What Is The Cut-Off Age To Donate Your Eggs?

This is a common question asked by women who want to share a few of their healthy eggs with intended parents, and it’s also a very important one. As South Africa’s leading egg donor program, Nurture must ensure our egg donors have eggs which are the absolute best quality possible. Our intended parents have been through so much heartache and pain on their journey to become a parent, we need to ensure they have the best possible chance of having the baby they have longed for so long. Retrieving the best quality eggs from an egg donor involves, among other factors, looking at their age. The age of the egg is often THE most important factor in determining the success of IVF treatment.  In this article we look at why the need for a cut-off age for egg donors, what happens to women after they turn 29, when is the best time to donate eggs, and how to become an egg donor in South Africa.

Why is there a cut-off age?

The sad but undeniable fact of life is that women have a limited reproductive life, unlike men. Unfortunately, our eggs have an expiry date. Beyond 30, a woman’s fertility decreases. More rapidly the older she gets. Intended parents need assurances that donated eggs are healthy, that they have a good chance of resulting in a pregnancy, and that there are no fertility issues with the egg donor. This is often why sometimes an intended parent will be reluctant to choose a donor who is over 30 years old. To avoid this, we restrict our pool to a maximum of 29 years old.

How young can you start donating eggs? Most egg donor programs would prefer not to work with donors under the age of 19. This is a big responsibility that requires commitment. Younger donors might not understand the gravity of their decision. Egg donation is a lengthy process that requires close coordination between the egg donor, medical staff and the egg donation agency. For these reasons, agencies prefer working with women in their twenties.

What happens after we turn 29?

You are born with a set number of eggs in your body. As you inch closer to menopause, your egg count decreases. Slowly in your mid-thirties, and then rapidly after 38. A common reason why older women undergo IVF treatments is the reduced number and quality of their eggs. Nevertheless, there are women who conceive naturally when they are older and have perfectly healthy babies. If a couple is opting for IVF treatment, it’s likely because they have been unable to have a healthy pregnancy without medical assistance.

Unfortunately, if an egg donor is older than 30, there’s a higher chance of her eggs being fewer in quantity and having an increased chance of being poorer in quality. This means that the chance of becoming pregnant and giving birth to a healthy baby might be compromised.

How do we become egg donors?

Nurture Egg Donation Program was founded in 2008 by internationally renowned ex-infertility patient, author and public speaker: Tertia Albertyn, along with her passionate, caring and experienced team. We are here to make sure that your journey with us, either as an egg donor or an intended parent, is a positive and successful one. Nurture is South Africa’s most successful egg donor program. Contact us today and let’s start a conversation.

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Tertia Albertyn is the founder of Nurture - South Africa’s longest-running and most successful Egg Donation Program. An accomplished speaker and an award-winning published author, as well as an ex-infertility patient herself, she is highly regarded in South Africa and internationally for the work she does in infertility. Tertia was instrumental in establishing the first FDA-approved frozen donor egg bank in Africa. Tertia has an MBA from the University of Cape Town and lives in Cape Town, South Africa with her husband and three children.