Ralph M. Tsong
Being an Egg Donor
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Interested in being an Egg Donor? Curious about what being an Egg Donor entails? If you answered yes to any of those two questions then continue reading below!
By: Ralph M. Tsong, Principal Attorney at Tsong Law Group
What is the egg donation process like?
Becoming an egg donor is a big decision that will leave an impact on both the egg donor and the intended parents. Egg donors have different reasons for making their decision; for some it’s about making a difference in someone else’s life, while for others the financial compensation might be the most appealing part. Whatever the reason, egg donation is a beautiful way to help others form a family. Asian egg donors are particularly sought after due to a large number of international Asian intended parents hoping to raise a child of the same racial background.
The Application Process
The egg donation process involves many steps and can last several months or even years from the initial application. The first step in the process is to apply to be an egg donor. Potential egg donors should reach out to fertility clinics and/or egg donation agencies to ask about their application process. A majority of facilities will have online applications available for those who are interested in becoming egg donors. The donor applications typically ask the potential donor to provide information such as her age, BMI, and details about her overall health. The ideal egg donor will be between the ages of 19 and 29, have a healthy body mass index (BMI), and have no serious health problems. Following the application, selected applicants will have a more detailed assessment done by an assigned case worker or nurse, depending on the type of facility they applied to. It is during this assessment that donors are asked about any drug or alcohol abuse, reproductive history, and any criminal history. This information is used to determine egg donor eligibility. If an applicant is eligible, the facility will start to create her egg donor profile that will be viewed by potential intended parent matches. The donor’s profile will include information such as her eye color, hair color, height, educational background, and other characteristics meant to help prospective parents learn more about her.
The Legal Process
Once the clinic or agency has a match with intended parents to the egg donor, a legal contract will be drawn up between the two parties. This legal contract will ensure that the intended parents have full ownership of the eggs and custody of any children that born from the eggs, and the egg donor has no responsibility, custody or visitation of the children or control over the eggs retrieved during the process. In many cases, the actual identity of the egg donor remains anonymous, as does the intended parents’ identity. However, the contracts often allow the egg donor to be notified if a child is born from the eggs, and may allow the agency to contact the egg donor if medical information is needed from the egg donor or if there is a hereditary disease that the egg donor may be in a position to assist treatment.
Prior to proceeding, a psychologist or social worker will psychologically screen the donor and a medical clinic will make sure that the donor is tested for infectious diseases, and prepare the donor for the egg retrieval. The egg donor will need to use self-injectable hormonal medicine to help her ovaries create plenty of eggs for optimal chances of healthy egg retrieval. When the doctor believes the donor’s eggs are ready to be retrieved, he or she will surgically remove the eggs from her ovaries. The surgery involves a conscious sedative and typically only lasts a few minutes but the donor will need to rest and recover for a couple of hours. The eggs will typically be frozen and stored at the intended parents’ expense for later use.
In the past, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines recommended egg donors be compensated no more than $10,000 per egg retrieval cycle. This guidance has been retracted. Repeat or highly educated donors often command more than $10,000. The egg donor will usually receive some medical insurance to cover the egg donation process. Compensation may be paid at the end of the egg retrieval, or sometimes in multiple parts. The egg donor may also receive travel expenses, lost wages, and dropped cycle fees.
Can someone donate eggs if they are not authorized to work in the US?
The answer is unclear. Income from an egg donor contract has been found as taxable, and if you do not have work authorization, you may be violating the terms of your visa. You should talk with an immigration attorney or a tax specialist.
The information provided is intended to give a general idea of what the egg donation process is like. A woman’s experience will vary depending on and the facility she chooses to work with and her personal circumstances. A woman considering donating her eggs should read about the risks and side effects of egg donation, or consult with her doctor.
What about private egg donation?
Sometimes a friend or a family member will help someone experiencing infertility with an egg donation. This is sometimes called an altruistic egg donation. No egg donor agency needs to be involved in an altruistic egg donation, however, a legal contract between the parties is required. Tsong Law Group handles the drafting of egg donor contracts and representation of intended parents and of egg donors.
If you or someone you know needs a recommendation to an egg donor agency, you can contact Tsong Law Group for a free referral. Simply fill out the form on our contact page!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal or medical advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.