Once you are selected for an egg donor cycle, the length of your commitment can be as few as six weeks and as long as four months. The goal of our staff is to make your journey as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible.
At Egg Donation, Inc. we have the best relationships and work with the best Reproductive Endocrinologists across the nation who will work to ensure your safety and well-being during the egg donation process. Our program meets all of the standards and criteria set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Our initial egg donor application is very simple and confidential throughout the entire egg donation process. Once you have been selected by a recipient, you can expect:
If you are a first-time donor (or a repeat donor who has not cycled in a while), once selected, you will have an initial screening visit to the doctor’s office. If you are traveling for the cycle or if the Reproductive office is a distance from your home, you may have some of your pre-testing visits at a local clinic that your case manager will identify for you. Each doctor has his own protocol, but here is what we’ve found to be the standard testing order:
- You will have your blood drawn on the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle for hormone tests and may have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound
- Psychological screening (about 3-4 hours) if the hormone test results come back optimal
When your pre-testing results are optimal, and you have been psychologically cleared, the cycling doctor will want to meet you for the first time to conduct his own medical and genetic screening.
- If you live locally to the cycling doctor, we will work with the nurse coordinator to set up an appointment time for you to visit the doctor.
- If you live out of state from the cycling doctor, we have a travel agency that will assist in coordinating the travel arrangements for you.
The medical screening trip is typically a one-day turn-around that may require an overnight stay. You will travel alone for this trip.
Screenings during this visit typically include medical/genetic tests, as well as blood draws for any sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis, and drug/nicotine testing.
Once you are medically cleared by the doctor after passing the above screenings, but before you start stimulation medications, you will go through the legal process. Your case manager will assign you an attorney to review and finalize a legal contract to be signed by you and the recipient. Upon receipt of all signed contacts, the recipient’s attorney issues a legal clearance letter, enabling the doctor to begin the medical cycle.
A medications calendar will be created for you by the doctor. As the contract has been signed, you will then be able to begin your medications, which will stimulate your ovaries to produce and grow the eggs. Typically, you will start with birth control pills to synchronize your monthly cycle with the carrier, who could be the aspiring mother or the recipient’s surrogate. After, you will learn to give yourself daily injections of hormones, often administered in the thigh or belly, for two to three weeks with a small needle. The injections are simple to administer. You may also start by taking Lupron injections for about 10-14 days, which will shut down your ovulation. This may cause the following side effects: mild headaches, hot flashes, or a sense of fatigue. Of course, you may not have any side effects at all — hormones can cause different reactions in each person.
After stopping the birth control pills or starting the Lupron, you will begin a series of injections using gonadotropin hormones such as Follistim, Gonal-F, or Menopur. The active ingredient in the gonadotropins is known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) because it works to increase the number of follicles developing in the ovaries. The follicles are the fluid filled sacs within the ovaries that contain the eggs. HCG or a Lupron trigger is your final injection, and this initiates the final stage of maturation and timing of the egg retrieval. HCG is a natural hormone and works to stimulate ovulation; it has been used safely for many years. The doctor’s office will instruct you on how to take/inject your medications and will be available to answer any questions you may have.
If you are prone to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) you may feel some of the side effects attributed to the gonadotropin injections. These effects are usually mild and may include allergic sensitivity, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, headaches and/or mood swings. You may even gain a few pounds, which will only be a temporary weight gain as it is when you have PMS.
While on medications, you will be medically monitored to check your response to the hormones. Your schedule will need to be flexible during this time to accommodate the many appointments for medical monitoring. The monitoring will include blood draws and vaginal ultrasound examinations. The blood draws are to test hormone levels, and the transvaginal ultrasounds allow the doctor to monitor the growth of the eggs on your ovaries. If you are traveling for your cycle, your case manager will find a facility near your home for most of your monitoring appointments before you travel back to the doctor for the retrieval.
When the eggs are mature, you will return to the cycling doctor for the egg retrieval, which is usually scheduled early in the morning. The egg retrieval procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and requires about one to two hours of postoperative recovery. The egg retrieval is performed vaginally, and the eggs are aspirated with an ultrasound guided needle. During the procedure, you will be under light sedation. You will need to have a companion drive you to and from the procedure, and we recommend that you clear your schedule, so you may rest for the remainder of the day. It is very common to experience some cramping and spotting following the process.
Please be aware of increased fertility for several days prior to the egg retrieval and for several days after the egg retrieval. You should avoid sexual relations when you begin medications and seven days and for two weeks after the retrieval (until you begin your next period).
If you are traveling for the egg retrieval, expect to be near the cycling facility for approximately 7-10 days. This amount of time will vary depending on the recommendation of the doctor. You will be allowed to travel with a companion for the retrieval trip, and their travel expenses are covered as well.
On the day of your retrieval, your personal case manager will communicate with the doctor’s office. Once she confirms that the retrieval has occurred, your compensation for your participation in the egg donor cycle will be mailed out to you immediately.
We know the time and effort it takes to be an egg donor and we treat all our donors with the care and the respect they deserve. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions for our staff about becoming an egg donor.
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Once you have created your own personal account, you will be able to log in at your convenience and fill out the formal egg donor application. Any information you enter will be saved, enabling you to come back and complete the formal application as time permits. Once you have submitted your application, you can login at any time to update your profile and manage your image gallery.
Thank you for your interest in becoming an Egg Donor! It’s the generosity of women like you who help infertile couples make their dreams of becoming parents come true. We acknowledge you for choosing to be a contribution to the lives of others.