What is Egg Donation? The Procedure, Regulation, Religious Views, Cost, and Complications

FlyToTreat/Articles/ What is Egg Donation? The Procedure, Regulation, Religious Views, Cost, and Complications


Having a baby is one of the greatest joys of life for almost every person. We go to work, and deal with all the social and economic issues knowing that we see our children smile when we are back home. Unfortunately, pregnancy may not happen for many couples without getting the help of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Sometimes the reason behind not getting pregnant is a defect in egg quality. In such cases, undergoing the egg donation process can be a reasonable option for having a child.

Donor eggs can be a precious gift to couples whose only chance of pregnancy is through the help of a volunteer woman who is willing to donate her eggs. Then the egg is fertilized in a laboratory environment using in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is also a practical solution for male couples or single men who want to have a baby using donated eggs and a surrogate.


What is Egg Donation?


Egg donation is a third-party reproduction as a type of assisted reproductive technology in which a donor provides eggs to a recipient in order to make conceiving happen. The recipient can be the intended parent or a surrogate who carries the embryo for the intended mother.

Ovum donation involves using in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology, so the egg is fertilized in the laboratory. The unfertilized eggs can be frozen and kept for future use. Egg donation can happen to help someone like a relative or friend or it may happen just for receiving compensation.

Who might Consider Using an Egg Donor?

Who might Consider Using an Egg Donor?


Oocyte donation is used to help women who cannot have a child on their own. This could happen due to different reasons like:

  • Not having ovaries
  • Menopause
  • Not responding adequately to ovaries stimulation
  • Poor egg quality
  • Having a genetic disease that you do not want to pass on


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Who can become an Egg Donor?

Egg donors should be between 21 and 34 who are interested in providing their eggs to a recipient. Donors can be among relatives and friends or a stranger who can remain known or unknown to the recipient. The recipient can find donors through ovum donation programs or agencies that are working in this field. No matter where you have found the donor, she should be screened carefully before donation.


Egg Donation Procedure

The egg donation process takes about two months and has some steps. The major steps are described below.

  • Consultation: in the beginning, couples should consult with their doctor about all the reproductive options and their physical and psychological consequences. If they decide to proceed with oocyte donation, the intended mother will be instructed about how to do the preparation attempts for hosting the embryo.
  • Donor Selection: in general, donors should be between 21 and 34 and they should be in good health condition. Donors are all screened before they are accepted as a donors. They go through physical exams, ultrasound, blood and urine tests, psychological evaluations, etc.

If you are undergoing the process through FlytoTreat, it will help you make the best decision and choose a perfect donor. You can review the profiles of donors to know about their medical background and choose a donor that best fits you.  

  • Medications & Synchronization: on the first 10-14 days of the ova donation cycle, the donor will be given hormonal medications and injections to help stimulate the ovaries to mature more eggs. The donor will be instructed to administer the shots herself. The donor’s hormones may also be checked by blood tests. In addition, the donor and recipient’s cycles need to be synchronized so that the recipient’s uterus be ready for the embryo implantation. for this aim, birth control pills may be ordered.
  • Egg Retrieval: after the eggs are matured, the donor would receive a trigger shot of hCG and in 34 to 36 hours, the egg retrieval process happens. The donor often puts on light anesthesia and the doctor uses a probe with a fine needle under the ultrasound guidance. The needle carefully suctions the eggs out of the ovaries over 15 to 20 minutes. This process can take a half-day hospitalization and then the donor can go back home.
  • Egg Donation Recovery: due to sedation, you may feel dazed. Therefore, you have to stay in hospital as long as you are completely awakened. Your doctor will instruct you the kind of procedure you need to follow during the recovery period. It is better to take it easy and rest after the retrieval procedure.

