe somebody else might want to… Obviously, our bodies are meant to reproduce, and I’m not using that function of my body right now [and] that’s totally fine. It will be a few years down the line before I consider doing that.
In conclusion, science so far does not provide any evidence that donating eggs affects one’s own fertility long-term.
Further reading: Stoop, D., M.D. (2012). Effect of ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval on reproductive outcome in oocyte donors. Fertility and Sterility, 97(6), 1328-1330.
*Initials used for privacy reasons