Can I Become an Egg Donor if I Smoke?
Smoking has a long list of adverse side effects, one of which is higher infertility rates. As a result, women who currently smoke, vape, or use any nicotine products do not qualify to become donors. If, however, you successfully quit smoking and all other forms of nicotine, you may be able to become a donor.
How Smoking Affects Fertility & Egg Donation
Multiple studies continue to correlate the same reality: nicotine use compromises egg quality. To begin with, tobacco consumption in any form (chewing, smoking, vaping, patches, etc.) seems to deteriorate an egg’s DNA material.
Researchers believe the combination of compromised egg DNA, combined with the compromised internal health of women who smoke, places them at higher risk of things like:
- Infertility diagnosis (smokers/tobacco users have infertility rates twice that of their non-tobacco using counterparts)
- Higher miscarriage rates
- Taking longer to conceive
- Pregnancy complications
- Babies born early (pre-term labor)
- Full-term babies with low birth weights
- Babies born with cleft-palate, asthma, and other issues
- SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- Babies born with weaker lungs and prone to a range of health problems
Smokeless tobacco products have the same effect.
Couples and individuals participating in egg donation cycles seek donors who can help them achieve their dreams of becoming parents of a healthy baby. As a result, we must ensure the eggs donors do not use any form of nicotine. To achieve that goal, we set stringent health criteria for our donors.
Health Requirements for Egg Donors
The following health requirements are relatively standard across the egg bank spectrum.
Women must be between the ages of 20 and 32
This ensures donors are old enough to make mature, well-thought-out decisions about both immediate and potential future ramifications of donating your eggs to strangers. It also means your eggs are in “peak shape.” As women age, the quality of their eggs is compromised. Although most women in their 30s are able to achieve pregnancy on their own, optimal egg donation cycles are conducted with women in their 20s… and very early 30s.
No reproductive abnormalities or known chromosomal/genetic abnormalities
We provide a thorough physical screening, including a general reproductive wellness work up. This is one of the benefits to egg donors as it lets you know if there are issues you were unaware of. For example, if you have a low ovarian reserve (fewer-than-normal eggs for your age), you would not want to donate eggs should you desire to have children of your own.
In good general physical and mental health
Your physical and mental health screenings ensure that you are a strong candidate for a successful egg donation cycle. Recipients or intended parents utilizing egg donation count on their selected donors to abstain from substances and activities, which would compromise the donor’s ability to provide healthy eggs.
What about other recreational or prescribed drugs?
All psychotropic medications, which include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers, can negatively impact egg quality, which is one of our highest priorities when retrieving eggs for donation. Even if marijuana is legal in your state, you cannot use or consume THC/CBD products while participating in an egg donation cycle. Research is too new in this area for us to take a risk. Currently, researchers correlate marijuana and its negative impact on ovulation cycles and other reproductive functions. For our male side of the equation, research is clear. There is a correlation between marijuana usage and decreased sperm production.
Can I Become an Egg Donor if I Quit Smoking or using tobacco/nicotine?
The short answer is “most likely.” Depending on your age and how long you’ve smoked, some clinics and egg banks allow women to donate as long as they’ve ceased using tobacco/nicotine for three months before initiating screening for an egg donation cycle. For long-term nicotine use, the donor candidate may be asked to wait six months prior to initiating the donor screening process. But even “one cigarette” will restart the clock.
Would you like to learn more about whether or not you qualify to become an egg donor? Contact the Donor Egg Network by phone, (425) 296-7227, or you can get in touch with us online.