For many couples, having a child is a challenge. For some, it may be impossible without the help of compassionate donors. Luckily, technology has evolved to the point where it’s now a streamlined and fuss-free process for both donors and recipients. Here’s a run-down of the egg donation process for donors and what goes on during each stage.
As a first time donor, once you are selected you will go through an initial screening process. Repeat donors who have not cycled in a while also go through this. If the reproductive clinic is far from you, usually a local clinic is available for this step. While every clinic has its own protocol, here’s the standard testing order that usually takes place:
1. A blood test on the third day of your menstrual cycle to measure your hormones.
2. A transvaginal ultrasound if necessary.
3. A 3-4 hour long psychological screening if the hormone test results come back optimal.
Medical and Genetic Testing
Once your prescreening comes back with optimal results and you have been cleared psychologically, the cycling doctor will meet with you to conduct medical and genetic screening.
1. If you’re living close to the cycling doctor, they will work in tandem with the nurse coordinator to set up an appointment for you to visit the doctor.
2. If you’re living out of state from the cycling doctor, usually an appointed travel agency will coordinate travel arrangements for you.
The medical screen trip typically takes one day and may require you to stay overnight. During the screening, you will typically undergo genetic tests as well as blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, HIV, and drug or nicotine testing.
Once you clear your medical screenings, you will go through the legal process before starting stimulation medications. You will have an assigned attorney who will review and finalize a legal contract to be signed by you and the recipient. Once all the signed contracts are received, the recipient’s attorney issues a legal clearance letter that will allow the doctor to begin the medical cycle.
Once you are given the green light to donate, you will be put on a regimen of medications which stimulate your ovaries to produce and grow the eggs. This includes daily injections of hormones for two or three weeks. The first injections stop the ovulation process stimulate follicle growth in the ovaries. A natural hormone HCG is then injected to stimulate ovulation in order to coordinate the timing of egg retrieval. Your response to the medications will be closely monitored, and your schedule will have to be flexible during this time to accommodate the multiple appointments required. If you are donating your eggs to be used fresh, birth control will also be used to sync your cycle with the recipient.
When the eggs mature, they will be retrieved by the doctor at the clinic. This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes and is done early in the morning. You will be under light sedation during the procedure.
Usually you are compensated for your donation on the day of egg collection.
After the eggs have been retrieved, one or two will be fertilized with sperm at which point it becomes an embryo.
The embryo is then delivered by placing it in a catheter and transferring it to the recipient’s uterus.
A blood pregnancy test is performed on the recipient about nine to fourteen days after the transfer. If positive, it is repeated two days after to confirm pregnancy.
The recipient will then go through an ultrasound a few weeks later in order to measure the pregnancy.
That’s it! Now you know the basics of the egg donation process.
Benefits of Egg Donation for Infertile Couples
Egg donation can help infertile women and allows couples to carry the child they otherwise wouldn’t be able to have. It also fulfills their desire to be parents and to deliver their child. The
entire process can be an emotional one, but the reward at the end is immeasurable for the couple. It also provides the monetary reward for the donor and you will know that you helped a couple’s dream come true. If you are considering becoming a donor, proper research and emotional preparation are key in determining if egg donation is right for you.
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