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Donating your eggs

Choosing to donate your eggs to someone in need is an amazing, selfless act that gives hope to the thousands of women who are unable to conceive naturally. Find out more about what egg donation involves and if it’s something you can offer. 

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is when a woman goes through part of the IVF process in order to have some of her eggs collected, which she can then donate to someone else's treatment, fertility research or training.

Find out more about donating to research

In many cases, women donate to someone they know, such as a family member who may be unable to use her own eggs. Others donate for the pleasure of being able to help someone they don’t know have a much-wanted baby.

Some women having IVF choose to become egg sharers, which means they donate some of their eggs to another woman having treatment in exchange for free or discounted IVF.

Find out more about egg sharing

Why do some women use donated eggs in treatment?

There are many reasons why a woman might not be able to use her own eggs, including if she’s had cancer treatment, gone through the menopause or her children are at risk of inheriting a serious genetic disease.

By using donated eggs, she has the option of using her partner’s sperm (if she has one) and of experiencing pregnancy.

Who can donate their eggs?

Usually women need to be between the ages of 18 and 35 to donate their eggs to someone's treatment. Clinics may only allow eggs from an older woman to be used in exceptional circumstances, such as if you’re donating to a family member.

Before you donate, you’ll need to have certain health tests to ensure you don't pass on any serious diseases or medical conditions to the baby or mother. You should tell your clinic about any hereditary diseases in your family.

Some clinics also set additional eligibility criteria, including minimum and maximum Body Mass Indexes (BMIs). Talk to your preferred clinic or clinics about their process.

Expanded carrier screening (ECS) or testing involves identifying simultaneously the presence or the absence of many gene variants which might be associated with different conditions of varying severity and predictability. Although we provide guidance to UK fertility clinics about donor screening in the HFEA’s Code of Practice, there is currently no national guidance in the UK specific to ECS. The HFEA does not require UK fertility clinics to carry out ECS and gamete donors are not required to have had this screening. You should discuss any questions that you may have about ECS with your fertility clinic.

Hayley's Story

Hayley decided to become an egg donor after splitting up from her partner. Here’s her story.

Can I donate to a family member, friend or someone else I know?

Yes you can, but there are restrictions on mixing the eggs and sperm of close family members such as brother and sister (including half brothers and sisters) or uncles and nieces. Donating to any of your female relatives, however, is fine.

If you’re thinking about donating your eggs for use in the treatment of a male relative, speak to your clinic first.

If you’re donating to a woman you know, and you want only her to receive your eggs, then you’ll need to state this in your consent form.

Find out more about giving consent

What compensation is available?

It's illegal to pay for egg donation in the UK. Egg donors can receive compensation of up to £750 per donation ‘cycle’ to cover their costs (a donation cycle is one complete round of treatment, at the end of which the eggs are collected and donated). However, you can claim more if your expenses for things like travel, accommodation and childcare are higher than this. 

If you're an egg donor who is not a permanent resident of the UK, you may be compensated in the same way as a UK donor but you will not be able to claim for overseas travel expenses.

Do I have any legal rights and responsibilities for children born from my donation?

No. You will have no legal rights or responsibilities to children born from your donation. You’ll have no say over their upbringing and won’t be required to pay anything towards their care.

However, children born from your donation will be able access identifying details which can allow them to contact you in the future, if they wish to. If they do choose to make contact with you, it’s up to both the donor-conceived individual and yourself whether you want to have any kind of relationship.

Find out more about what children conceived from your donation can find out about you.

Writing a personal description and goodwill message can be very helpful to both parents of donor-conceived children and donor-conceived people themselves in the years to come.

Find out more about writing your message to future donor-conceived families.

What’s the process for donating my eggs?

Personal information: Your clinic will ask you to provide some personal information. Some non-identifying information will be available to the hopeful parent/s at the time of donation and any children conceived with your donation when they turn 16. Parents can access non-identifying information (in addition the information they received about the donor before treatment) from when the child is born (and are free to share this with their child of any age if they wish to). Your identifying information will be available to any donor-conceived children when they turn 18.

Find out more about the rules around releasing donor information

Health tests: You’ll need to have tests for certain diseases, including any serious genetic diseases, before you can donate.

It’s very important you tell your clinic about any problems in your, or your family’s, medical histories. If you or your family have a serious physical or mental condition and you don’t tell your clinic about it, you could face legal action if a child born from your donation inherits it.

