Depression is a serious mental illness that can have a profound effect on every aspect of your life. As a result, many egg donor programs tend to discourage women with depression from donating eggs. However, it’s important to note that depression doesn’t automatically disqualify potential donors.

Here at KindEos, our priority is ensuring the well-being of our donors and their safety in the donation process. We perform thorough mental health screenings on all potential donors to determine their suitability to donate. Every case is unique, which means we make recommendations on a case-by-case basis.

If you have depression and you’re thinking about donating, you should be aware that there are several reasons why it may be risky to donate. As such, it’s important that you disclose your mental health history so we can provide the best advice for your situation.

Pre-donation screenings

When you are considering donating your eggs, you will need to complete a series of thorough pre-screening evaluations. These evaluations are not designed to disqualify you as a donor.

Rather, they are designed to be thorough in order to detect any issues or concerns that may affect the egg donation process. In this way, we can minimize any potential risks to the donors and maximize conception outcomes for the recipients.

A history of depression or other mental health issues can have a significant impact on egg donation. These screenings are used to help us understand your specific situation and make recommendations based on this, which is why it’s critical that you be honest and upfront about any conditions you may have, including depression.

Psychological Evaluation By A Mental Health Professional

Once you’ve passed the pre-screening, a mental health professional will assess your emotional and psychological state during a more thorough screening process. This assessment may include in-depth interviews, questionnaires, and/or checklists designed to fully evaluate your mental health.

As a result of such an in-depth screening, we may even diagnose potential mental health issues that you may not have been aware of.

During this psychological evaluation, potential donors will be asked about each factor that has affected their mental health and physical health in the past, including:

  • Prior medication: We will ask about any medications you have taken in the past, as well as any side effects or reactions to these.
  • Substance abuse history: We will also ask about any history of drug or alcohol abuse, as this can have a significant impact on your ability to donate eggs.
  • Interpersonal relationships: You will be asked about your current and past relationships in order to get a sense of your emotional state and overall support system.
  • Traumatic events: We will ask about any traumatic events you have experienced in the past, as these can have a significant impact on your mental health.

6 Reasons it’s risky to donate eggs if you have depression

Depression and other mental health conditions can impact the egg donation process. There are several reasons for this, however the most important reason we consider is the risk to the donor.

Our priority is the well-being of our donors, both during and after the egg donation process. It can be too risky for women with depression to donate their eggs, as the donation process may negatively affect their mental health.

With that in mind, the following are six specific reasons why it’s risky to donate eggs if you have depression.

1. Donors must be completely committed

The egg donation process is an involved process. It can take anywhere from one to two months to complete an egg donation. You’ll also need to be able to follow instructions and attend scheduled appointments on time. Depression can sometimes interfere with your ability to do these things.

If you are struggling with your depression at any time during the egg donation process, it could affect your ability to complete the donation process. Not to mention that you ought to be working on your mental health at this point, in which case committing to the egg donation process may simply be too much.

2. Antidepressants may interfere with fertility medications

The egg donation process involves taking fertility medications, including hormone injections, to stimulate the eggs for retrieval. Antidepressants may interfere with this process as they can also change hormone levels. Certain types of antidepressants may therefore be contraindicated in the egg donation process due to this interference with the fertility medications.

If you are currently taking antidepressants, it’s important to discuss your situation with your doctor and the staff conducting your evaluation so they can determine if it’s safe for you to proceed with egg donation.

3. Stressors may affect your ability to cope

The egg donation process can be quite stressful. It involves taking hormones and undergoing various medical procedures, all while managing the emotional and psychological aspects of donating eggs. If you have depression, it’s important to be aware of these potential stressors and how they may impact your mental health.

Feeling emotional during or after the egg donation process is normal. However, it’s important that donors have strategies and the ability to cope with these emotions. If depression affects your ability to manage these situations, you may struggle to cope with any feelings you experience as a result of the egg donation.

4. Some mental health disorders are genetic

As some mental health conditions are genetic, there is a possibility that these conditions could be passed down to the child that is conceived as a result of your egg donation. It is important to understand this link, which is why we screen potential donors and perform genetic testing as part of our screening process.

The following are two types of genetic disorders we screen for:

Chromosomal Disorders

A health disorder that is genetic is a chromosomal disorder. These disorders are caused by a change in the number or structure of chromosomes. Studies have linked chromosomal abnormalities to mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Multifactorial Disorders

Some mental health disorders can be multifactorial in nature. For example, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is an example of a multifactorial disorder. Multifactorial disorders are caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. As such, they can be difficult to test for. Predictive testing can be done, although it’s not diagnostic.

5. Fertility hormones may worsen mental health conditions

The hormones used in fertility treatments can sometimes worsen mental health conditions because they can cause hormonal imbalances. For example, if you have bipolar disorder, the hormonal changes caused by fertility treatments could trigger a manic episode.

Other mental health conditions that may be exacerbated by fertility hormones include anxiety disorders and depression. This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor about your mental health history before starting any treatment.

6. Your circumstances could change

There are many reasons to donate. However, if you’re struggling with depression at the time that you’ve decided to donate, your intentions could change over the course of the process.

For example, maybe you recently experienced a traumatic event and are looking for a way to cope by helping others. Or, perhaps you’re in the midst of a depressive episode and feel the need to help someone else create life.

There’s nothing wrong with having these motivations. However, if you’re currently in the midst of struggling with your mental wellbeing, your intentions could change dramatically. You may go from wanting to donate eggs to not wanting to in the middle of the donation process.

Consult a fertility expert

If you have a history of depression and you’re thinking about donating eggs, be sure to speak with a fertility expert. It’s essential that you understand the potential risks involved with donating your eggs.

After all, having depression doesn’t automatically disqualify you from donating your eggs. It’s just a matter of making sure that the egg donation process is safe and won’t negatively affect your mental health.

Understand your options for egg donation.

Kindbody is a new generation of women's health and fertility care. Providing you with the information you need to take control of your health and make the decisions that are right for you. We’re a community of healthcare providers, fertility specialists, and women who get it. We’re on a mission to democratize and de-stigmatize women’s health and fertility care, making it accessible, intuitive, and empowering.