What is the body mass index?
During the medical screening process of becoming an egg donor, you will undergo several screening tests to assess your suitability for egg donation, including the determination of your body mass index (BMI). In the general medical setting, your BMI is considered when evaluating risk factors for certain medical disorders, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, and in egg donation, combined with other medical criteria, it is considered when predicting how you might respond to medication, as well as how you might recovery afterward.
Your BMI is a numerical calculation used to determine whether you’re underweight, overweight, or obese, and is determined by considering both your height and weight. Most fertility have standardized guidelines, often with a numerical value of 18-28, though we find on occasion that some fertility centers deviate from this general guideline (such as restricting candidates to a value below 28 or a number above 18). You can find a BMI chart HERE.
Why is my body mass index important?
Now that you understand what BMI is, we bet you’re wondering how this number affects your ability to donate your eggs.
In general, your BMI, if outside the standard values of 18-28, may negatively impact an egg donation cycle. A low BMI (under 18) may lead to a more aggressive response to medication, which may put you at risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
On the other hand, a high BMI (above 28) may negatively impact your egg donation cycle for a number of reasons. First, adipose tissue (the fat cells in the body) secrete hormones that can interfere with how you respond to medication and how your follicles develop. The more adipose tissue you have, the higher the level of certain hormones in your body that can interfere with the stimulation of your ovaries. Further, an elevated BMI may require a higher dosage of stimulation medication, which may result in poor egg quality at egg retrieval, reducing the possibility of success for your hopeful parents. Finally, an elevated BMI is linked to a higher risk of an egg donation cycle being cancelled, as a result of a poor response to medication.
What if my body mass index is below 18 or above 28?
If you do not fall within the standard BMI guidelines, please know your disqualification has nothing to do with your physical appearance; rather, it is due to the correlation fertility doctors have found between BMI and poor cycle outcome, as a result of documented research evaluating past cycles. Fortunately, by understanding the guidelines for BMI, you can initiate a healthy dietary program now to help you achieve the goal of falling within the required BMI range, and then apply to be an egg donor candidate once again, after you meet BMI criteria.
Contact our office today with any questions you may have about BMI, or how BMI is incorporated into the medical screening process when determining your eligibility to donate your eggs.