Before beginning any egg donation procedure, the chosen egg donor will need to undergo a psychological evaluation, a variety of medical/fertility screenings, and a legal review. All medical screenings will be done at the prospective parent(s)’ IVF center. Once these are complete, the egg donation cycle will not begin until all legal contracts have been signed.
The donor will be asked to consult a psychologist to make sure she fully understands the benefits and risks of egg donation and has proper a motivation for becoming a donor. We need to know that our egg donors are reliable and will honor their agreement. Likewise, egg donors should view this evaluation as an opportunity to explore their feelings, have their questions answered, and understand what it means to be offering this life-changing gift.
The donor’s ovaries will be examined through a physical/pelvic exam and blood tests to confirm her ability to produce eggs. To help determine ovarian function and reserve, the egg donor may also need to have a vaginal ultrasound on the second or third day of menstruation.
The donor will be tested for blood type, infectious diseases, drug use and general health. The sexual partner of the egg donor may also be asked to undergo screening for sexually transmitted diseases.
Genetic Screening: The donor’s family history will be evaluated to raise awareness of possible hereditary diseases or genetic disorders. Testing consists of blood work for genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and other genetic problems.
Once the donor has passed all screenings, attorneys will draft the legal contract and both the Intended Parent(s) and the egg donor will review and sign the document. Referrals for attorneys specializing in reproductive law are available upon request.
Once all screenings and legal items are complete, the entire egg stimulation and donation cycle take approximately two weeks from start to finish.
Phase two, Stimulation
Egg donors are monitored frequently during the stimulation phase. Doctors will measure follicle growth via vaginal ultrasound and will use blood tests to measure hormone levels. This frequent monitoring enables the physician to determine if the follicles are growing appropriately and if medication need to be adjusted.
- To begin, the egg donor may be put on birth control pills for a short period of time in order to adjust the timing of her menstrualcycle.
- Next, the egg donor will undergo a vaginal ultrasound and then begin daily self-injections of a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) for approximately 10-12 days to grow the egg follicles.
- At this point, a secondary, FDA-required, infectious disease screening will be done prior to egg retrieval.
- Once the follicles have reached maturity, an injection of a specific hormone, known as a Trigger Shot, will be self-injected on a specific day and a specific time to prepare the ovaries to release the eggs.
Phase three Egg retrieval
Egg retrieval takes place approximately 34-36 hours after the Trigger Shot. Egg retrieval is a short procedure, lasting 30 minutes or less, however, the donor will rest for an hour or so after the retrieval. This allows the physician/staff to monitor the donor while the effects of the anaesthesia wear off.
- The donor will be given light IV sedation to ensure comfort.
- Under ultrasound guidance, the physician will pass a needle through the vaginal wall and aspirate the follicle fluid, which contains the eggs.
- Once the eggs are retrieved and the anaesthesia has worn off, a friend or family member can drive the donor home or to her hotel. It is highly recommended that someone stay with her for the rest of the day in the unlikely event that complications arise.
- Compensation will be transferred to the donor’s bank account within seven days of the egg retrieval.
With approval from the treating physician, the donor may return to normal routines one day after retrieval (except for physically strenuous activity, sexual activity or exercise). Some physicians will require a post-retrieval ultrasound that is scheduled 7–10 days following the egg retrieval.