Egg donation is the process by which a woman donates her eggs (those that have matured that month) to enable another woman to conceive through the process of IVF at a fertility clinic. This does not remove future stocks of eggs from a donor, only those that are already “ripe” and essentially going to waste if the donor is not looking to have a baby just yet.
Most people donate their eggs as an act of generosity, to help another family have a baby, but it’s something to note that as an egg donor, you will be paid R7000 for your time and effort each time you donate, which can be up to six times.
In this post we discuss all the ins and outs of egg donation – egg donor application, what criteria our donors need to match, how the process of donating eggs works, how much you’ll get paid if you decide to donate your eggs, our egg donation agencies and more.
Who can become an egg donor?
Our egg donors need to meet the following requirements:
- You must be between the ages of 19 and 29.
- You must have a normal BMI.
- You must not have a family history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Additionally, you will see our social worker or psychologist and a doctor for a full consultation, a scan and blood tests. You will be screened for the following:
- HIV I & II antibodies
- RPR (Syphilis)
- Hepatitis B surface antigen
- Hepatitis C antibodies
- CMV IgM
- AMH (anti-Mullerian hormone) – indicating ovarian reserve
- Blood Group
- Cystic Fibrosis
Sometimes your recipient may request additional blood tests. The pros are that you will now know if you are a carrier of a genetic disease. And even better news? There are no cons! The testing is done using one blood sample, and at no cost to you.
Why would I become an egg donor?
Becoming an egg donor takes some time, and dedication, but apart from that the process can be beneficial in many ways. For one, you’ll be able to check up on the health of your fertility and pick up on potential genetic diseases or disorders you may have at no cost to you.
Secondly, and as previously mentioned, all of our donors are paid R7000 each time they make a donation. While we don’t pay you directly for the eggs, we do compensate you R7000 for the time and effort you put in for each round of donation.
Being an egg donor gives you the opportunity to help someone start their family! Egg donation plays an important role for LGBTI+ couples achieving their dreams of starting their families as donation is the only way some couples can experience pregnancy. The biggest benefit of egg donating is knowing that you made a big difference in someone else’s dreams to become parents.
Besides heterosexual couples struggling with infertility, LGBTQI+ couples and single men can make use of egg donors along with help from a surrogate, if needed, to start their families.
Lastly, and most importantly, is the same reason we do what we do. Yes we are a business and we earn a living from assisting people to start a family, but at the end of the day the reason behind why we do what we do is simple; life is beautiful, and helping to make new life happen is a beautiful thing.
How does the egg donation process work?
You are born with more or less 500 000 eggs, which you start accessing at puberty. Each month your body recruits a few eggs and from among them the strongest one is then selected to mature. The other eggs, not chosen, fall away. The chosen egg is released into your fallopian tube to potentially be fertilised. If the egg is not fertilised, it is flushed out during your period.
During an egg donation cycle medication is administered so that the body does not discard any of the eggs that your body recruits and uses each month, so that instead of having one follicle (chosen egg) mature, ALL of the follicles (recruited eggs) are allowed to mature. Just before the natural release during ovulation, you will come into the clinic for an egg retrieval where all of the mature eggs will be collected. Your eggs will then go on to help someone start their family, while you will continue to menstruate and ovulate as you did before. It is important to note that egg donation does not take eggs from your reserve, but rather collects the eggs that would have naturally been discarded by your body in a monthly cycle.
Does egg donation hurt?
Eggs are not “cut out” during the process of donation, as some might believe. The process is actually minimally invasive, and any mild pain that could potentially arise is very well managed by our specialist team. We will do everything in our power to make sure that your comfort and wellbeing are put first.
Some people experience PMS symptoms but really nothing more than what some women experience each month. These may include moodiness, tender breasts, feeling bloated or mild headaches but may already be symptoms you are very familiar with as part of your monthly menstruation. You won’t have to take time away from work or change your lifestyle, and can continue as normal whilst you donate.
Any small adjustments to your routine, or possible side-effects of the process will be discussed with you in detail before any of the procedures are undertaken and you are always free to ask questions at any point.
Can I fall pregnant after donating my eggs?
It is a common misconception or myth that donating eggs will negatively effect your fertility, “stealing” eggs from your supply and stopping you from having children one day but this is incorrect. In fact, donating eggs does not take eggs from your future supply, only the ones that are already ready, and about to go to waste. Of the 500 000 eggs that the average female is born with, only between 4 and 13 “follicles” are released each month. These are the only eggs that are extracted during the donation process, leaving your future eggs right where they are inside you, ready to be released in your future cycles.
As for the process of egg donation negatively impacting your fertility–it is unlikely in the extreme. In fact, donors are cautioned to take measures against falling pregnant whilst on a donation cycle, as fertility is increased whilst on the medications used during the donation process.
Donating eggs might actually be good for your future efforts at starting a family, because it is an opportunity to assess your own reproductive health at no expense. Overall, the donation process allows a woman to take ownership of her reproductive health, learn more about her body and embrace the different decisions we can make about our bodies.
Why is BMI important in fertility:
Body Mass Index (BMI) is worked out by taking a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in meters. A BMI that falls higher than average might indicate a person being overweight, whilst a BMI below normal parameters might indicate a person being underweight.
Women with a high BMI have lower success rates from IVF, it can also affect how you respond to fertility medications and the quality of your eggs. Women with a high BMI also have a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Fat cells store sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone (the “male” hormone, which is also in women.) If you have excess fat cells, you’ll also have excess storage of these hormones.
Teenage and adult women who are underweight or athletic might not have an ideal number of fat cells from a reproductive standpoint. In response, their fat cells may produce an anti-estrogen that causes the reproductive system to shut down, and they may stop menstruating altogether. Even if they are menstruating, their cycles may be irregular or they may not be ovulating. For women who are overweight, their fat cells produce estriol, which is a weak estrogen. This leads to having too much circulating estrogen which can lead to poor fertility.
Egg Donation agencies:
For more info on the egg donation process, or if you would like to apply to become an egg donor, please visit our egg donation agency pages:
Alternatively, you can contact our egg donation co-ordinator at