Egg and Sperm Donors: Who Are They?

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If you are thinking about using donor egg or donor sperm for your pregnancy, you probably have a lot of questions running through your mind. Some of them might be 1) Where will the egg or sperm come from? 2) Who will your future baby share part of their DNA with? 3) How can you be sure that the donation you get is the best quality?

Whether this is the first time you’ve looked into donation as a fertility option or if you’ve been researching for months, you may be interested to learn more about who makes the cut for donation and why.

Egg Donation

Although any woman of legal age can be an egg donor, egg donors have to meet very strict criteria and for every hundred that apply, only a small few are selected. In fact, many donor agencies and banks accept less than one percent of applicants.  Some of the criteria for donors include being healthy with no history of medical problems. Donors also have to pass psychological, medical, and genetic evaluations. In addition, there can be no substance abuse and no other high risk behaviors. And these are just some of the precautions that are taken to ensure that the donors have good quality viable eggs.

Of course there are also non-medical factors that go into whether to accept a donor.  For example, a person’s ethnicity or race or physical traits can play a role.  Certain minorities are going to be in higher demand than others.  Education is also a critical determinant in the application process. An egg donor that has a college degree from an Ivy League school or other top-tier university is more desirable. 

 So what makes a woman want to donate her eggs? What does she get out of it? For many egg donors, the experience of providing a family with the tools to grow is a huge motivator for donation. Some donors have had personal experiences with friends or family who used an egg donor in the past, and they feel the need to give back and contribute in the way that helps future families. Others want to help same-sex couples have the opportunity to build their families biologically in a way they may not otherwise be able to. For others, compensation plays a role in their decision to be a donor. The amount of compensation can range but is usually around $10,000. 

Compensation is an important part of egg donation because the process is difficult. Egg donors have to go through fertility treatments, take injections daily to stimulate their ovaries, and work closely with a doctor who monitors their health for a few weeks leading up to their extraction date. They then have to go through a procedure for their eggs to be extracted while under anesthesia.

Sperm Donation

Sperm donation is much easier than egg donation, but whether or not a sperm donor makes the cut can be just as competitive as the egg donation process.

There are many more applicants for sperm donation than egg donation, but those who are actually selected to donate make up just a tiny percentage. It’s critical that sperm donors also have no history of substance abuse or any health issues.  Like egg donors, sperm donors who are highly educated are more desirable.  Other things like racial background and physical traits are also taken into account. Many parents care deeply about having a connection to their future child, so having a shared racial background, or similar height or hair color to one of the parents, is a factor they consider when picking their donor. 

 Applicants also must have a high sperm count and have healthy sperm in order to be considered. Sperm banks will screen the donor’s samples to determine if it is high enough quality.  Sperm donors are also compensated but make far less than egg donors, receiving on average about $1,000 or more per month if they donate several times per month (Although it is easier for them to donate multiple times, there is a cap on how many times they are allowed to donate). 

A majority of sperm donors share the same sentiment egg donors do. Most care about helping infertile or same-sex couples build their families and hope that their contribution can one day help change someone’s life and give them a baby they’ve wanted so badly. Both egg and sperm donors are giving a part of themselves to help families build their dream lives. They understand that those who go through the process of seeking out and using their donation genuinely want to have a baby.

Going through the process of finding the right donor and beginning the journey of using that donation through IVF can seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be. At Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, we work closely with high quality banks and agencies that can help match prospective parents with donors that fit their specific needs. The banks and agencies we work with have rigorous standards to ensure that you get the healthiest eggs and sperm available and that you feel comfortable accessing the information you need to know about the donation process. We will help you set up a plan for your donation journey and guide you along the path of building your happy family! You can find out more by contacting our fertility specialists at (949) 516-0606, or if you’d like to book a free consultation with Dr. Rosencrantz, just click here. 

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