Basic Qualification Criteria
- Women between the ages of 21 to 32 with good overall health
- Body mass index (BMI) between 18 to 28 (Calculate your BMI)
- College education preferred
- Live or work within 1 hour of one of our full service locations
The decision to become an egg donor with Shady Grove Fertility is not one to be taken lightly. Guidelines are strict and only 3 percent of women who apply to become an egg donor complete the actual egg donation. Although the process may require time and dedication, the reward for helping a family is immeasurable.
Some of the required sections a potential donor must complete on the donor application include: detailed family and personal health history, physical characteristics, education, and dreams and aspirations. We share each of these required sections with prospective donor egg recipients.
Apply to donate
In order for Shady Grove Fertility to consider you for egg donation, you must complete the pre-qualification form. Within 24 hours of applying, we will notify you whether you have been accepted to take the next steps. If pre-approved, we will provide you with a link and password to begin filling out the formal application known as your Donor Profile.
The donor profile is the only piece of information egg donor recipients will have about you. Once complete, it will contain your personal and family medical history, personal essays, childhood photos (and adult photos should you choose to share them), and more. We recommend dedicating time to complete your donor profile in order to ensure that it is accurate. Donors with comprehensive and well-thought-out profiles have a higher chance of being accepted as an egg donor and selected by recipients. We understand this is a comprehensive and detailed application, so the program will save any information you enter into this profile, enabling you to save and come back at a later day to complete your profile. Once you receive access to begin the profile (sent via email), you will have 3 months to complete it before your account is suspended.
Once you submit your profile, you will not have the ability to make changes so be sure to fill it out completely and accurately.
When filling out your donor profile, be honest and be you. Everyone is unique, everyone has a story, and everyone is special. Something you enjoy or something that makes you unique might be exactly what a recipient is looking for. So take time to complete the application in its entirety and to focus on your personal statements. The questions offer the unique opportunity to share with recipients more about you. No matter what recipients are looking for, they all want a donor who has taken the time to complete her application in full, provided good-quality photos, and answer the essay questions as thoroughly as possible.
If you receive approval to become an egg donor at SGF, congratulations and thank you! We will upload your donor profile into a secure database for potential recipients to review. The donor profile is the only document and information recipients will receive about their egg donor.
Donor screening is an imperative step in the donation process. It begins with baseline hormone testing and a transvaginal ultrasound to measure your hormone levels and potential egg count. These screening results determine your eligibility to continue with the donation process. Screening is typically conducted on days 2, 3, or 4 of your menstrual cycle if you are not currently on any form of hormonal contraception. For those women who are on birth control pills or those using the patch or NuvaRing, this is typically done on the seventh day of your placebo.
Donor Day is a full-day appointment in which you will meet with one of the Shady Grove Fertility nurse practitioners to review your baseline testing results, complete additional testing, and learn about the donation process. You are welcome and encouraged to bring your partner, spouse, or parent to this comprehensive and educational visit.
You will complete the written portion of your psychological evaluation on Donor Day. If the evaluation comes back approved, you will schedule an in-person appointment with a mental health professional. If you are in a relationship, your partner or spouse will need to attend the psychological evaluation with you.
Once you receive both medical and psychological clearance as outlined above, Shady Grove Fertility will upload your profile into our active donor database. The time frame for a recipient to select you can take anywhere from a few days to a few months. Donors who complete comprehensive profiles and provide high-quality pictures have a higher chance of being matched quickly.
THE DONATION PROCESS
Upon being selected as an anonymous egg donor, your nurse will contact you to complete the stimulation cycle. Your nurse will first synchronize your cycle with the recipient's cycle using birth control pills. Synchronization takes 3 to 4 weeks.
For the ovarian stimulation process, you will learn to give yourself daily injections of hormones, often administered in the thigh or belly, for 2 to 3 weeks with a small needle. These medications will stimulate your ovaries to produce and grow a larger quantity of eggs than the usual one that your body ovulates each month. The injections are simple to administer and have side effects similar to what you experience during your period. During the stimulation cycle, you will come to one of our full-service offices for monitoring appointments to ensure medications are working well and the dosing is an appropriate amount. This ensures your safety as an egg donor.
A physician will perform your egg retrieval procedure at one of Shady Grove Fertility's ambulatory surgery centers (ASC) in Rockville, MD; Towson, MD; or Chesterbrook, PA. On the morning of your egg retrieval, a physician will meet with you before the procedure to review your protocol. You will also meet with an anesthetist who will review your medical history and administer the intravenous fluid you will receive prior to the start of the procedure to induce sleep.
The egg retrieval itself takes about 20 to 30 minutes. During the procedure, the physician will guide a needle into each ovary to remove the egg-containing fluid in each follicle. The physician utilizes an ultrasound during the procedure to see where to guide the needle. Recovery will take about 30 minutes and you will be able to walk out on your own, although someone will need to drive you home since you will have been under anesthesia.
