Can you donate eggs if you have depression?

In this blog we will answer the question “Can you donate eggs if you have depression?”.

We will also briefly discuss what are the qualifications you need to have to be an egg donor as well as discuss what depression is and what you can do if you have depression. 

Can you donate eggs if you have depression?

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No, you cannot donate eggs if you have depression. 

According to Family Tree Surrogacy, 

“…Women who have been diagnosed with depression and are taking antidepressants cannot donate their eggs.”

The main reason why ovary bearing people cannot donate their eggs if they have depression is because the process of donating an egg or eggs requires the use of hormones. 

The process of extracting the eggs includes injections of hormones which can cause contraindications with the antidepressants they are under treatment. 

It is also possible that the changes in hormone levels can cause their depression and their mental health to worsen, aside from these reasons, women with depression are often disqualified due to the fact that depression can be hereditary.

Thus, the reduce this risk of the child also growing to develop depression, people with depression are often rejected from being able to donate eggs. 

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is a process in which a fertile person who bears an ovary donates an egg, or oocyte (biological term), which will be used by another person who bears a uterus to conceive a child. 

Egg donation is part of a long process of infertility procedures called assisted reproductive technology, or ART, where the doctor removes an egg or eggs from the donor. 

After removing the egg from the donor, the doctor fertilises them in a laboratory, and then transfers the fertilised egg or the resulting embryos into the recipient’s uterus. 

It is also possible that when some donate their eggs, the eggs may be frozen or the fertilised embryo might be frozen and stored for later use by the donor  or implantation in different women.

What are the qualifications required to be an egg doner?

The process of choosing egg donors is a strict one, and according to Family Tree Surrogacy, the individual requirements to be an approved egg donor include:

  • Between the ages of 21 and 29
  • Being able and committed to respond on time and attend all team + medical appointments
  • Able and willing to administer injections yourself or have someone who can do this for you
  • Have not completed more than five egg donations 

Some of the donors Education Requirements, to attest for their competency and mental capabilities include:

  • A minimum GPA of 2.5
  • Currently attending for or completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (Family Tree Surrogacy)

Medical requirements that the donor must meet also include:

  • Must be in good health
  • No sexually transmitted diseases
  • Must have both ovaries
  • Must have regular menstrual periods
  • No psychiatric illness, antidepressant medication use, or undergoing treatment for depression
  • Healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) below 28
  • Non-tobacco user, non-drug user, and must not be alcohol dependent
  • Cannot be on or have had the Depo-Provera shot or the Implanon/Nexplanon implant for at least 12 months
  • Not a carrier of the gene or genetic mutation for certain diseases or syndromes 
  • Have not acquired any tattoos, piercings, or blood transfusions in the past 12 months. (Family Tree Surrogacy)

The donor must also be able to meet the following Family Health History requirements 

  • No family history of genetic diseases
  • No family history of mental illness
  • Able to obtain current family medical history. (Family Tree Surrogacy)

According to West Coast Egg Donation, some of the other qualifications and requirements include:

  • Be willing to undergo a medical and psychological evaluation
  • Be willing to take injectable medication
  • Be free from sexually transmitted diseases within the last year
  • Be available for approximately 5 -10 appointments 
  • Be willing to commit to being listed with the agency as an Available Donor for a minimum of six months (West Coast Egg Donation)

What is Depression?

Depression or clinically known as major depressive disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, is a serious mood disorder where people affected by it experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. 

Apart from these symptoms of emotional distress, people with depression can also experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, or changes in their behaviour such as social withdrawal or slowed movements.

For someone to be diagnosed with clinical depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Let us look at the various symptoms that must meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression. 

The Diagnostic and statistical manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed) DSM-V outlines the following criterion to make a diagnosis of depression. 

The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure. 

These symptoms should indicate change from normal functioning. 

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. 

These symptoms should also not be the result of substance abuse or another medical condition.

What to do if you have depression?

A few things that we can do on an individual’s level if you have depression includes:

Seek out therapeutic care

Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will determine your prognosis.

Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.

Psychotherapy also known as talk therapy involves effective treatment where a person with disorder speaks to a trained therapist to help them identify and cope with their condition. 

Psychotherapy has many forms and techniques, which might take some time for a person with disorders to figure out what is best for them, However evidence suggests that CBT is one of the most effective treatments for depression.

Combined treatment of psychotherapy and pharmaceuticals have been found to be more effective than either stand-alone treatments for MDD; so you have to go see a GP or a psychiatrist as well. 

Join a support group

It is possible that people with depression can also struggle with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling that you have nothing of value to offer. By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey. 

Actively seek positive experiences

According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being. For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.

This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.

Spend time with loved ones

Once you feel like you are up for it, take time to seek out support from your friends, family, and loved ones. Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. 

Talk to them about how you are feeling- let them know that you feel alone or lonely. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them. 

Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships. 

Focus on resting and recovering

Take time to eat well, rest well, exercise, give time to yourself to think and engage in things you used to like doing before you started working- be it reading comics, or playing video games, or walking your pet.

Take effort to engage in things that you love doing, explore new activities if you feel like it and explore the world around you. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have answered the question “Can you donate eggs if you have depression?”.

We also briefly discussed what are the qualifications you need to have to be an egg donor as well as discuss what depression is and what you can do if you have depression. 

FAQ related to Can you donate eggs if you have depression?

How many eggs can a woman sell?

Legally, a woman can donate up to six times in their lifetime any amount beyond this can cause serious health issues. 

How many eggs do you lose when you donate?

For every ovulation cycle, your body might mature 10 to 20 eggs per cycle. So, every time you donate eggs, you will lose around 10 to 20 eggs. 

Why shouldn’t you donate your eggs?

Some of the reasons why you should not donate an egg is that it has serious health complications. Infact, some egg donors have reported long-term effects including aggressive breast cancer, loss of fertility, and fatal colon cancer after egg donations. 

Is donating your eggs painful?

There might be some discomfort, however donating eggs is not painful and is generally safe.

After removing the egg from the donor, the doctor fertilises them in a laboratory, and then transfers the fertilised egg or the resulting embryos into the recipient’s uterus. 

Can I still have babies if I donate eggs?

Yes, you can still have babies if you donate eggs because the procedure itself doesn’t have any impact on your fertility since women create close to 2 million eggs in their entire life time. 

References

10 Common Questions About Egg Donation. Family Tree Surrogacy. Retrieved on 15th April 2022. https://familytreesurrogacy.com/blog/questions-egg-donation/

Do I Qualify to be an Egg Donor? Family Inceptions. Retrieved on 15th April 2022. https://familyinceptions.com/egg-donors/do-i-qualify-to-be-an-egg-donor/

Qualifications of an Egg Donor. West Coast Egg Donation. Retrieved on 15th April 2022. https://www.westcoasteggdonation.com/become-egg-donor/requirements

Jayne Leonard. How does the egg donation process work? MedicalNewsToday. Retrieved on 15th April 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314750

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