Here's the overview, with help from New York's Department of Health:
- Woman must be between 21 and 35.
- Some programs prefer women who have already had children.
- Woman applies or interviews for a program. Her height, looks, athletic ability, intelligence, etc., can be evaluated.
- Program staff go through the emotional and physical outcomes of donating, so that the woman knows what to expect.
- She has a psychological evaluation.
- She has a thorough physical exam, and fills out a questionnaire about general health, drinking and smoking habits, etc.
- She gives blood, urine, and cell samples to test for diseases, infections, and viruses.
- She gives an exhaustive medical history of herself and her family, and gives another blood sample to look for genetic diseases.
- Woman first takes one (or more) weeks of medicine to stop her normal ovarian functioning. Side effects can include hot flashes, sleep problems, vision problems, headaches, etc.
- She begins ten-ish days of injections of fertility drugs to mature more eggs than normal. Side effects can include mood swings, fluid retention, etc., and in some cases, Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which can cause a variety of side effects from abdominal pain to kidney failure.
- During the injection cycle, the woman must have frequent blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor how her body is responding.
- When the doctor determines the "time is right", the woman receives one last injection of another drug to prepare the eggs to be harvested.
- She undergoes a short (30 minutes usually) minor surgical procedure, where a thin needle retrieves the eggs from her ovaries.
- Woman typically only stays in the hospital a few hours after the surgery. She may need a couple of days of restricted activity afterwards.
- It's normal for her to feel "let down" after the intense process ends.
- Some programs require her to come back for a couple of follow-up appointments or meet with a counselor.
Overall, egg donation seems to come with a lot of inherent risks, but if all goes well and the woman doesn't have any infections, she should recover fully and still be able to have kids of her own. Also, whereas the entire process usually takes less than a month, it apparently is completely time-consuming during those weeks!
Maybe there are easier ways to make some fast cash? :)