Egg Donation Process - A Complete Guide
You might want to donate eggs for monetary purposes or out of goodwill. Whatever your reason may be, you will be bringing joy into a couple's life who wants a child through assisted reproductive technology (ART). Donating your egg is an emotional, physical, and legal process. It is straightforward, but your local fertility clinic professionals will guide you through each step. It is best to talk to your doctor and understand your specifics. In the meantime, here is a complete general guide on the egg donation process.
What is Egg Donation?
Egg donation is the procedure where a donor provides their fertile egg to another couple who are not able to or cannot get pregnant. It is a self-rewarding act to help others by giving them something unique and precious. The donor is also financially compensated for the donations.
What to Expect During Egg Donation?
Egg donation is a short and straightforward procedure. You are given medications and injectable hormones to control your ovulation when you agree to the procedure. You will not experience any pain unless there is a compilation. There are minimal risks, and the donor can overcome any short-term side effects within a week.
Is Egg Donation Safe? Risks and Side-Effects of Egg Donation
Egg donation is a safe procedure conducted under a professional doctor's supervision and does not have any long-term issues. However, you must know about some risks in the short-term, such as-
Pregnancy: The medications are given to you during the egg donation process increase your fertility and hence your chances of getting pregnant. If you have unprotected intercourse during your medicated period, you may risk pregnancy.
Weight Gain: You may gain 3 to 5 pounds weight due to the medications for egg retrieval.
Medication Side-Effects: Injectable hormones and medications ordered to you during the egg retrieval cycle may have some side effects, including headaches, mood swings, bloating, and tiredness.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): OHS syndrome occurs when your ovaries swell up. This is a rare risk and can occur after three to nine days of your trigger shot. The symptoms of OHSS are pain around your ovaries, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Ovarian Torsion: If you experience swelling in your ovaries, they may twist, causing severe pain. You will need surgery to treat ovarian torsion.
Infections: You may get infections after the egg retrieval procedure, but they can be easily cured with prophylactic antibiotics. If infections persist, you should take the concern to your doctor,
How Does the Egg Donation Process Work?
A recipient, usually a couple wanting to become parents during the egg donation process, selects an egg donor with careful screening. The menstrual cycles of both the donor and the recipient are synchronized to improve implantation success rates with appropriate medications. A doctor retrieves eggs from the donor's ovaries when the eggs are ready. This is not painful as the donor is under sedation, and the donor recovers back to health and can continue their everyday life after a few days. The eggs are fertilized and implanted into the recipient's uterus, where the embryo grows naturally.
Egg Donation Process for Recipients-
Receiving an egg can be an emotional decision since many couples can find it difficult to understand what being a parent is like. If you need any help and answers, you can take guidance from your fertility clinic. When you finalize on receiving an egg from your chosen donor, here is how the process will go-
When you reach your local fertility clinic, you will talk to a reproductive endocrinologist who will check all the options available at your disposal. If you decide on using egg donation, they will assess your health and the impacts of pregnancy on your body. After the evaluation, they will give you instructions to prepare for further processes.
Pregnancy from egg donation has a success rate. However, the changes can be improved by identifying, deducting, or correcting any factors that can interfere with any step from implantation to pregnancy. Your doctor will order tests like detailed semen analysis, a saline uterine sonogram, health screenings such as a Pap smear, mammogram for women over forty, and a basic blood test that covers blood count, type, and thyroid function. You will also talk to the clinic's psychologist, who will discuss your present and future decisions.
If you are approaching the age of 50, you will need further tests and clearances from a perinatologist for optimizations, as pregnancy can be difficult after 45. The tests will include heart EKG and screening for diabetes.
The next step includes selecting the right egg donor, and the decision is completely yours. However, assistance will be provided to you by the clinic's psychologist, who holds expertise in the field. You can get your egg donor from your fertility clinic's donor pool, an outside agency, or a relative. If you choose a donor from agencies, you will get access to important data and photographs of the donor to make a well-informed decision.
Once you select a donor, your cycles will be synchronized. Synchronization is crucial to ensure that your uterine wall is ready for implantation when egg retrieval and fertilization happen. You will be taking medications to prepare your uterus for implantation. At the same time, the egg donor will be taking medications to stimulate, grow, and mature eggs and for egg retrieval procedures. The entire process can take up to 10-14 days. Regular monitoring is done throughout this phase for optimization.
Egg Retrieval, Fertilization, and Embryo Transfer:
The doctor will schedule an egg retrieval procedure when the donor's eggs are mature enough. Your partner or the sperm donor will provide a sperm sample on the same day as the egg retrieval for in-vitro fertilization.
You will need to visit the fertility clinic when embryos reach the proper stage to be transferred to your uterus. Embryo transfer generally happens on the third day of fertilization. To improve success rates, one to two embryos are transferred. However, this decision also lies in you and your doctor's advice.
Egg Donation Process for Donors-
As the first step of your egg donation process, you will be matched to a prospective parent. The egg screening and retrieval process usually takes about six weeks and involves healthcare professionals. These assessments maximize success rates and minimize risk factors for both the donor and the recipient.
A Step-By-Step Overview of the Entire Process:
Initial Screening of the Donor-
The donor has to go through a screening process at the prospective parent's fertility clinic to confirm certain aspects of the donation. The donor will be assessed with-
1. Medical screening: The recipient's parents will select a clinic where your general and specific medical screening will be conducted. The FDA requires blood tests for potentially infectious diseases, general health, blood type, and drug use history.
2. Genetic screening: Many people carry hereditary diseases. Blood tests are conducted to ensure that the donor does not have or carry any genetic disorders like Sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, and thalassemia.
