Egg Donor

Definition - What does Egg Donor mean?

An egg donor is a woman who provides her eggs in order for women with egg issues, single men, or gay male couples to have the opportunity to experience pregnancy, biological parenthood, or as an avenue to becoming parents outside of adoption. The egg recipient or a surrogate mother can become pregnant with donor egg in vitro fertilization (IVF).

FertilitySmarts explains Egg Donor

When women are the recipients, an egg donor can be used when a woman doesn’t have any eggs of her own (for example, her ovaries were previously removed, her ovaries were damaged in chemotherapy, or she underwent early menopause), doesn’t have enough eggs, has poor quality eggs, or has a genetic disorder that could be detrimental to pass on to her children. Egg and embryo donations account for roughly 18% of live births from IVF in the United States.

Egg donors can be known to the recipient, be completely anonymous, or be semi-anonymous, where a third-party takes care of any communication between the donor and the recipient. Egg banks will often provide demographic information about the donor to the recipient, such as height, weight, ethnicity, and academic performance. Women who donate their eggs often receive financial compensation.

For the egg retrieval process, the donor takes medication like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in order to cause her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then retrieved using an ultrasound-guided needle to remove the follicles in both ovaries.

The complications for an egg donor undergoing the donation process can include bleeding from the egg retrieval (the needle goes through the vaginal wall) and an adverse reaction to the hormones used to cause the ovaries to produce extra eggs. The latter can include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which can require hospitalization and, in rare cases, liver failure.

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