Medical screening process

The medical screening process can feel invasive at times.  So preparing yourself for the appointments to come can help the process to be less uncomfortable.  The entire egg donation process involves a degree of openness about one’s medical history and body that some women are not comfortable with.  Be sure to consider whether or not you are willing to cooperate with these stages of the process.

Questions to ask:

What is involved in the medical screening process?

The medical screening often includes: cervical cultures, a physical exam, a vaginal ultrasound, and a series of blood tests to screen for infectious diseases and reproductive hormone levels.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) states that testing women who want to donate their eggs should include screening and testing for: syphilis, hepatitis B and C, HIV-1 and HIV-2, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSEs).

It is recommended that you also have documentation of your blood type, RH (Rhesus factor) status, complete blood count, and rubella titer.

Consideration: Medical screening tests

Before you participate in any of the medical screenings make sure that you understand the test, any risks, and any side-effects that may result.  For example, after a blood draw some people may feel lightheaded or dizzy.  Be sure to ask about the side-effects of any tests you are asked to take.

Consideration: Partner screening

If you have a sexual partner, the agency may also require her/him to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases.

Who will see my medical screening results/information? Will I be able to view my own results?

The doctors and nurses handling your donation process will need to have access to your medical records for health and safety purposes.  Per HIPAA regulations, you always have a right to your own files.  Depending on the agreement your agency has with intended parent(s), the intended parent(s) may have access to your medical records.  Before submitting to any tests, be sure to ask your agency about the limits of the confidentiality of your medical records.

Consideration: Access to test results

Before the medical screening process, make sure you understand whether and/or how you will be given the results. If you will not be given the results automatically, you can request them.  Also, make sure you ask who has access to your test results and how this could affect your future insurance coverage, as this can differ from program to program.

What would exclude me from getting chosen as a donor?

Factors that would disqualify you from becoming a donor include (but are not limited to):

  • Increased risk of exposure to HIV, hepatitis B, and/or hepatitis C.
  • Use of intravenous drugs or prostitution in the last 5 years (state regulations)
  • A past or present diagnosis of syphilis
  • Being incarcerated for more than 72 consecutive hours within the past 12 months.
  • Receiving  a new tattoo or body piercing within the last 12 months.
  • Having more than one sexual partner in the last 6 months (also, your sexual partner may be subject to testing).

Are these doctors concerned about my health?

All doctors take the hippocratic oath which states that they have a duty to protect the lives of their patients.  At the same time, some doctors may have priorities that differ from your own.  Some doctors are determined to help intended parent(s) conceive, even if the process is risky.  This is precisely why you must be an advocate for your own health and safety.  Be sure to ask your doctors and nurses any questions you may have and do not agree to anything that you are not comfortable with.

Consideration: Status of program doctors

Another point worth thinking about is the doctor’s status. Is the doctor an advocate for my health and me or for the intended parent(s)? What should his status be in relation to these concerns?

Do I need to report any new diagnosis to my medical provider and insurance provider?

DIfferent insurance companies have different policies on whether or not a new diagnosis must be reported.  It is important to be familiar with your medical insurance policy coverage and limitations before undergoing any medical procedures - egg donation-related or otherwise.

How might these results affect my ability to receive insurance coverage in the future?

Some insurance companies refuse to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions or who engage in certain high-risk behaviors (such as intravenous drug use or prostitution).  Any information that is documented may be recoverable by insurance agencies, and may affect your ability to receive insurance coverage or the type of coverage you may receive.