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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. Because standard screening guidelines have not been developed, screening practices vary between clinics and donor agencies. Still, exactly how egg donors are screened and selected is an important issue and one that should be carefully consider when selecting a reputable clinic or egg donor agency.
The Importance of Egg Donor Screening
A thorough screening of all egg donors is critical to both the recipient family and the egg donor to protect everyone’s health and well-being. Egg donors need to be screened in order to:
- Prevent passing infectious diseases to the recipient
- Minimize the chances of passing genetic disease or defect to the child
- Ensure the psychological and emotional stability of the donor
- Ensure the donor’s dedication and health throughout the donation process
Medical screening typically begins with a fertility evaluation to verify the capacity of the donor’s ovaries to produce eggs. This usually consists of a physical exam, pelvic exam, ultrasound, and blood tests to check for hormone levels.
Additionally, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends the following screenings and tests:
- Blood Type
- Rh Compatibility
- Hepatitis B and C
- Drug Use
- HTLV -1 (a rare virus associated with certain types of cancer)
A thorough medical and family history along with a genetic screening should be conducted as well in order to rule out any hereditary diseases (such as having a family history of cancer, heart disease, mental illness, etc.) or genetic abnormalities (such as being a genetic carrier for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, etc.) that could affect the offspring.
It is also highly recommended that all prospective donors undergo a complete psychological examination aimed at identifying emotional problems, evaluating donor motivations, and verifying the donor understands the physical, psychological, and legal risks that could result from donation. Common reasons potential egg donors are excluded from donating eggs include: a current psychiatric disorder; inappropriate motivations for donation, unstable lifestyle; unrealistic expectations from the donation process; history of psychiatric medication use; or sexual abuse.
If the egg donor has a partner, the clinic or agency may require that the partner undergo blood tests to identify any infectious diseases as well as a psychological screening to ensure they fully understand the implications of egg donation.