3. Gynecological screening: The donor must get their ovaries tested for fertility with physical pelvic exams and blood tests. You will also need to get a vaginal sonogram on the second or third day of menstruation to assess the ovarian function and reserve.
4. Psychological screening: Psychological screening is provided to the donor to ensure that no external pressure was used to influence you into the procedure. The psychologist will also introduce you to the entire process and the involved risks. They will make sure you are ready to become a donor.
- The cell synchronization process overlaps the donor's and receiver's menstrual cycles. For this, the donor has to take birth control pills. Suppressing the natural menstrual cycle of the donor also improves the efficiency of the medications and hormones they will receive for the next steps.
- After the third week, the donor receives a vaginal sonogram. They are then asked to begin on daily self-injectable Lupron hormones, which they administer for seven to fourteen days.
- The next step is to grow the egg follicles using the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). The donor will administer the self-injectable FSH hormone for eight to ten days. The donor is monitored daily to ensure that follicle growth is healthy and appropriate. Vaginal sonograms and blood tests are used for this assessment.
- The donor is given a screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before the egg retrieval process.
- After maturation of the egg follicles, HCG hormone injection is administered to prepare the donor's ovaries for egg retrieval and releasing the eggs. After about thirty-six hours of HCG hormone administration, the egg retrieval process is completed.
- The egg donor is given a mild IV sedation to prevent discomfort. The physician then passes a needle through the vaginal wall and sucks the follicle fluid and the egg with ultrasound guidance.
- The egg retrieval procedure's total duration is only about thirty minutes. The egg donor is kept under observation for the next couple of hours, after which they can be driven back home.
After the retrieval day, the egg donor can return to normal activities. However, they should not engage in strenuous physical activities.
How Painful is the Egg Donation Process and Recovery?
The pain levels before, during, or after egg donation is highly dependent on the patient's tolerance levels, reactions to medications, and complications that may arise during the cycle. The egg retrieval process is not painful to the donor as she will be given mild sedation to avoid discomfort. You might feel hazy as you come out of the sedation. You may experience some symptoms after the egg retrieval is complete, but they will go away within a week. These symptoms include:
- Vaginal soreness
- Abdominal cramping
Note: Contact your doctor immediately if you develop infections, fever, have trouble breathing, or experience heavy bleeding.
What are the Criteria for the Egg Donor Process?
Several factors determine a donor's ability to donate their eggs. The screening tests are done to improve successful egg donation and reduce risks. These criteria are-
- The donor should be between 21 and 35 years of age. Women at these ages respond to drugs better and have better quality and quantity of eggs.
- Donors should not have infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C.
- Donors should not carry genetic diseases that can be fatal to the child.
- Donors must provide a complete detailed family medical history.
How to Prepare for Egg Donation?
Preparing for egg donation is similar to preparations done for in-vitro fertilization, and everything begins with taking good care of your health. Your fertility clinic will give you specific advice and the regimen you need to follow. Some practices you should follow to become a successful egg donor are-
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and proteins.
- Stay hydrated and avoid caffeinated drinking drinks.
- Exercise regularly.
- Form a support group of friends and family members who can assist and help you through the egg donation procedure.
What are the Costs and Donor Payments?
The cost of egg donation is probably the highest financial decision any couple makes-
- An exclusive fresh cycle where the recipient does not share eggs with other women in the program estimates at around $35,000 to $50,000.
- The shared donor egg cycle begins at around $18,000.
- The cost for frozen eggs from the donor bank is $16,000 to $20,000.
The donor is compensated for the inconvenience experienced and their time during the egg retrieval cycle. The number of embryos produced is not a factor in calculating the compensation. The average donor compensation ranges from $10,000 to $40,000 but can be higher or lower depending on the specific situation.
What are the Legal Implications of Egg Donation?
- Egg donation involves state and federal regulations, but the specifics will vary according to your state. Ask your fertility clinic about laws regulating specifically in your location to make a well-informed decision.
- You must know that the children born from egg donation are not your legal progeny, although they will have a genetic connection to you.
- The recipient will be stated as the birth mother on any legal documents such as the birth certificate.
- You will have a contract where every detail and condition will be mentioned. Some of the covered areas can be custody, future contact, donor anonymity, and how any related costs such as that of an attorney and health insurance will be covered.
- Any other detail critical to egg donation should be mentioned in your contract, and the physical procedures should only begin once you have agreed and signed the agreement.
Donor Identity and Privacy-
In the US, egg donors are legally allowed to remain anonymous or reveal their identity to the recipient. Here are some situations that you may face-
- You can keep your identity confidential.
- You can provide the recipient's specific details about yourself but never meet them.
- You can meet the recipients if they are willing.
- You can make contact with children once they reach a certain age.
- You may already be a relative of the recipient.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Egg Donation Process-
1. Why use an egg donor?
Utilizing an egg donor as your chance to become parents is a great option when you do not want to opt for other options such as adoption. You may also want an egg donor if you are past your maternal age, over 37 years.
2. Who uses egg donation?
Couples that cannot conceive, single parents, or same-sex couples are some recipients that use egg donation to become parents. Some people who do not want to pass their genetic traits to their future generation also utilize egg donation.
3. How many times can I donate my eggs?
According to the guidelines established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, you can only donate eggs a maximum of six times for your safety.
4. Is egg donation successful?
Egg donation is a successful procedure, with couples successfully conceiving about forty to fifty percent of the time.
5. What are egg donation success factors?
The success rate of egg donation can depend on various factors, including the donor's age, retrieval process, sperm quality, and the recipient's general health.
Want to Become an Egg Donor?
If you wish to donate your egg and help someone become a parent in New York, visit Rite Options Clinic. You can also fill out our pre-registration form, after which our staff will contact you. If you have any questions regarding the procedure, you can contact us for more information.