A Little Education Goes A Long Long Way…
“What do you mean the donor I painstakingly selected can’t donate with your clinic!?!”
“I am sorry, but this donor as donated six times, and ASRM guidelines state that donors should donate no more than six times in their reproductive life, and this clinic adheres to ASRM guidelines. You are going to have to find another egg donor, I am so sorry.”
The patient held the telephone in her hand and she blinked, she had no words. This scenario was incomprehensible to her. Finally when she found her voice she said:
“Why didn’t you tell me this BEFORE I selected my donor?”
The patient hung up and cried. And cried. And cried some more.
The above should never have happened – and I mean ever. It’s a tough enough journey as it is to go through the shots, the tests, the transfer, the waiting – oh my gosh the waiting. But to be told that the egg donor you agonized over can’t donate for you because she’s maxed out and no one told you the magic number.
Who’s to blame?
It would be nice to point the finger and say – “It’s the clinic’s fault for not telling me.” Or “It’s the agencies fault for even having her up there in the first place.” But really you can’t blame anyone – but you can become an educated consumer.
Here are the basics about egg donors:
The following is a list of important qualities to look for in a potential egg donor. Ideally, egg donors should:
Be between the ages of 21 and 30** and exhibit maturity, responsibility, and dependability
Be in good physical health as documented by history and testing
Be in good psychological health as documented by history and testing
Be of proportionate height and weight [being overweight may affect egg quality, as well as necessitate higher doses of stimulation drugs to create follicles, which translates to additional costs for the recipient/intended parent(s)]
Be drug free
Be a non-smoker of tobacco and marijuana
Have regular menstrual periods and is not using Depo–Provera
Have an FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) level on cycle day three (3) of no more than eight (8), preferably under six (6)
Have an E2 (Estradiol) level on cycle day three (3) of less than fifty (50)
Have an Antral follicle count*** of at least fifteen (15) combined count.
** Donors younger than 21 may not be emotionally mature; donors older than 30 are not at peak fertility. Always follow your reproductive endocrinologist’s advice regarding age.
***Antral follicles are small follicles (about 2-8 mm in diameter) that a reproductive endocrinologist can see, measure, and count with ultrasound. Antral follicles are also referred to as resting follicles. Vaginal ultrasound is the best way to accurately assess and count these small structures. The antral follicle counts (in conjunction with female age) are by far the best tool that we currently have for estimating ovarian reserve and/or chances for pregnancy with donor eggs through IVF.
In the United States due to the risk of infectious disease, if you are an egg donor you have to wait six months to one year after receiving a tattoo or body piercing before she can donate. In some instances if the egg donor has written and signed proof that the tattoo was administered with disposable needles, then she doesn’t have to wait the usual six months to a year to donate your eggs. Most tattoos clinics do use disposable needles to donating after a tattoo should not be a problem.
An egg donor is not eligible to donate her eggs if she falls under any of the following criteria:
Persons who spent 3 months or more cumulatively in the United Kingdom from 1980 through the end of 1996.
Persons who are current or former US Military members or civilian military or dependents of a military member or civilian employee who resided at US military bases in Northern Europe (Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands) for 6 months or more cumulatively from 1980 through 1990 or elsewhere in Europe (Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Italy) for 6 months or more cumulatively from 1980 through 1996.
Persons who spent 5 years or more cumulatively in Europe from 1980 until present (including time spent in the UK from 1980 through 1996).
Persons who received any transfusion of blood or blood components in the UK or France between 1980 through present.
Persons or their sexual partners who were born in certain countries in Africa (Cameroon, Central Africa, Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger, or Nigeria) after 1977. Or, persons who have received a blood transfusion or any medical treatment that involved blood in the countries listed in this paragraph.
Has the egg donor spent more than 6 (six) months cumulatively in any of the following countries from 1982 through current? If so, then she is ineligible:
Albania Austria Belgium Bosnia-Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Liechtenstein Luxembourg Macedonia Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom Yugoslavia.
United Kingdom includes the following: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands.
These are the kinds of things Mom’s and Dad’s to be starting out don’t typically know. And why should they? This is the job of the egg donation agency and the clinic.
However, I am of the opinion that it’s always a good thing to be informed – as it saves a lot of heartache in the long run.