What are the requirements for egg donation?

By (embryologist), (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 10/18/2016

Egg donation is an anonymous and altruistic act by which a woman voluntarily donates her eggs.

In order to donate eggs, it is necessary to meet certain requirements to guarantee the success rate; therefore, it is essential that the donor candidates undergo a series of medical and psychological tests. In this way, it is guaranteed that the donor does not have any disease that could be transmitted to the offspring or any fertility problem.

In general, according to the Assisted Reproduction Law in force in Spain, the maximum number of children born alive from the same donor cannot exceed six.

Egg donation in Spain is regulated by the Spanish law on assisted human reproduction techniques (law 14/2006). This law defines donation as an altruistic, anonymous, voluntary and formal act between the egg donor and the clinic where the donation takes place.

The most salient conditions on egg donation included in this law are as follows:

  • The donation is an anonymous act where the donor will not know the recipients and vice versa. For this reason, the choice of the donor and her allocation to specific recipients will be made by the fertility clinic staff. It is based on the phenotypic characteristics, and blood group and Rh factor compatibility of the recipient.
  • Donation is an altruistic act, so it is forbidden to attract donors by providing an economic benefit, i.e. it is not possible to receive money for the eggs. However, it is allowed to give the donor a financial compensation for the risks, inconveniences and expenses that may have been derived from the donation procedure.
  • The donor must sign an informed consent form in which she agrees to donate her eggs voluntarily, freely and without any coercion.

On the other hand, according to the law, the egg donor candidate must be between 18 and 35 years old, in good physical and emotional health and have no history of serious genetic diseases. She will be evaluated through various medical tests and psychological interviews to ensure that she is qualified to be a donor in complete safety for both herself and the recipient.

Egg donation requirements in Spain

In order to participate in the egg donation program, the requirements that potential female donors must meet are as follows:

  • Be of legal age, i.e. be at least 18 years old and not exceed 35 years of age.
  • Possess a complete family medical history with all necessary documentation. This ensures that no genetic, hereditary, infectious or infectious diseases or congenital malformations are transmitted.
  • Be in perfect health, both physically and mentally. It is evaluated by different simple tests that do not involve discomfort for the donor.
  • Possess normal functioning of the reproductive system.
  • Have a body mass index(BMI) between 18 and 25, as it is guaranteed to reduce the risks for the donor. In addition, it allows the quality of the ovary and eggs not to be deficient.
  • That their previous donations have not given rise to more than 5 babies, since the law establishes a limit of 6 live births per donor, including the donor's own children.

The egg donor woman cannot be adopted, but it is necessary to know her original family history in order to guarantee both her health and that of the offspring.

A positive but not essential factor is that the egg donor has already been a mother, which guarantees her fertility. Another aspect to take into account is whether there is a previous fertility history of the donor, which shows whether she has a favorable response to the ovarian stimulation treatment.

Genetic testing

This series of medical tests is intended to ensure that the egg donor will not transmit any sexual or infectious diseases. Prospective egg donor candidates must undergo:

  • A medical history or anamnesis where the donor is asked a series of questions in the consultation about physical and clinical data, family history, etc.
  • Gynecological study including tests such as vaginal ultrasound, cytology or culture to check the functionality of the reproductive system.
  • Blood tests including complete blood count and basal hormone analysis provide information about whether there are problems in the glands that secrete hormones responsible for controlling the menstrual cycle. In addition, blood group and Rh factor determination is performed.
  • Serology that includes the study of herpes, analysis of hepatitis B and C, syphilis and HIV. This test ensures that the potential donor does not have any viral or sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Karyotyping from a small amount of blood sample, which allows to confirm the absence of chromosomal alterations.
  • Psychological interview with a psychologist specialized in assisted reproduction.

An important factor is that the candidate must know and have all the information about the process and what it entails. Therefore, it is necessary for the donor to know that she is giving up her genetic endowment and that once the embryos are generated, she cannot refuse and go backwards.

In the event that the results of all tests are beneficial, the candidate will be eligible to become an egg donor.

What are the psychological tests?