Egg Donation Procedure

Egg Donation Procedure for Donors


  • Filling an Application form: in the first step, future egg donors need to attend fertility centers and fill out an application form. This form contains a detailed questionnaire about your medical background, common diseases running in the family, physical features, interests, etc. After the application form is presented to the clinic, it will be checked to see if it meets the required qualifications.
  • Screening: after your application form is approved, you need to undergo a physical examination, psychological evaluation, and blood tests to be evaluated regarding reproductive hormone levels.
  • Matching: when your qualification as an egg donor has been cleared, your information and your photo (if it is requested) will be presented to the couples seeking a suitable donor. Once you are chosen as a donor, you will be instructed about using needed medications and injections.
  • Cycle Synchronization: for getting the desired result, which is a successful pregnancy, the menstrual cycles of the egg donor and the recipient should be synchronized. For this aim, birth control pills are needed. This step is important because the recipient needs to host the fertilized donor egg at the appropriate time.

Egg donors must prepare their bodies to produce multiple eggs for donation. Your ovaries will be stimulated to produce eggs by injecting FSH hormones (follicle-stimulating hormones). At the same time, the recipient takes medications to prepare her womb for pregnancy.

Your doctor monitors your hormone level for two weeks. In addition, vaginal ultrasounds are needed to get a view of the size and number of egg follicles. Cycle synchronization is only needed when fresh donor eggs are used. In the cases that the frozen eggs are going to be used, once the recipient is ready, the eggs are ready too.

  • Egg Retrieval: after two weeks of medication and monitoring, it is time to retrieve the eggs. In the egg retrieval process, you will undergo light general anesthesia or you will be sedated using painkillers. Then your doctor retrieves the eggs through the cervix. Due to anesthetic usage, you need to stay in bed until you are fully awake and then you can go back home. Most donors continue their routine activities the next day. After the procedure, donors will be compensated for their donations.


Egg Donation Laws by Country


Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have significantly different regulations around the world. Egg donation, which is a type of ART, is illegal in some countries (e.g. Italy, Germany) and causes many people to seek treatment abroad. In some countries (e.g. France, Australia, Canada), ovum donation prohibition is for commercial (compensated) form, and uncompensated donations are legal.

In countries like Spain, egg donation is legal when it is anonymous and donors may be compensated. Commercial egg donation in the U.S is legal in some states including California. It should be noted that the U.S regulations towards egg donation are created by states, not federal law. Compensated egg donation is legal in some other countries including Iran and Ukraine.

Legal factors related to the process of getting a birth certificate and other legal documents vary in different countries. Therefore, it is very important to have a well-aware fertility attorney beside you to facilitate the legal processes. You should also have an immigration and family law attorney in your home country to help coordinate parental establishment.

FlytoTreat has deep knowledge of international fertility laws and has extensive experience working with foreign couples. Our attorneys have a comprehensive insight into suitable programs for international parents. In addition, we make sure that we provide a safe environment for having a child while having your satisfaction.


Religious Views on Egg Donation


Different religions’ views vary regarding using assisted reproductive technologies (ART). We are going to discuss religious attitudes towards IVF and ova donation in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.


Egg donation in Christianity


Some Christian leaders accept the IVF process as a way of helping couples have a child and grow their families provided that none of the fertilized embryos are discarded during the process. Therefore, infertile couples can go for IVF as long as it is done with the husband’s sperm and wife’s eggs. However, in the case of using donor eggs, it is more debatable.

Some Christian leaders, especially Catholics are concerned about IVF procedures and they encourage infertile people to consider adoption instead. They believe IVF disrupts the natural way of conceiving a child and gamete donation is believed to “compromise the marital bond and family integrity”.

Catholic Church believes children must be conceived during physical intercourse and condemns the practice of conceiving a child in other ways. The director of moral theology and ethics at the Catholic University of America, John Grabowski said that when reproductive technologies are used "children become products instead of gifts.”

Many religious leaders have some beliefs about the union of marriage and the purpose of sex. They say fertility options go against morality. Catholics, Evangelicals, and Mormons are among people who disapprove of the use of donor eggs and sperms. Mormons strongly condemn the use of any kind of third-party intervention including donor eggs, donor sperm, and surrogates. However, the spokesperson of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”, Eric Hawkins said that the final judgment is ultimately left to the husband and wife.


