Anonymity is a common factor encouraging young women to become egg donors. This allows for a high number of candidates to be available, and therefore makes it easier for clinics to select each candidate in a better way.
Candidate for donating eggs
When a woman visits a fertility clinic or egg donor bank to willingly help fertility patients achieve their dream of becoming parents, she is medically and psychologically screened to check whether she is eligible or not.
This screening process involves the following tests:
- Psychological evaluation (test and interview with an specialist).
- Abdominal and vaginal ultrasound scan.
- Blood test to verify the absence of infectious and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as hepatitis B, HIV, etc.
- Blood test to determine the woman’s hormone profile.
- Review of family medical history to rule out the presence of any genetic abnormality or serious health condition.
- Review of sexual history.
- Review of substance or drug abuse history.
- Karyotype test to determine whether the chromosome number is normal or not.
Only if these screening tests confirm the potential donor enjoys good physical and mental health, she will become part of the fertility center’s egg donor database. Once accepted, donors have to undergo controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) and follicular puncture to have the eggs they produce harvested.
The oocytes obtained can be used for a fresh donor cycle, or frozen for later use. Contrary to what happens in the case of sperm donation, the Greek law allows the use of donor eggs for both fresh and frozen cycles.
A fresh donor cycle can turn out to be a bit more complicated due to the higher complexity involved, as synchronization between the donor and the recipient’s menstrual cycles is required.
Legal issues of egg donation
The Greek law governing the use of assisted reproductive technologies (i.e. Law 3305/2005) puts special emphasis on the fact that egg donation must stand for an anonymous and altruistic act, and therefore intended parents cannot have access to identifiable information about the egg donor. Neither the donor will be allowed to know about her recipient couple.
However, clinics are indeed allowed to provide the recipient with general data on the donor, such as height, weight, educational level, blood type, and hair, eye, and skin color.
As mentioned earlier, the clinic will be held responsible for matching the most suitable donor to each receiving woman. The criteria followed for this selection involves looking for similarities and compatibilities between their physical and immunological features. Under no circumstances can prospective parents indicate their preferences or choose a known donor, that is, a relative or a close friend.
Even though the Greek Law 3305/2005 establishes that women can become donors up until the age of 35, many clinics have limited this requirement to women under this age since they consider it a way to make sure the donor produces high-quality eggs.
Another limit set by law is the amount of donations each donor can make, which is limited to 10 live births per egg donor.