Last Updated on October 4, 2021
If you’re thinking about helping women who can’t produce healthy eggs to become pregnant, you may wonder ‘how old do I have to be to donate eggs?’ Is there an egg donation age?
While every egg donor facility will differ in its requirements, there is an egg donation limit both at facilities and in what most women will accept. Since the process of accepting donated eggs and trying to achieve pregnancy is such a delicate matter, it’s handled with the utmost caution and care to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.
So what is the age limit?
Why the Egg Donation Age Matters
Before we get into the technical matter, let’s talk about the legal aspects of donating eggs. Most facilities won’t accept an egg donation from anyone under the age of 18. At 18 or older, you are legally able to enter into legal contracts, which is a large part of the process.
What is the Egg Donation Age?
On the egg donation limit side, though, there is a short window of opportunity. On average, women are eligible to donate eggs between ages 18 and 28, but some will push it to 30. You’ll rarely find a facility that will accept any donors over age 30.
As a woman age, even past the age of 30, her egg quality starts to decline. This doesn’t mean a woman can’t naturally get pregnant after age 30 – millions of women do. But, when you’re donating eggs and hoping that they fertilize outside the body and then the embryo takes inside a woman’s body, you need the highest quality eggs for success.
Women are Born with a Set Number of Eggs
Contrary to what most people think, women are born with a set number of eggs. Each woman is different, but on average, they have 1 to 2 million eggs. By the time a woman reaches menopause age, which can be as young as 40 years old, there are only a couple of hundred eggs left.
Women naturally ‘discard’ their unused eggs during menstruation or they are fertilized and result in a pregnancy (successful or not).
Limiting the egg donation age to 30 or younger (sometimes even 28 or 29) ensures that women are receiving the highest quality eggs possible to result in a successful pregnancy.
Is Egg Donation over age 30 Possible?
Every facility is different. If you have your mindset on donating eggs and exceed the limit of one facility but are still under 30, you can look around, but egg donation over 30 is very rare.
This isn’t only because of the quality of eggs you may produce over the age of 30, but also for other reasons including:
- The expense of IVF treatment – Women take a large risk when undergoing IVF. There’s no guarantee it will work, but using the highest quality eggs increases her chances of success.
- The emotional aspect of IVF and egg donation – IVF often occurs after many years of unsuccessful or lost pregnancies. Women are already emotionally drained when they turn to egg donation. Using the highest quality eggs possible not only increases the chance of success but helps women stay emotionally stable going through the process.
Things you Should Know about Donating Eggs
- There are a lot of regulations regarding egg donation. Just like organ donors go through a series of tests, questions, and other requirements, the same is true for egg donors. You are giving an invaluable gift to the recipient, but everyone involved wants to ensure the highest chance of success.
- The recommended limit for egg donation is 6 times. No one is keeping track of the number of times you donate eggs, but the recommended limit is 6.
- You’ll undergo a series of physical and psychological tests. Donating eggs isn’t just a physical process; it’s emotional too. Doctors want to ensure you are emotionally stable and can handle the process of giving another woman your eggs.
- You’ll answer questions about your medical history and your family’s medical history. Don’t be surprised when doctors dig deep into your medical history and that of your family. They want to know everything physical and psychological that anyone has experienced to decide if you’re a good fit for donation.
- The process takes 4 to 6 weeks and involves several doctor appointments. It’s important to understand the time commitment involved with egg donation. Not only are you committing your eggs, but you’re committing your time to go to the scheduled doctor appointments, follow the guidelines provided, take the necessary medications, and stay in touch with the doctor if you experience any issues.
- Your donation will likely be a ‘live’ donation. It’s not like you see in the movies when men deposit sperm and leave. Women donate eggs live for the best success rate. Frozen eggs typically don’t work as well as a fresh donation, so most facilities rely on live donations.
The egg donation age limit is there to protect everyone. Women accepting the eggs want the highest quality eggs possible which studies show are between the ages of 18 and 28 or so. This also leaves you plenty of time to use eggs for your own reproductive needs if you want to have children yourself.
Before you donate eggs, do some soul searching and talk to a reputable egg donor agency new you about the process. It’s one of the most beautiful ways to help a woman achieve pregnancy, but it comes with a lot of time commitment, the ability to keep an optimal physique, and emotional decisions.
If you decide to donate eggs, try to do so before you hit 30 as egg donation over 30 isn’t very common today.