How Egg Donors are Screened
Deciding to use an egg donor in order to conceive is a very important but difficult decision to make. There are so many options to consider: Should you use a known donor or an anonymous donor? Should you use an agency or find a donor privately? You even have to decide what kind of personal characteristics you would like your donor to have. Once you have found your donor though, what happens next? Well, it is necessary to have your egg donor properly screened to ensure that you and your baby remain safe and healthy.
What is Egg Donor Screening?
Egg donor screening refers to a number of different tests that are performed on all egg donors before they are allowed to donate eggs. These tests include physical exams, psychological evaluations, blood tests, and other screening procedures. All egg donors, both known and anonymous, need to complete these different screens in order to donate eggs. Your donor may have to complete different screens depending upon the state or country in which you live.
Why is Egg Donor Screening Important?
Screening of egg donors is vitally important to both recipient couples and the egg donor herself. Egg donors need to be screened in order to:
- prevent passing infectious disease to the recipient
- minimize the chances of passing a genetic disease or defect to the child
- ensure their psychological and emotional stability
- ensure their dedication and health throughout the donation process
Types of Screens
There are a number of different screens that your egg donor will have to go through before any eggs can be removed from her ovaries. These are some of the most common tests used when screening egg donors:
All egg donors must undergo a general medical screen in order to ensure that they are basically healthy. Medical screening includes:
- a physical exam
- a pelvic exam to check the health of internal organs
- blood tests to test blood type, hormone levels, and egg health
- an ultrasound, to examine the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes
Before donating any eggs, all egg donors must disclose any current or previous use of cigarettes, prescription or street drugs, or alcohol. Many agencies perform random drug tests on egg donors to ensure that they are not using any drugs throughout the donation process.
Medical and Psychological History:
All egg donors need to disclose the details of their medical and psychological history. The medical and psychological history of all immediate blood relatives must also be disclosed, in order to check for any serious illnesses or disease.
Infectious Disease Screening
Infectious disease screening generally consists of a variety of blood tests that are performed in order to detect the presence of some common infectious diseases. Your agency or reproductive endocrinologist should screen for:
- hepatitis B and C
- HLTV-1 (a rare virus associated with some types of cancer
Genetic Disease Screening
Egg donors are also tested for any genetic diseases or disorders. Because there are so many different kinds of genetic diseases, egg donors are usually tested according to ethnicity (some ethnic groups are more prone to certain genetic diseases), medical history, or the specific needs of the recipient. A DNA and chromosomal analysis will be performed in order to determine the likelihood that the egg donor may carry or pass on the DNA for a genetic disease.
All egg donors must also successfully complete a psychological screen performed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist. All donors that pass the medical and genetic portion of their screen will meet with a mental health therapist i in order to discuss their emotional and mental history. They will complete some clinical psychological evaluations and discuss their reasons for becoming an egg donor.