How long does the egg donation process take?
While it is difficult to give an exact time frame, from the start of the application process through the egg retrieval/donation, the average cycle will range from 4 to 6 months. This includes the screening and evaluation to become an egg donor, followed by the actual egg donation treatment cycle.
How are donors selected to begin the testing phase?
You must first submit the official application (your donor profile) to become an egg donor. It is important you make every possible attempt to answer all questions thoroughly and try to get accurate family medical histories. The donor liaisons not only assess the profile for completeness, including review of your medical history, but also to help determine if the donor applicant meets our recipients' needs.
If your donor profile clears this portion of the recruitment process, the next step will be for one of our certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) to review your profile and give the initial medical approval to continue with screening. The CRNP may ask for additional information or clarification or decide that the donor should not continue with screening.
How often will I need to miss work or class?
Not often. Donor Day and the day of the egg retrieval are the only appointments where you will absolutely need to request a day off from work or plan to miss classes. You may also need to take time away from work or class to consult with one of our licensed mental health professionals; however, they work very closely with you and your schedule. We conduct the remaining appointments for lab work and ultrasounds early each morning from about 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., allowing you to schedule your appointment before normal working hours.
What effects will the medication have on my body?
The hormone injections that you take are very similar to the hormones that your body produces naturally. Most women do not describe any noted effects directly from the medications. During Donor Day, you will receive a detailed explanation of potential risks and side effects.
How are medications administered?
One of our nurses will teach you how to administer your medications by using a very small needle to inject the medication into the fatty part of your abdomen.
If I donate now, will I be able to have children in the future?
There is no research supporting any adverse effect on your current or future fertility. Many of our donors who have never had children before go on to have children of their own.
Must I have had a child previously to be considered for egg donation?
No. Whether you have had no children or you have had multiple children, you are welcome to pursue this endeavor.
Can I donate more than once?
If one of our physicians approves you to donate again, you may donate up to six times in your lifetime. Approximately 60 percent of cycling donors in any given month are repeat donors. About 2 months following your egg retrieval, a donor team physician will review your donation cycle and the recipient outcomes to determine your future eligibility. This review process can take up to 8 weeks. The Egg Donor Liaison will contact you, update any consent forms, and upload your profile back into the donor database. As long as all labs are up to date according to our protocol, you can go back on the database immediately.
Where are your offices located?
Shady Grove Fertility has a variety of locations throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Can I still donate if I do not live in these areas?
We recruit donors who live within an hour drive of one of our 18 full-service offices. If you are unsure if you live within range, please contact one of our Egg Donor Liaisons to discuss your situation.
What will the recipient know about me?
Recipients will only receive non-identifying information conveyed by you in your donor profile. We do not disclose any identifying information to the recipients. To protect your anonymity, please omit children's names, names of colleges, workplace, location of volunteer work, etc., from your donor profile. We also recommend reviewing your profile again before you submit to check for spelling/grammar errors or issues with consistency of information.
Will I be able to meet or talk to the recipient(s)? Can I know if they got pregnant?
No. We are an anonymous program, therefore we do not allow communication between our donors and recipients. Once you have donated your eggs, you no longer have rights to them or to any information regarding their disposition. Following the egg retrieval, the eggs belong to the recipient(s). It would be a violation of their privacy if we shared information with you.
Must I show my adult photograph?
No. While we do allow donors the option of showing their current photograph in their profile, it is not a requirement. Many of our donors continue to display only their childhood photographs. It is at your complete discretion. Please make sure the photos you submit are not on any social media website, for the sake of anonymity.
Can I tell others about my decision to donate?
We encourage you to discuss your decision to donate with your family and friends.
I recommended a friend for donation. Do you offer a referral bonus?
Yes. For any friend/family member you refer who is accepted as an egg donor, you will receive $50. If that same friend completes an egg retrieval, you will receive $100. Referrals are always welcome. Please be sure to advise your friend/relative applying to list you as their referral source.
We recognize that your decision to become an egg donor is a tremendous gift, but we agree with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) that participants cannot be "paid" for their oocytes/eggs. However, it is clearly recognized that your time, effort, and commitment should be compensated. The total compensation for a completed cycle is $7,000 for first-time donors. This amount is paid out in phases as you progress through each portion of the screening and donation process:
- We provide the initial stipend of $50 after the completion of the donor profile, blood test, and ultrasound. Women, regardless of whether they are accepted or denied at this point, will receive $50 for their time.
- Upon the completion of attending Donor Day and meeting with a counselor, Shady Grove Fertility will provide a stipend of $450 to women who are accepted into the program and $200 for women who are not accepted.
- At the completion of the donation cycle, donors will receive the final stipend of $6,500.
- Donors completing a second donation will receive $7,500 upon completion of the donation cycle and $8,000 for each additional cycle (we allow up to a total of six donations).