Assisted reproduction has become more popular in recent years due to society’s tendency to postpone having children until later in life. Assisted reproduction gives a ray of hope for women with chromosomal abnormalities, ovarian failure or endometriosis.
Below we have outlined every step of the egg donation process:
Step 1 – Application and Screening
Before anything can happen, a potential egg donor must apply to an egg donation program. After applying, they will have to go through an initial screening and interview. They will be added to an available egg donors list once they have been accepted. The will then move on to the matching phase.
Step 2 – Egg Donor Matching
Couples who work with our agency and decide to use donor eggs can view pre-screened candidates. A tentative match is made when the Intended parents have selected a donor. An egg donation coordinator from Physician’s Surrogacy will contact the egg donor to confirm her availability. After the intended parent chooses a potential donor, the egg donor proceeds to medical screenings. Our physician will determine the donor is healthy for the donation, making the match official. Additionally, both the intended parents and egg donor must have time that coincide so that the transfer may take place almost immediately.
Step 3 – Suppression and Ovarian Stimulation for the Egg Donor
The egg donor will self-administer 10-12 days of hormone injections. These injections suppress the egg donor’s natural cycle so that her and the recipient’s cycles are synchronized. During the ovarian stimulation phase, the egg donor uses a daily injection of gonadotropin to stimulate her ovaries. In a woman’s natural cycle, only one egg reaches maturity. Gonadotropin ensures more than one egg matures for retrieval.
During ovarian stimulation, blood tests and an ultrasound are used to monitor egg donors closely. This ensures that the ovaries are not going into hyperstimulation. These monitoring sessions are usually scheduled early in the morning to avoid any interference with the egg donor’s daily schedule.
Step 4 – Endometrial Lining Development for the Recipient
For the recipient, it is crucial to develop a favorable uterine environment. While the eggs are developing for donation, the recipient takes estrogen and progesterone to prepare her endometrial lining for implantation at the same time.
In rare cases, patients have difficulties reaching minimal endometrial thickness of and may require special treatments.
Step 5 – Triggering Ovulation and Egg Retrieval for the Donor
The physician will confirm that the donor’s eggs have sufficiently developed by using an ultrasound. Once that has been confirmed, the donor will be given an injection of HCG to trigger ovulation. Two days afterwards, the donor’s eggs are retrieved during a short minimally invasive procedure. This is considered the egg retrieval process. The egg donor is kept under sedation, while our physicians use an ultrasound to guide an aspiration needle transvaginally. The physician will retrieve the eggs, most of which are mature. Following the 15-20 minute procedure, the donor will be advised to rest for the day and allow her body to recover.
The egg retrieval takes place at our San Diego location. San Diego locals will drive to our clinic. As for non-locals, we provide a travel allowance for the trip.
Step 6 – Fertilization and Embryo Transfer for the Recipient
Retrieved eggs are then fertilized in a laboratory with the intended parent’s or donor sperm. Embryos resulting from this fertilization are graded and incubated. In some cases, if recipient is not ready for embryo transfer, these embryos are cryo-freezed and can be used later. Generally, embryos are transferred into the recipient after 5 days. That is because on day 5 an embryo reaches blastocyst stage, which increases the probability of implantation and subsequent pregnancy.
Step 7 – Post-Retrieval Check-up for the Egg Donor
The egg donor is required to return to their center for a regular post-retrieval check-up. This check-up will make sure that the donor is recovering properly from both, the ovarian stimulation and retrieval. Most donors have no problem returning to their daily lives within a day or two after an egg retrieval.
Step 8 – Pregnancy Tests for the Recipient
Recipients will have to undergo a pregnancy test two weeks after the embryo transfer. This will be a blood test to measure the level of HCG and can be done locally. After two successful blood tests that show HCG rising normally, and an ultrasound test demonstrating pregnancy the recipient will be released to their physician for prenatal care.
Our team of medical professionals at Physician’s Surrogacy in San Diego have been completing IVF cycles successfully using stimulation protocols for nearly 40 years. We have already worked with more than 1000 egg donors. If you have any questions about the egg donation process, one of our consultants would be happy to navigate you through the process.