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Typical Process & Procedure to Become an Egg Donor

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Once you have been accepted into the donor egg program and selected by a recipient, you will be notified by a donor egg nurse. You will then meet with a nurse, when you will get a more in-depth explanation of the requirements of the program. Along with this explanation, you will receive a calendar containing all the specific dates and appointments for which you will need to be available. Your calendar will include daily medications. You will receive proper instructions for all medications prior to their use. This may also include the use of certain injectable medications. Reproductive Endocrinologists prescribe medical therapies on an individual basis. You must make yourself available for the entire stimulation phase of the donation process, which takes about two weeks.

Phase I - Suppression

Lasts 2-3 weeks
In order to synchronize your menstrual cycle with the recipient's menstrual cycle, it may be necessary for you to take an oral contraceptive. While on oral contraceptives, donors may begin an injectable medication that temporarily suppresses the ovaries or utilize oral birth control pills. When the ovaries are suppressed, you will then begin the next phase, the stimulation phase.

Phase II - Stimulation

Lasts 10-14 days
The stimulation phase includes injectable medicines (gonadotropins), which stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs than the single egg produced in a natural cycle. The hormones used to stimulate egg production can produce temporary emotional and physical changes, which vary from individual to individual. Your physician determines the drug and what dose to use to stimulate your ovaries. During this time, you will begin daily office visits that will consist of blood work and vaginal ultrasounds to monitor the developing eggs. You are closely monitored by a doctor throughout the stimulation phase. The blood tests and ultrasounds are used to determine when the eggs are thought to be mature and ready for retrieval. You are then instructed to take a medication called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone helps with the final follicular maturation. The timing of the HCG injection is approximately 36 hours before the egg retrieval time.

Phase III - Egg Retrieval

Lasts 3-4 hours
Eggs are retrieved under IV (intravenous) sedation. Using an ultrasound guide, a needle is passed through the vaginal wall. The needle enters the fluid filled sacs in the ovaries. The eggs are in the fluid, which is studied under a microscope to identify the eggs. Once all the eggs are retrieved, the doctor inspects to assure there is no excess bleeding and you are transferred to the Recovery Room.

You will be continuously monitored to assure your stability. Once you are in a stable condition, you will be discharged.

Pain is managed with extra strength Tylenol and normal activities can be resumed the day following egg retrieval unless otherwise indicated. It will be approximately 3-4 hours from admission to discharge. The actual procedure time is approximately 30 minutes. The remaining time is for preparation and post-procedure monitoring.

After you have been discharged, the donated eggs will be inseminated and fertilized in the Center’s Embryology Lab, completing the process.

Approximately 2 weeks from your retrieval day, you should have a post-retrieval menses, referred to as a Post-Retrieval Bleed. With the onset of this bleed, you would schedule a post-retrieval sonogram to confirm that your ovaries and uterus have returned to their normal state.

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