Egg donation in Islam


Gamete donation is a controversial topic in Islam. There are different attitudes towards this topic in Sunni and Shia Muslims. The Sunni school of thought forbids using a third-party person in reproduction while in the Shia branch of Islam, the rules of using gamete are more flexible. However, sperm donation is forbidden in all schools of Islamic law.

In Sunni, there is no issue using IVF technology, as long as they belong to a husband and wife. Any combination of the gametes belonging to a man and woman who are not legally married is forbidden (haraam) and it is compared to adultery. This is because the woman is carrying a fertilized egg of a man who is not her legal husband.

Regarding ovum donation, Sunni leaders argue that since the egg donor would be the biological mother of the child, the risk of emotional conflicts between the donor and the birth mother is high. Therefore, in Sunni-majority countries, third-party donations and fertilization outside marital conditions are forbidden. However, few religious authorities allow this process between co-wives.

In Shia, the egg donation rules are more flexible. In 1999. Ayatollah Khamenei the leader of Iran, which is a Shia-majority country, declared that under certain conditions, surrogacy, ova donation, or embryo donations are allowed. He said, “Transferring the fetus to the uterus of the woman is not banned in any case, but touching and looking at the Haraam must be avoided”.

Embryo donation is also allowed because the embryo belongs to a married couple, it will be offered to another married couple, and it does not contain any sexual act so it cannot be called adultery.


Egg donation in Judaism


In general, Judaism views most reproductive technologies positively by saying that procreation is a core Jewish value.  In the orthodox Jewish community, there is no consensus regarding if the egg donor needs to be Jewish so that the child be considered Jewish at the time of birth. In the 1990s, Jewish authorities announced that the child would be considered Jewish in case the mother was Jewish. However, in recent years, rabbis in Israel started to reconsider which has made more debates around this subject.

Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University believes that if a birth mother or genetic mother of a child is not Jewish, the child should go through conversion process after birth to ensure their Judaism is not a matter of question in the future.

In Reform Judaism, this is not an issue because:

  • Only one parent must be Jewish. Therefore, if the father is Jewish then the religion of the mother is not important.
  • If the mother who carries the pregnancy (birthmother) is Jewish, the child is considered Jewish as well. 

Religious Views on Egg Donation

Egg Donation in Buddhism


Buddhism religion first emerged in India around 500 BC and it is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or The Buddha. The belief system of Buddhism involves a long string of reincarnations and the final purification of the soul. They believe when the soul is purified, it is elevated and enters into a superior state of existence called “Nirvana”.

Buddhism is a very liberal religion regarding assisted reproduction technologies. It allows the use of IVF, not only for married couples but also for all people. Sperm donation is also permitted in this religion. In the Buddhist tradition, a child conceived from donor gametes has the right to meet his genetic parents as he reaches maturity (Ying et al., 2015).


Egg Donation in Hinduism


There are about 1 billion Hindus all over the world, which makes the 15% of the global population. Hindus believe in reincarnation, karma as well as dharma, which is a human’s personal duty. In the Hindu point of view, the human soul is eternal and must live many lives to be purified and reach a higher state of existence called “moksha”. 

Hinduism has a liberal attitude towards using ART. This religion agrees with most types of fertility treatment but the oocyte and sperm should come from a married couple. Sperm donation is also acceptable in Hinduism but the donor must be a close relative of the husband. Having an abortion and adopting a child are also accepted in this religion.


Is Egg Donation Safe?


The answer is yes. The ova donation process is safe and does not carry long-term health risks or fertility issues as long as a medical professional closely supervises it. According to a 2015 research review, most young females have about 400,000 eggs. Therefore, even if 24 eggs are retrieved on each donation cycle, there are many others left for the future. Yet, there are some short-term complications that one should be aware of before the donation cycle.

Egg Donation Complications

Egg Donation Complications


In general, the egg donation process is considered a safe procedure and it will not face the donor with serious long-term issues. However, there are some possible side effects that donors should be informed of before starting the process.

