Physiologically, a girl becomes a woman typically at 12 years, when she hits puberty. It is around then that one of her ovaries releases its first mature egg, capable of being fertilized. Of course, 12 year old girls are not allowed to donate their eggs to intending parents.
The process of releasing a mature egg once every 28 days, according to the menstrual cycle, begins at age 12, but there is no rush. It continues until a woman reaches around 50 years old, usually a year or two more. So there is plenty of time to donate your eggs when you are mature enough to make the decision for yourself, and when you are old enough legally to make that decision for yourself.
The legal age may vary from state to state, and then the age requirements of individual clinics may vary even more. For instance, our requirement is: ” You must be a healthy female between 20 and 30 years old”
A clinic in Pennsylvania asks, “Are you between the ages of 20 and 29 years of age?” A New York Agency makes this requirement for local donors, and is a little stricter for donors who have to travel to the city: “We require our local NYC egg donors to be between the ages of 21 to 34 years of age, though exceptions are occasionally made for women between ages 18 to 21 and 34 to 35.” Another clinic in Washington DC requires donors to be: ” Between the ages of 18 and 32″. And here are the age requirements from a Massachusetts agency: ” Between 20-29 years of age (up to 31 for experienced donors)”
The ages are all similar. None dip below age 18, which would be illegal anyway, and most won’t accept a donor under 20 or 21 years. This makes sense since many states have a variety of laws with age limits, and by 21 years old, everybody in every state is considered to be an adult and old enough to make such intimate decisions.
What you might have noticed is that most clinics and agencies provide an upper age limit that is very low. Typically, that limit is somewhere in the range of 29 to 35 years old. This might seem strange when you consider that menopause typically hits a woman around age 51, and rarely as low as 45. But it is true that over time, the quality of a woman’s eggs slowly deteriorates, and there are plenty of woman who start to have age-related complications bearing a child even at 35 years of age.
From that perspective, it does make sense that donors would be limited to an age range where there is no question as to the health of their egg, at least from an age perspective. IVF is a complex procedure, costly in money to implement and costly in emotions to go through. So clinics want to be absolutely sure to identify only those eggs most likely to succeed. And those eggs are usually from women between 20 and 30 years old.Return to Blog