You are at a point in time where you’re thinking carefully about your priorities and goals in life. Doing something altruistic, such as donating your eggs, may sound appealing to you, especially when it involves getting to freeze eggs for yourself through our Split program. The only question is whether or not you qualify for the program.
It's true; in order to split your eggs with intended parents (donating half of the eggs retrieved) as part of our Split Program, you must meet specific qualifications. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established eligibility rules to help ensure that any tissue donors are free of infectious disease risk factors. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has also set up guidelines to help protect everyone involved. While it might sound like hoops to jump through now, these qualifications are guardrails that benefit everyone in the longer-term.
Here’s a peek at the qualifications we look for before accepting a candidate into our Split program.
Your age is the single most important determining factor in your fertility outlook. Cofertility’s Split program requires that you are at least 21 and no older than 34, as ASRM guidelines recommend.
It is worth noting that, the older you are, the more challenging it may be for you to produce more eggs during a cycle.
In addition to age, your ovarian reserve will also be checked to help ensure you have enough eggs available. They will look at your anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) level as one indicator of ovarian reserve and how well you might respond to ovary-stimulating medication. This is done with a simple blood test at the time of your physical exam once you’ve matched with a family.
Medical and family history
This may sound like a no-brainer, but women must be considered “in good health” to qualify. We’ll need to get a sense of your medical history and will work with a clinic to perform a thorough physical examination and check for chronic conditions or infectious diseases.
Not surprisingly, many of these factors are even codified in FDA rules. Overall, our Split Program screening process is designed to ensure that the following factors aren’t missed:
- Any severe hereditary conditions that could impact the child’s health
- Any history over the past five years of risky sexual behavior
- Any indication that your significant other is involved in risky behavior
- Cigarette smoking—even second hand smoke can impact a donation
Most important of all, we want to make sure you are interested in donating for the right reasons. The psychological screening will help verify that you are psychologically fit and informed about the potential medical and psychological risks involved with donating your eggs.
Before donating your eggs, ASRM recommends undergoing an evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. Through our Split program, this takes place after matching with a family and before undergoing your physical screening.
You should come prepared to discuss your educational background, work history, and financial stability. You should also be prepared to go deep; it may feel personal, but you should expect to discuss why you want to donate your eggs and be ready to share your sexual history, substance use, and any mental health issues or psychiatric disorders. The screening psychologist will also talk to you about any mental health issues that may run in your immediate family.
All Split Members will need to undergo screening for genetic conditions. This is to ensure that you are not a carrier for heritable conditions like cystic fibrosis, thalassemia, and spinal muscular atrophy. If you and the intended parent both carry the same genetic condition, it would be unsafe to create fertilized embryos from your eggs as this could result in children with chronic medical conditions.
In addition to the above conditions, ASRM recommends that everyone is screened for Fragile X syndrome genes, especially if there are family members with an intellectual disability. You may also be asked to undergo screening for other specific genetic conditions if it is known that the intended parents also carry this gene.
After these steps, you’ll undergo a physical evaluation to help ensure that you are free of any issues that may complicate the egg donation or retrieval process. If you want to participate in our Split program, your ovaries must be healthy, and you must not have any signs of endometriosis or pelvic disease. This exam will take place either at your local clinic or that of the Intended Parents.
According to FDA requirements, agencies will look at your medical records. You will also need to undergo laboratory testing to ensure no signs of any contagious diseases.
More specifically, You will undergo screening for the following:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
- Treponema pallidum
Summing it up
We know. That’s a lot of screening! But we—and the Cofertility community—are here to guide you through every single step. By donating your eggs, you’re doing something amazing for a family in need. We’re here to make the process feel equally amazing for you.