  • Pregnancy: Due to using hormonal medications that enhance your fertility, your pregnancy is more likely. Therefore, if you have unprotected intercourse during your medication cycle, you are at a higher risk of getting pregnant.
  • Weight gain: While you are taking medications for egg retrieval, you may notice a slight weight gain of 3 to 5 pounds. This weight gain is temporary and stops when you quit using the medications.
  • Medication side effects: The hormonal medications may have some side effects including headaches, mood change, fatigue, bloating, breast soreness, nausea, hot flushes, feeling irritable, abdomen swelling, etc. The symptoms go away when the treatment is stopped.
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): This rare complication can cause swelling in ovaries. According to a 2013 research review, if this side effect happens, it often occurs around 3 to 9 days after the hCG trigger shot. This syndrome can have symptoms like nausea, pain near the ovaries, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Ovarian torsion: This rare complication can happen due to ovaries swelling and they may start twisting on the tissue that supports them. Sometimes it can also happen for the fallopian tube. This can cut off the blood supply to the ovaries and if it is not treated immediately, it can make the organ tissue die. In this case, you may feel severe pain and need surgery to treat this complication. Although this complication is unlikely, it is serious and needs immediate treatment.
  • Infection: After the egg retrieval, infection development is possible. One study showed that the infection rate is just 0.4 per cent, however, it can be completely removed by using prophylactic antibiotics.


Egg Donation Success Rate


The success rate of egg donation depends on many factors such as genetic, physical, and chemical factors, which are not easy to assess. In addition, other factors like the quality of the sperm, the health of the recipient, and the competence of the treating IVF facility can affect the oocyte donation success rate. However, in 2010 the Centers for Disease Control announced the average success rate of embryo transfer to be 55% for all egg donor programs.

Egg Donation Cost

Egg Donation Cost


The cost of egg donation can vary depending on many factors like the number of needed cycles, the country where donation is taking place, the kind of donor eggs (fresh or frozen), etc. unfortunately, almost none of the insurance companies cover the expenses of using donor eggs. Therefore, you need to find a country that offers a price that is within your budget limitation while having a high quality of services.  

The cost of fresh oocyte donation in the USA is about $35,000 to $65,000. This money often covers the cost of agency and fertility clinic fees, egg donor’s compensation, medical expenses, egg retrieval procedure, IVF procedure, and legal fees. However, other countries have more affordable costs in addition to the high-quality egg donation services.

Egg Donation in Iran


Egg donation technology has been used in Iran since the 1990s, along with the world’s advanced centres in order to treat infertility in women with low ovarian reserve or low-quality eggs. Thanks to the help of healthcare facilitators like FlytoTreat, many infertile couples from all over the world come to Iran to take advantage of advanced fertility centres located in Iran with the most affordable prices compared to other countries.

Donated eggs are examined precisely in well-equipped laboratories and then will be selected for the next steps. The cost of using egg donation through the IVF process in Iran is around 4000$ which includes the cost of the eggs, medication, tests, and transferring the egg to the intended mother’s uterus. Couples who want to select the baby’s gender can use the PGD service as well as oocyte donation.


Egg Donation in Ukraine

Ukraine is getting more popular for people who are seeking infertility treatments overseas. There are over 30 IVF clinics in Ukraine, which are giving infertility treatment services to the Ukrainian people and medical tourists from other parts of the world.  The cost of egg donation in Ukraine is about 5500$ which is an affordable cost compared to other European and American countries and it makes this country more attractive to couples.


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Donating eggs can be a rewarding process for the donor and the recipient both emotionally and financially. It can make the donor pleased because egg donation brings new hopes to the recipient couple and changes their lives extensively. At the same time, the donor is often economically beneficial and will be compensated for her donation. Once you know about the risks and rewards of this procedure, you can make the best decision about doing it.




AUTHOR: Leila Nazari

27 June 2023 - Updated At: 05 June 2024