Becoming an Egg Donor

To be an egg donor, you need to be between the ages of 25-35 and in good health. It is preferable that you have completed your own family. Our clinic is located at Greenlane Clinical Centre, Auckland. You will need to be able to attend multiple appointments at our clinic, so if you don’t live in Auckland you need to be able to travel.

Who uses donor eggs?

Donor eggs are used by women who:

  • Are unable to produce their own eggs
  • Have very low numbers of eggs or poor-quality eggs
  • Have genetic disorders that may affect a future child
  • Have had treatment such as chemotherapy, which stops the functioning of the ovaries

The pre-donation process

Initially you will be required to have some tests to make sure you are suitable to become an egg donor.  You will need to have blood tests for E2, FSH and AMH (these are hormones that measure ovarian function) and also HIV and Hepatitis B and C.  You will have a saliva swab to see if you are a genetic carrier for Cystic Fibrosis and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. You also need to have an up to date smear and cervical swabs.

Your partner (if applicable) will also need to have blood test for HIV, Hepatitis B and C. 

You need to complete medical questionnaires and have an appointment with one of the doctors at Fertility Plus. The doctor will assess your medical suitability as a donor and will cover your personal and family history.  They will also discuss the physical implications of egg donation. 

You, and your partner (if applicable), will need to attend a counselling session with a Fertility Plus counsellor to discuss the social, emotional, legal and ethical, and implications relating to egg donation. 

You will need to complete consent forms and documents with non-identifying information about yourself. 

Six months after the initial blood test you need to have a repeat blood test for HIV and Hepatitis B and C.  Once the results have been received from this test the egg collection process can begin. 

The egg collection process and procedure

In order to stimulate the ovaries into producing mature eggs you will need to inject yourself with fertility drugs. The injections are usually done in the evening and need to be done every day for approximately 10-12 days. You can do these injections yourself or ask someone else to do them for you.  You will be shown exactly how to do the injection by a Fertility Plus nurse.

To monitor the ovarian response to the drugs you will need to have several blood tests and vaginal ultrasound scans.

Once the eggs have developed you will have the egg collection procedure. This is usually performed under light sedation at Fertility Plus. A needle is passed through the vagina and into the ovary to collect the eggs. This procedure usually takes about 30 minutes and you will be required to remain in the unit for approximately 2 hours after the collection for rest and monitoring.

Risks and side effects

It is important to remember that any medical or surgical treatment has risks and side effects and that many women experience no side effects at all.  Anyone taking medication for any reason should be aware of possible side effects and should report adverse effects to those managing their treatment. The drugs used to stimulate the ovaries can have side effects including headaches, skin dryness, hot flushes, breast tenderness, slight nausea and dizziness. These are temporary and the side effects will stop at the completion of the treatment. 

In a small number of cases some women may over-respond to the fertility drugs and develop more eggs than expected. This condition is referred to as Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), and may be associated with enlarged ovaries, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness. Alternatively, some women under-respond to fertility drugs and develop fewer eggs than expected.  In the case of over- or under-response the fertility specialist may decide to stop the treatment if he/she thinks it is in the best interests of the patient.

The legal implications

Under the Status of Children Amendment Act of 1987, the egg donor does not have any legal rights or liabilities towards children born as a result of their donations. 

The Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act 2004 gives all children born as a result of donation the right to access information about their genetic origins. This means that the recipient parents could access the donors personal details up until a resulting child turns 18 years old, at this point a resulting child is able to access this information independently. A resulting child can also apply to access the information earlier in some cases. Therefore any information given by you at the time of donation will be kept on record at Fertility Plus and also sent to the confidential HART register held at Births, Deaths and Marriages. Often if the recipient or donor offspring wish to know the identity of and more information about their donor, they will contact the clinic and this will be facilitated through the clinic counsellors

Reimbursement for clinic donors

We are legally unable to pay for egg donation; however clinic egg donors can receive $1500 reimbursement for expenses if they wish.  This is billed to the recipients and is given after the donation is completed. This will be given in the form of petrol vouchers. 

The reimbursement fee applies to all recipients of egg donation – those using a personal egg donor or clinic provided egg donor, and those having either public or private treatment, unless you do not wish to receive it.

The set fee to recipients is in place to cover expenses incurred by the donor during the process of egg donation.  Please note that you are legally not allowed to pay a donor or offer them any other incentive to donate.  The reimbursement of expenses can be offered and administered by the clinic. 

If the egg donor lives out of town and requires flights and accommodation in order to donate or have related treatment, then these costs to recipients are in addition to the donor reimbursement fee.

The reimbursement comes in the form of petrol vouchers to the value of $1500 - we are unable to give cash. The egg donor coordinator will facilitate giving these vouchers to the egg donor on the day of egg collection. If a cycle is stopped for medical reasons before the egg collection, the donor will receive $750 of reimbursement vouchers.

If the recipient is going through private treatment, then in addition to the donor reimbursement fee, the recipient pays for all of the donors, and their own recipient medical and treatment costs.  This includes medical and counselling appointments as well as screening tests, and storage of embryos created.  

Thank you for your interest in becoming an egg donor, if you have any further questions or would like to proceed to the next steps, please contact the Fertility Plus egg donor co-ordinator