Thinking of Becoming an Egg Donor?

Columbia University Fertility Center is always looking for women to anonymously donate their eggs to help others achieve their dream of starting a family. Many women are unable to get pregnant using their own eggs for a variety of reasons. Exposure to cancer therapies, disease, genetic abnormalities, absence of ovaries, ovarian failure, or age can interfere with a woman’s fertility and ability to produce healthy eggs (oocytes). In these cases, their best treatment option may be egg donation.
“We would like to thank our donor for going through the process that allowed us to have our daughter Kate. We could never have done this without her. The women who are part of this program that enables those of us who cannot have our own children are truly special.”
Columbia Fertility Patient

Columbia University Fertility Center, one of the longest-standing infertility programs in New York, has one of the most successful egg donation programs in the country. This success is due to the superior clinical screening of donors, exceptional care, and constant support services offered to the donors during this process. As the fertility faculty practice of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, our physicians, coordinators, and laboratory staff are uniquely skilled in advanced infertility treatment, and we have the highest standards for donor screening and matching to recipients.

Who is eligible to donate?
Donors are healthy young women in the greater New York area who are recruited through various avenues such as advertisements and word of mouth. Women are eligible to become donors if they are healthy nonsmokers between the ages of 21 and 32 and if they meet Columbia Fertility’s medical and other screening criteria. They must also have a valid Social Security number.

Please note that if you have traveled to a Zika-endemic country in the last six months, you are ineligible to donate. Donors must wait exactly six months from the return day of their trip in order to begin screening. For more information, please refer to the Center of Disease Control’s World Map of Zika-endemic countries.

If you are interested in becoming an anonymous donor, please fill out the Information Request Form or call the toll-free number:

The screening of recruited donors is a comprehensive, multi-step process that is free to the donor. Donors undergo an examination of past medical, genetic, ancestral, social, educational, and reproductive histories, as well as infectious disease screening. Recruited donors also receive consultations by  Columbia Fertility’s donor-program physician and undergo complete physicals and a psychosocial evaluation.

Donors that have been matched to recipients and are accepted for oocyte (egg) donation undergo additional testing as required by the New York State Department of Health. These tests include blood tests for HIV, HTLV, syphilis, a hepatitis panel, drug toxicology, and blood type. The donor also undergoes genetic screening, along with a Pap smear and cervical cultures for gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Known donors who do not come from the Columbia Fertility’s donor registry but are chosen by the patients, such as a friend or relative, must still be cleared through the same comprehensive screening process.

How Egg Donation Works
The patient who will receive the donor egg in order to become pregnant is referred to as the ‘recipient’ here. The Donor/Recipient In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle uses oocytes (eggs) provided by a donor for in vitro fertilization and subsequent transfer of embryos to the recipient. During the Donor/Recipient IVF Cycle, the menstrual cycles of the donor and recipient must first be synchronized using ovarian stimulation. Donors then undergo ovarian stimulation using hormonal medications, while the recipient receives hormone replacement in preparation for transfer. The donor’s response to stimulation is monitored carefully using ultrasound examinations and blood tests. At the appropriate time, the eggs are retrieved from the donor. Egg retrieval takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, and the donor is usually permitted to go home after two to three hours of observation.
Time Commitment
The time commitment for donors is approximately eight to ten weeks. The donor screening process takes two to three weeks, with an additional three to four week period for the IVF cycle. During the donor’s stimulation phase, the donor’s ovarian response is monitored by a series of ultrasound and blood tests. Most cycles require frequent office appointments for these tests, and as the follicles approach maturity, the donor may need to come to the office for brief visits on a daily basis. At the end of the process, the donor will undergo an egg retrieval. Although this date can be estimated, the exact date of the procedure will depend on the donor’s response to medications. Thus, the donor should be prepared to come to Columbia Fertility on relatively short notice on the appropriate day. Following the egg retrieval, the donor’s involvement is complete.
Donor Compensation
Oocyte (egg) donors do not “sell” their eggs, as it is illegal for them to do so in the state of New York. However, Columbia Fertility’s donors receive $8,000 for each completed cycle in compensation for their time, risk, and effort in donating their eggs. In addition, all the medical, psychological, and pharmaceutical costs associated with the donor’s treatment during the IVF cycle are paid by the recipient(s).