Step 1: Application and Screening
The egg donation process begins with an application to an egg donation program, preceded by an initial screening, a few interviews (case coordinators and physicians), and some general testing. Applicants who pass these initial screening procedures will have their names added to the egg donor program database and be consequently matched with intended parents.
Step 2: Matching
Couples who need donor eggs will view our database of pre-screened egg donors and make a selection accordingly. Once the couple decides to move forward, the IVF coordinator will contact the egg donor to confirm availability.
If the donor is available and can pass all the FDA tests, an official match is established. Some donors are selected immediately, while others may be waiting for months, if not years, before being elected, and some may not be selected at all.
Step 3: Suppression/Ovarian Stimulation
The egg donor must self-administer hormone injections to suppress her menstrual cycle to synchronize with the recipient’s cycle. In the ovarian stimulation phase, the donor will self-administer gonadotropin to stimulate the ovaries. In a natural menstrual cycle, a single egg will mature. During gonadotropin injections, more than one egg will mature.
In ovarian stimulation, the donor’s eggs are closely monitored via an ultrasound and blood tests to ensure her ovaries function well and do not experience ovarian hyperstimulation. The egg donor will be required to visit the center regularly during this particular phase.
Step 4: Development of the Endometrial Lining
For the recipient, a favorable uterine environment must be present. This consists of an endometrium that is a minimum of 7 mm thick. While the donor’s egg is developing for retrieval, the recipient must take progesterone and estrogen injections to prep her uterine lining. In most cases, prepping the endometrial lining for transfer is not a concern; however, she may need to take special treatments to improve her uterus’s thickness.
Step 5: Triggered Ovulation and Egg Retrieval for Egg Donation
When ultrasound imaging indicates the donor’s eggs are developed, the donor’s ovulation cycle will be triggered. A few days later, the eggs will be retrieved through aspiration, which occurs transvaginally using an aspiration needle. After the procedure, the donor will be requested to rest for a few days at home.
Steps 6: Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
The eggs are fertilized with a donor or partner’s sperm. After the embryos form, they are transferred into the intended mother’s uterus a few days later, usually 3 to 5 days later.
Step 7: Post Retrieval Procedures
After the embryos are transferred, the donor will be asked to visit the clinic for post-retrieval procedures and check-ups. This is to ensure that she is recovering well from the retrieval and simulation procedures.
The embryo recipient will be administered a pregnancy test to check the status of the embryo transfer. A blood test is also conducted to monitor hCG levels. When pregnancy is confirmed, the recipient will be discharged to an obstetrician for pregnancy care.
From the day the injections are administered to the day the eggs are retrieved, the entire egg donation process can take up to five weeks.
Contact Rite Options to learn more about the egg retrieval process.