What do Egg Donor Agencies Screen For?

One question that comes up over and over is, “What do agencies screen for?”  Keep in mind that egg donor agencies are not medical institutions.  They don’t have a medical director, medical staff, or a lab where they can facilitate egg donor testing.  Medical screening is not their role but that of the fertility clinic.

Agencies spend thousands of dollars a year advertising and recruiting egg donors.  Out of the hundreds of applicants they receive only a small percentage will ever make there way into the agencies’ database.  Many will be eliminated due to their age, BMI, or health history.  Other egg donor candidates get cold feet and choose not to become egg donors before they are interviewed by the agency.   Most egg donor agencies are run by small business people who have been touched in one way or another by fertility issues.  It is not, as a rule, a high-profit operation.

Each agency has their egg donor candidates complete a detailed donor application.  The information that agencies gather from the egg donors is self-reported.  Applicants are asked about their health and their family’s health history, education, and a few personal interest items.  In addition, each egg donor must complete an FDA questionnaire to eliminate egg donors who might have or been exposed to communicable diseases.  Agencies do not carry out medical or psychological testing which will be done by your clinic once you have selected an egg donor.

The intended parents are responsible for the cost of both medical screening and psychological evaluations for their egg donor.  Most donors pass the screening process but, if they don’t, most agencies will allow the intended parents to choose another candidate from their database.

For the most part, the only egg donors that are prescreened are donors from a fertility clinic.  With internal egg donor programs you have the advantage of prescreened donors (often at a lower fee).   The disadvantage of egg donors from fertility clinics is you having fewer candidates from which to choose and you may encounter a long wait to work with the donor you want.  If cost is a constraining factor, as it is for many intended parents, you may want to consider a fertility clinic egg donor program or opting for a frozen egg program.  You have fewer options but lower cost.  If you want variety, the ability to see photos, and more options you are better off with an agency.   

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