STEP 1- EGG DONOR APPLICATION:
Thoroughly complete and submit our Egg Donor Application.
STEP 2 – EGG DONOR DATABASE:
If, based on your application, you qualify, you’ll be asked to have an on-line or phone consultation with us. Once you sign the enrollment papers, you are then listed anonymously in our secure Egg Donor Database.
STEP 3 – GETTING MATCHED:
Once you are selected by intended parents, we contact you and confirm your availability for the cycle. If you are available for the time and location of intended parents, you accept the offer and are officially admitted into the program.
STEP 4 – MEDICAL SCREENING:
At this point you go through personality and medical testing, including psychological evaluation by a mental health professional, physical exam and blood work by a physician who evaluates your reproductive health and your eligibility for becoming an egg donor. It will involve about 3-4 one-hour visits. The doctor will probably prescribe you birth control pills, if you are not currently using any.
STEP 5 – MEDICAL CLEARANCE and CONTRACT:
If we get medical clearance, we arrange an independent reproductive law attorney to represent you. The attorney goes over the agreement between you and intended parents to ensure it is crystal clear to you what you are signing. The contract between you and the intended parents has to be signed before fertility medication is started. All required paperwork needs to be on file with the agency, as well.
STEP 6 – MEDICATION:
The initial compensation check is sent out to you within 3-5 business days upon start of the injectable medication.
The IVF protocol depends on the fertility specialist, and on a patient, but usually consists of two phases: suppression and stimulation.
During suppression, you start taking self-administered injections to help silence your ovaries and prevent early ovulation. Your nurse at the clinic will teach you how to inject yourself in the belly fat or thigh area.
During the stimulation phase, you start injectable medication in order for your ovaries to produce more eggs than usual. Stimulation continues until 36 hours before retrieval. IVF specialist’s goal is to synchronize menstrual cycles of both the donor and the intended mother. The donor is receiving medication to stimulate her ovaries to producing more eggs. The recipient is receiving treatment to prepare the lining of her uterus for the embryo transfer.
Both phases take approximately 6 weeks, 3 of which you will need to take daily subcutaneous injections, but it can vary, depending on your (and recipient’s) progress.
During the IVF cycle, you work very closely with your fertility clinic. Your nurse instructs you on how and when to take what medication, and it is absolutely fundamental that you follow these instructions thoroughly. You have about 7 half-hour morning appointments at your clinic where the physician monitors your progress by blood work and ultrasounds.
When both you and the recipient are ready, you will be instructed to take the final injection- trigger shot-exactly 36 hours before your scheduled retrieval. Timing of this final injection is essential to the success of the retrieval.
Injectable medication usually used in IVF cycle:
- GNRH Agonist – Leuprolide Acetate (Lupron) – used during suppression phase
- GNRH Antagonist – (Cetrotide or Ganirelix acetate) – used sometimes instead of Lupron during suppression phase
- Follicle Stimulating Hormones FSH- (Bravelle, Follistim, Gonal F, Memopur, Repronex) – used during stimulation phase
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hCG ? (Ovidrel, Profasi, Pregnyl) – used as a trigger shot
For more information on the medications go to Drugs@FDA and type in the drug’s name.
STEP 7 – RETRIEVAL:
The day before your retrieval you should drink a lot of fluids, as you should not eat or drink anything after midnight. On the day of egg retrieval you will need somebody to accompany you to the fertility center and then drive you home after the procedure, as it is usually administered under mild sedation and you will not be allowed to drive yourself. Eggs are retrieved through a vaginal ultrasound probe, “vacuumed” from each follicle. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, but expect to be at the clinic for 2-3 hours. You might feel some bloating, cramping or tenderness in your lower abdomen afterwards and should plan to spend the rest of the day relaxing at home. You should be able to resume your normal activities the following day. You will receive a check for the remaining compensation 3-5 business days after retrieval.
STEP 8 – EXIT SURVEY:
After all the procedures are finished, we will send you an exit survey to find out what we do well, and what we can do better.
Getting matched can last a few days, but sometimes it can last months, depending on what donor qualities the intended parents are searching for. The timeline from when you are selected to retrieval is about 2-4 months. You would have some flexibility until your medication starts, and then you would have to follow nurse’s orders precisely as your and recipient’s cycles need to be aligned. It is a crucial factor to success.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER RETRIEVAL?
On the day of the retrieval, the eggs are mixed (once retrieved from you) with the intended father’s sperm, and hopefully, fertilization takes place. An embryo starts to develop. Three to five days after retrieval, embryo transfer to intended mother’s uterus takes place. If all goes well, implantation happens, and, 38 weeks later, the intended mother gives birth. The intended parents may choose to freeze some embryos, if there are any available.
Things to consider:
TRAVEL OR NOT TO TRAVEL?
Do you wish to travel to the intended parents’ destination? It highly increases your chances of becoming an egg donor, as you are not limited to your location. If you agree to travel, it means that all the medical work-up would still be performed at your current location, you would only travel for the final days before retrieval, so about 7-10 days. You are encouraged to bring a companion to accompany you. All eligible expenses are covered by intended parents (i.e. costs relating to egg donation and retrieval.)
Occasionally, egg donors are also required for a day or overnight trip at the beginning of the process to the intended parents? IVF clinic for the IVF specialist consultation.
Travel arrangements are handled by First Smile.
ANONYMOUS OR OPEN DONATION?
Most of our donations are anonymous, however you and intended parents may choose to have an open donation, where you get to know the intended parents and they get to know you, or semi-open when only partial information is revealed, like first names.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW THE OUTCOME?
You may choose to be informed if the egg donation ended in a successful pregnancy and live birth. If intended parents agree, we will notify you. It is wonderful news to find out that you were able to help, but, on the other hand, it can be quite devastating to know that all your efforts did not end with success. 55.1% of transfers using donor eggs result in live birth.
You are allowed to participate in the program up to 6 times. Each successful pregnancy with the use of your eggs makes you a more desired potential donor, although it is not a guarantee that if you had one successful cycle, the next one will be successful, in terms of egg quality and quantity.
You do not need to have health insurance in order to participate in the program. Intended parents will cover all the costs. You will also be provided with a complications insurance policy for the cycle medications and retrieval procedure.
POTENTIAL RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
There are several side effects and risks for egg donors. Egg donors may experience all, any, or none of them. They are as follows:
- headaches, hot flashes, mood swings, bloating, and temporary weight gain due to hormonal stimulation drugs;
- temporary stinging on the injection sites;
- OHSS- Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome due to over-stimulation of egg donor’s ovaries. It is a rare condition (less than 5% of cases) and can range in its severity from symptoms like bloating and cramping to nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, heavy swelling in the abdominal area. In extreme cases egg donation cycle is terminated and hospitalization is required for egg donor. Your accidental insurance policy that you receive for the IVF cycle covers this instance.
- risks related to retrieval procedure- as with all other invasive medical procedures
There are not any known long term effects of egg donation. Per recent studies, the link between egg donation and infertility, cancer or other health problems is not definitive, however, since it is a relatively new field, more research is advised. We are happy to have a discussion with all our donors relating to the known, minimal, risks of the field.
Please discuss thoroughly all potential risks and side effects with your assigned IVF specialist.