For Egg Donors:
The Egg Donation Medical Procedure
Following is the medical process involved with being an egg donor and donating your eggs.
If you are interested in becoming an egg donor, you can apply to an egg donor agency, or to an IVF fertility clinic that has an egg donor pool. These IHR.com pages can assist you in applying to become an egg donor:
- How to become an egg donor - explains all the steps to apply to become an egg donor
- Donor egg programs - Contains a list of donor egg programs you can apply to
- IVF fertililty clinics - Contains a list of IVF clinics, many of which have donor egg programs, where you can apply.
If you are accepted to proceed further, all donor candidates, known or anonymous, must be thoroughly screened before being accepted as a donor. Screening could take from one to two months to complete. Types of screening are:
- Medical screening
- Psychological counseling
- Genetic counseling
Once you have met all of the above requirements, your "donor profile" will be made available to prospective recipients assuming the egg donor program allows the recipient to select a donor. In some cases, donor egg programs select donors on behalf of the recipient. In either case, if your are selected, the donor program will contact you to participate in an IVF cycle.
4. Cycle coordination
After you and the recipient are matched and you've completed all of the screening requirements, you will agree on a target month for the egg retrieval. The IVF clinic will coordinate your treatment cycle with the recipient's cycle.
This process may take several months based on the donor's normal cycle, the recipient's normal cycle and their personal schedules. It usually takes 4-6 weeks from the time the donor and the recipient are synchronized with birth control pills until the actual egg retrieval.
5. Egg retrieval
Once the doctor feels that you have reached the criteria to proceed to the egg retrieval, he'll order an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone, to finalize growth and maturation of the eggs. This injection is very carefully timed so that the egg retrieval will occur at the optimal time just before ovulation occurs.
Egg retrieval typically takes place under some form of sedation, so you will not feel any pain. A needle is attached to an internal ultrasound probe, which is inserted into the vagina. The doctor uses the ultrasound to see the ovaries and locate the ovarian follicles. The needle punctures each follicle, and a gentle suction is applied to remove the egg and fluid within the follicle. The retrieval lasts about 30 minutes.
An embryologist then evaluates the fluid and finds the egg. Sperm and eggs are placed together to allow fertilization to occur.
Afterward, you may notice some cramping similar to menstrual cramping. The doctor may prescribe pain medication, although Tylenol is usually sufficient to relieve any discomfort. Many women feel fine the next day, while others need to rest longer.
6. Post-retrieval care
To prevent infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. Also, you might be given a steroid to reduce any inflammation in the reproductive organs, and hormonal supplements to provide extra support to the endometrial lining. It is important to take these medications exactly as prescribed.
You may be asked to refrain from sexual intercourse for a period of time, or avoid submerging yourself in water (such as taking a bath). Use a pad, not tampons, to deal with any vaginal bleeding.
You should be given clear instructions about what to do if you need medical attention.
In some programs, donors return for a check-up or two.