The Egg Donor Experience
Once approved and matched with a recipient, egg donors undergo a process that is very similar to a standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, the steps of which are outlined below.
A woman normally develops and releases one egg per month, a process regulated by the reproductive hormones. At the beginning of your cycle, you will begin daily injections of hormonal medication(s), similar to those produced by your body during a menstrual cycle. Taken over a period of approximately two weeks, these drugs stimulate your ovaries to develop multiple follicles containing eggs. Hormone stimulation increases the chances for success in a donor egg cycle by increasing the number of oocytes available for fertilization and replacement, as embryos, to the recipient. In most cases, you will produce enough eggs for two recipient couples.
You are monitored carefully, through ultrasound examinations and blood tests, to determine your response to the stimulation drugs. While you are receiving these medications, you will be scheduled for almost daily morning visits to our office. This also allows us to closely track the development of the follicles containing your eggs. When they have matured, an injection triggers the final ripening process.
Approximately 35 hours after you have received the final injection, you are scheduled for egg retrieval. You are sedated and monitored by an anesthesiologist, while one of our physicians uses an ultrasound probe to visualize your follicles. In a process that lasts approximately twenty minutes, a specialized needle is inserted through your vaginal wall, reaching the follicles and drawing out the fluid containing the oocytes. During the procedure, you are completely asleep. The eggs are transferred immediately to the embryology laboratory and you are brought to the recovery room.
You will spend about an hour in recovery before being released to someone who can escort you home, where you must rest for the remainder of the day. You cannot take yourself home after the procedure, you must have someone pick you up and escort you home.
The donation process is completed with a follow-up exam two weeks later.