Counselling: Your clinic is required by law to offer you counselling. We strongly recommend you take it up, as it will help you to think through all the implications of your decision and how it could affect you and your family in the future.

Your consent: You need to consent in writing before donating your eggs. You can change or withdraw your consent - see more below.

Donating: The process for donating is exactly the same as the early stages of IVF.

  1. Medication taken as a daily injection or nasal spray will suppress your natural hormone production. This will give your doctor complete control of the fertility process.
  2. You’ll have a scan to check your natural cycle is fully suppressed. If it is, you’ll start hormone treatment (usually gonadotrophins) to boost the number of eggs your body produces.
  3. A day or two before your eggs are due to be collected, you’ll be given a hormone injection (normally human chorionic gonadotrophin or hCG) to help the eggs mature.
  4. Your eggs will be collected whilst you’re sedated or under general anaesthetic. The procedure takes around half an hour and you may feel a little sore or bruised.
  5. Whilst your eggs are being collected, the woman’s partner will be asked to produce a sperm sample (or her donor’s sperm will be taken from the freezer) for mixing with your eggs.

Are there any risks from donating your eggs?

Donating your eggs is generally very safe; most women won’t experience any health problems beyond the discomfort of having the treatment itself.

The only potential risk to be aware of is having a reaction to your fertility drugs. Normally if this happens the effects are mild and include hot flushes, feeling irritable or down, headaches and restlessness.

In some very rare cases women develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).  OHSS is a very serious and potentially fatal reaction to fertility drugs, which happens about a week after your eggs have been collected.

Symptoms include a swollen stomach and stomach pains and, in extreme cases, nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, fainting, a swollen stomach and reduced urine.

If you have any reactions to your fertility drugs, it’s very important you let your clinic know straight away. Never feel like you're wasting their time.

Find out more about the risks of fertility treatment

What about the emotional impact of donating my eggs?

Choosing to donate your eggs is a big decision and it’s not for everyone. For that reason, your clinic will offer you counselling before you donate to make sure you’re completely comfortable with whatever you decide.

It’s not possible to donate anonymously, so any children conceived with your donation could apply for your contact details when they reach 18. Obviously for some people, meeting the families they helped to create is a wonderful privilege, whereas others feel less comfortable with that prospect.

You may also need to tell a partner or children of your own about your donation later on, so you need to be prepared for that. Doing your research now and feeling completely happy with your decision will ensure you’re 100% committed to this extraordinary gesture.

Find out more about getting emotional support

What if I change my mind?

You can change your mind about donating your eggs any time up to the point at which embryos created from your eggs are used in treatment. This applies even if you’ve already signed the consent form.

Find out more about giving consent

What can I find out about any children conceived with my donation?

you can find out:

  • the number of children born
  • their sex
  • their year of birth.

We can't give you any information that would potentially identify the children conceived with your donation.

What can people conceived from my donation find out about me?

When a child conceived with from your donation reaches 16, they can ask us for the non-identifying information you provided about yourself. At 18, they’ll be able to ask us for your name and address. Parents can also get this information once the child is born which allows them to share it with their child as they grow up.

It’s also possible that someone could unintentionally or intentionally piece together publicly-available information and find out or work out your identity and, perhaps, work out that you donated, using information that’s available outside of the HFEA’s carefully-managed system of releasing donor information. This could happen, for example if they or one of their close genetic relatives has used a home DNA testing kit, opted in to matching services and then has been matched with you or close genetic relatives of yours.

Find out more about DNA testing and matching websites and what this means for donors’ anonymity.

Why is it important to keep my contact details up to date?

We notify donors when the first donor-conceived individual requests identifiable information about them, using the donor’s last known address.

If you change your address, please contact the clinic you donated at, or us if your clinic has closed. This means that donor-conceived individuals who apply for this information are given the correct address. It also means that we can contact you to let you know you before we release your name and contact details to a donor-conceived person who has requested them, and reduces the risk of information being sent to the address you lived at when you donated, if you have since moved.

You’ll need to provide proof of identity and address when you update your address through the HFEA. It may be easier to update your address with the clinic where you donated as they may not require documents to be submitted in the same way.

What are the next steps for donating my eggs?

If you’d like to donate your eggs, you’ll need to find a licensed UK fertility clinic that recruits egg donors.

Or, if you’re donating to someone you know, their clinic should have processes in place that allow known donation.

Choose a fertility clinic

Review date: 23 October 2025