Women who want to donate eggs often wonder — what is the maximum age at which a woman can become an egg donor? Can any woman in the reproductive age donate? Read on to find the answers to these questions about egg donation.
The process of egg donation
Egg donation is a long process. The donor is prepped physically and mentally. She takes medication for about 2 months and attends multiple fertility doctor appointments. The doctor measures the follicle and decides when the egg can be retrieved. The actual invasive process of retrieving the egg takes about 20 minutes.
The whole process is largely in contrast with sperm donation. It takes less than an hour to collect sperm, and it is not invasive. It is a simple process and a single sample of semen contains millions of sperm.
Why is there a cutoff?
In most egg donor agencies, the ideal age of a donor lies between 21 and 30. Nevertheless, agencies often don’t accept a new donor who is older than 29. Women, unlike men, have a limited reproductive life. Beyond 30, their fertility decreases. Also, these treatments cost a lot of money. So, clients need assurance that the eggs are healthy and the donor does not have any fertility issues. Due to these reasons, it sometimes takes a few months for potential parents to pick an older donor. To avoid this, agencies would rather restrict their pool to a maximum of 28 years.
On the other hand, agencies don’t prefer donors under the age of 21. Becoming an egg donor is a responsibility and it requires commitment. Young donors may not understand the importance of their undertaking. Moreover, egg donation is a long, drawn out procedure that implies coordination between the donor, medical staff and the egg donation agency. So, agencies prefer women in their mid-twenties.
What happens when women cross 30?
Women are born with a limited number of eggs in their body. They don’t produce new eggs. So, as they get closer to menopause, the number of eggs in their body decreases to a few hundred. One of the most common reasons why older women opt for IVF treatments is the reduced number of eggs. Certainly, there are women who conceive naturally after the age of 30 and have healthy babies. But if a couple is opting for IVF, they obviously want to make sure their chances are good.
Also, if the woman is above 30, there are higher chances of her eggs carrying defective genes. If these eggs develop into a baby, the baby might have problems.
A sense of maturity and responsibility
Due to the nature of the process, egg donors are inherently required to have a lot of patience. There is an elaborate medical screening which includes testing the donor’s psychological readiness. Only after the doctor is sure that the donor is mentally ready, they continue with the process.
In conclusion, egg donation is a lengthy process which needs the right amount of maturity and physical readiness to handle. So, agencies prefer women aged between 21 and 30, as they have healthy eggs and can go through the process without much trouble.