What does egg donation entail? What are the steps in the egg donation process? What do I, as the intended parent, need to do before starting the search for my egg donor?
STEP 1- PREPARING FOR EGG DONATION
- Understand the egg donation process: Most likely, you know what IVF procedure entails. Egg donation is basically another version of IVF, except an egg donor is stimulated as opposed to the intended mother. Both their cycles are aligned, and when the time comes, retrieval takes place. A transfer occurs 3-5 days later. Be sure to see Parents Resources for useful, more in depth medical links on the subject.
- Choose IVF clinic: if you currently do not have an IVF clinic or would like to change clinics, find one you would like to work with, which practices ovum donor cycles. Ask us for referrals to IVF clinics near you.
- Prepare mentally: Meet with your IVF clinic psychologist or other mental health professional to discuss emotional aspects of egg donation (to see if you are emotionally ready for the process). Most IVF clinics treat it as a requirement so it is better to take this step early in the process. Contact your IVF clinic for referrals.
- Prepare financially:
- contact your health insurance to find out what IVF procedures related to egg donation are covered, change health insurance if you need or are able to;
- contact your IVF clinic to find out about the costs of IVF with egg donor, including procedure and medication for intended mother and donor;
- find out about First Smile egg donation agency fees, don’t hesitate to compare between different agencies
- locate fertility financing, start a flexible spending account, contact fertility financial counselor if you need help.
- Prepare medically: Find out from your IVF clinic what medical work-up is required for you in order to prepare for the donor cycle
STEP 2 – FINDING A DONOR
a) Search First Smile database to find “the one” donor you are looking for.
All of our egg donors are pre-screened during an interview and by a very thorough questionnaire.
Things to Consider:
LOCAL OR OUT-OF-STATE DONOR?
When you choose a local donor, your costs are lowered by the travel costs associated with egg donation. However, when you are not limited to a location, you have many more donors to choose from.
ANONYMOUS OR OPEN DONATION?
Most of our donations are anonymous, however, both you and donor may choose to have an open donation, where you get to know the donor and she gets to know you. There are 3 main types of donation: anonymous, semi-open, and open. Choose the one right for you.
b) Reserve a donor
In order for you to reserve a donor, you need to pay a donor retainer. (See Egg Donation Fees more info).
It is advised that you meet with a mental health professional to discuss emotional aspects of egg donation before booking.
Once we confirm a donor’s availability, we ask for the 1st part of agency fee, we start a donor miscellaneous expenses trust fund, and the agency agreement is signed. Only then does the status of the donor change to “donor on hold.”
We also need to know your reproductive law attorney at this point to make sure we choose a different attorney for your egg donor.
STEP 3 – DONOR SCREENING AND LEGAL REQUIREMENTS
An egg donor candidate will have to go through a detailed psychological and medical screening. First Smile will assist her in making the appointments as required by your physician, and keep you informed on the progress.
After the donor has received a medical clearance from your physician, the remaining fees (2nd part of agency fee, donor compensation) are due to your donor trust fund.
You’ll want to note, specifically, a legal Agreement needs to be signed within 5 business days after medical clearance is granted. Attorneys of both sides will work on finalization of the Agreement to assure your best interests are protected.
After the Agreement is signed by all parties, your attorney will send a letter to your physician in order to start the medication process. (At this point, the donor status changes to “donor in cycle.”)
STEP 4 – DONOR CYCLE
The cycle usually lasts about 6 weeks but all medical protocols are determined by your physician. Everybody is different, so physicians assure any intricacies of your case are carefully monitored.
Your physician’s goal is to synchronize menstrual cycles of both the egg 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.
The donor receives 1st part of her compensation upon start of her injectible medication. She is, at this point, officially bound to assisting you in your reproduction process.
When determined by your physician, the retrieval takes place and then fertilization. Embryo transfer will be 3 to 5 days later. You will be in touch with your IVF clinic almost daily towards the end of the cycle, as they will guide you on timing of your donor cycle and monitor the intended mother’s uterus lining.
After retrieval, once her portion of the process is deemed complete, the egg donor will receive the rest of her compensation from the Donor Trust Fund.
We understand that the donor cycle is very stressful to intended parents. From finding the right egg donor, waiting for a donor egg retrieval, and, finally a hopeful phone call from the IVF clinic about fertilization, the stress seems endless. We’re here to help.
We came up with a special complimentary relaxation package for recipients. We recommend the relaxation package 1-2 days before transfer to help the recipient to calm down and, hopefully, better prepare for the embryo transfer. It will either be a massage, acupuncture or some form of entertainment.
STEP 5 – CROSSING FINGERS AND HOPING FOR THE BEST, FINALIZING THE FINANCES
This step applies to you, your partner, friends, family, and First Smile, too. Yes, we will also keep our fingers crossed for you. 8-14 days after the egg donor transfer, the blood test will show whether pregnancy has been achieved.
4 weeks after retrieval, or sooner, if all invoices and receipts have been received by First Smile, you will be provided with a list of all your deposits into the Donor Trust Fund, all the costs incurred by your Egg Donor, and receive a check, if there are any remaining funds.
Once the process is completed, we’ll ask you to complete an exit survey on First Smile. We would love to find out from you what we do well, and what we could do better.