12 Steps for Egg Donors

Hard to believe, but women are born with about 400,000 eggs. Unlike what you were told in health class in high school, each month not 1, but 30 plus eggs are often "candidates" to be combined with sperm for pregnancy.

 

Although usually only one makes it as a "healthy" option for fertilization, during a medicated egg donation cycle, more than 1 of the 30 eggs will be viable toward fertilization (anywhere between 8 and 15 eggs on the average, but sometimes even more).

Before you do the egg retrieval you will undergo a medical evaluation by the Intended Parent's fertility doctor. This will include cultures, blood work and an ultrasound – it is very similar to your typical gynecological exam.

You will also meet with a genetic counselor to see if there is any family history that could be a concern.

You will meet with a psychologist to make sure you understand the implications of your donation. The therapist will be someone who regularly talks with Egg Donors and fully understands the process.

Once cleared by the doctor, geneticist, and psychologist you will be referred to a lawyer that specializes in third party reproductive law who will review your contract with you. You will sign the contract and then you will be ready to start the medical procedure of the egg retrieval.

In order to retrieve these eggs, you will be prescribed medications. In most cases, if you are not already on birth control pills you will start them so it is easier for the doctor to control when to start medications.

The agency will assist in setting up an appointment with a doctor close to where you live (that the agency and fertility clinic will be in touch with) to make sure your ovaries look good before starting the injectable medications. This clinic will be referred to as “the monitoring clinic.” In most cases, if all looks good your first medication will be a medication that will help all of your egg follicles keep growing while keeping you from ovulating. BTW, it may sound scary to inject yourself with medications but most of the Egg Donors soon get over the fear. Sometimes a partner or friend can assist or if it is really too hard for you we can arrange for someone locally to do it – possibly you will go to your local monitoring clinic and they can do it there.

After a prescribed period of time (usually no more than 2 weeks) your doctor will give you medications so that your egg follicles (sacs that contain the egg) will start to grow. The goal is for many to grow, contain eggs and grow at a steady even pace. You will have a series of ultrasounds and blood work to ensure this is happening. The first ulstra sound is usually about 5 days after injectable medications start.
You will be monitored at a local clinic and depending upon the results of your blood work and ultrasound they will tell you when to come back. Usually 2- 3 days later.
Typically the egg donor will take 10 or so days of medication. Some women take more time, some take less – but it is not an indicator of success. It is just how your own body reacts to the medication.
When your follicles are close to the size the doctor wants to be you will fly or drive (depending upon your location) to the Intended Parents’ clinic. Most times you will come approximately 2 -3 days before the retrieval so the doctor can examine you personally. He or she will then determine when the retrieval will take place.

The night before the retrieval you will be instructed to give yourself one last shot at an exact time. This is a different medication than what you have taken before and will trigger your eggs to release the next day. It is very important that you do the shot at precisely the time you are instructed or the retrieval will not be successful. Most people set an alarm on their smart phone so they are certain not to miss it.

Most times there will be between 8– 20 mature eggs and the retrieval process will take approximately a half hour. You can expect light sedation since the eggs are taken out through the vagina with a long needle. There will be no incisions or scarring. It will take about 3 weeks to a month from the day of the retrieval process to know if a viable pregnancy occurred. You will be informed if you want to be.
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