The psychological tests performed on egg donors are intended to ensure that the woman has full capacity to make the decision and that the donation process would not be psychologically detrimental to her at the time of donation or in the future. In this way, the quality of the donation is guaranteed in all aspects.

In order to see the psychological state, the woman must fill out a form that is given to her at the center and must have a personal interview with the center's psychologist or another external psychologist if the clinic has external referral centers.

In addition, the Spanish Fertility Society provides a series of parameters that must be taken into account in relation to the psychological study performed on the donor. The following aspects will be taken into account:

  • Current situation of the donor where the emotional state and stability is indicated.
  • Psychiatric history: whether you have anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc.
  • Psychological history.
  • Psychological and psychiatricfamily history.
  • Motivation for donation, taking into account that it is a voluntary, free and altruistic act.

FAQs from users

Can you be an egg donor with HPV (human papillomavirus infection) or herpes?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Usually, clinics disqualify candidates with HPV or herpes because they are viral infections likely to be passed to offspring and may compromise the safety of the procedure. Egg donor screenings generally include testing for STDs like HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.

What are the requirements for donating eggs for money?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

It depends on the country. In most European countries (Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Czech Republic...), donors are allowed to get a compensation for the expenses and inconveniences causes during and after the process, but they cannot be paid. In the United States, however, payment is allowed as long as you fulfill all your responsibilities as an egg donor.

Are there any specific requirements to donate eggs to your sister?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Known egg donation is allowed in some countries, but regardless of whether you choose an anonymous or a known egg donor, the screening process will be exactly the same, including cases where the sister, cousin, aunt, sister-in-law, etc. becomes the egg donor.

You can find more information about intrafamilial egg donation here: Egg donation to a family member for IVF.

Is there any BMI (body mass index) or weight requirement to donate eggs?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Egg donors are required to be women of proportionate weight and heigh. This is because overweight may affect egg quality and therefore higher doses of drugs to induce ovulation may be required. Egg donors should be women of normal weight, with a BMI under 28.

Can you become an egg donor if your tubes are tied?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Yes, egg retrieval takes place before the oocytes are released by the body, which means it is irrelevant.

Can you be an egg donor while on birth control?

By Neus Ferrando Gilabert B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Yes, contraceptives are not an impediment to become an egg donor. In fact, they may be advantageous, as they allow your cycle to be monitored more accurately. However, when you start taking medications for egg production, you will have to stop with contraceptives and start again when the donation process finishes.

Suggested for you

If you want to know the step-by-step process of egg donation you can read the following article: Egg donation step by step.

You can also obtain information about the procedure and requirements for sperm donors in the article called Sperm donation: donor requirements, price and treatments.

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Ballesteros A, Castilla JA, Nadal J, Ruiz M. Manifiesto de la SEF sobre la donación de gametos en España. Publicado a través de la Sociedad Española de Fertilidad (SEF).

Ley 14/2006, de 26 de mayo, sobre técnicas de reproducción humana asistida. Jefatura del Estado «BOE» núm. 126, de 27 de mayo de 2006 Referencia: BOE-A-2006-9292. (ver).

Matorras R, Hernández J (eds). Estudio y tratamiento de la pareja estéril: Recomendaciones de la Sociedad Española de Fertilidad, con la colaboración de la Asociación Española para el Estudio de la Biología de la Reproducción, de la Asociación Española de Andrología y de la Sociedad Española de Contracepción. Adalia, Madrid 2007.

Zafra J, Boada M,Bou C, Gómez MJ, Gris JM,Ramírez JP. Recomendaciones para la aplicación del RD 1301/2006.

Santalla A, Calderón MA, López-Criado MS, Fontes J, López-Jurado R, Martínez-Navarro L. Donación de ovocitos. Elsevier Agosto 2008 35(4):113-150. doi: 10.1016/S0210-573X(08)73062-4

FAQs from users: 'Can you be an egg donor with HPV (human papillomavirus infection) or herpes?', 'What are the requirements for donating eggs for money?', 'Are there any specific requirements to donate eggs to your sister?', 'Is there any BMI (body mass index) or weight requirement to donate eggs?', 'Can you become an egg donor if your tubes are tied?' and 'Can you be an egg donor while on birth control?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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