What is BMI and why is it so important when it comes to donating eggs?
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. BMI is calculated by dividing your height (in centimetres) by your weight (in kilograms). So for example, if you are 173cm tall and weigh 67 kgs your BMI would be 22.4. Which is within the normal range.
The same groups apply to both men and women. Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5. Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9. Obese:BMI is 30 or more.
Many young women are surprised that their own health/BMI matters when it comes to egg donation, especially regarding weight and BMI and the lifestyle choices they make.
What is the maximum BMI you would allow for egg donation?
We accept women with a BMI up to 35. However, we would advise that if you do have a BMI of 30+, that being overweight can negatively affect your chances of becoming an Egg Donor.
There are many factors that affect your suitability to become an egg donor: your age, how well you might respond to ovarian stimulation, your psychosocial wellbeing and of course your own health.
Having BMI that’s too high is one of the most common reasons a woman can’t be an egg donor. This is because being overweight can affect your own natural fertility. This means that you might not respond well to the necessary ovarian stimulation that’s needed to ensure you have enough mature eggs to donate. The quality of your eggs may also be affected.
Does that mean I will never be able to donate my eggs or have my own children?
No not at all. Being unable to donate eggs because of a high BMI doesn’t mean that you can’t have children yourself naturally or that you will never be approved to donate at a later stage. It only means that in the meantime, you will need to take steps to improve your lifestyle, and we have the tools (and the team) who can assist you along the way!
What lifestyle changes would I need to make if my BMI is too high to donate?
If you are a smoker (including through the use of e-cigarettes) will affect your chances of becoming an egg donor. We would ask a potential donor whether they would be willing to stop smoking throughout the egg donation process. We usually recommend that an approved egg donor stops at least three months before the egg donation date. You will also be asked to limit your alcohol intake during the egg donation process.
It is important to state here that we don’t believe in “policing” our donors, but we do work on an honour system. When we recruit a donor and we explain the process, we specifically focus on the recipient involved. It is important for you, the potential donor to understand that it is not only about the money invested by the recipient and her family, but the emotional investment too. This is why it is important for someone looking to donate to be responsible and take this process seriously.
What steps can I take to get my BMI down in order to donate?
As mentioned above, adopting a healthy lifestyle in the months before you start fertility treatment is your first step.
Seek advice from our Women’s Health Nutritionist, Emily Innes who can put you on the perfect plan that will suit your body. Be sure to eat a good balanced diet that will provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need, such as wholegrain carbs, lean proteins and omega-3 rich fish with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
De-stress by starting yoga! We have a wonderful Fertility Yoga Specialist, Harriet Came who uses breathwork combined with specific yoga postures and sequences to support the endocrine system, to promote blood and energy flow to relevant areas of the body and to help relieve anxiety and stress.Finally, come in and see us! We have an incredible team of Fertility Experts who will advise you on what steps are important to make your dream of starting a family, a reality.
Donating eggs is a profoundly selfless act, and one that will forever change another family’s life. We at DESA dedicate our lives to finding the perfect donors for our recipients; although that is only one part of what we do. We are dedicated to forging and fostering our relationship with our wonderful donors.
Although donating eggs is an act of kindness and one which offers another family hope, we are just as invested in ensuring that you, the donor, are comfortable, happy, fit, healthy and fulfilled through this journey of life!
Love DESA x