Demystifying the Egg Donation Process for Egg Donors: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re thinking about becoming an egg donor, the concept of egg donation might appear enigmatic at first, but fear not! In this guide, we’ll take you through the process step by step, shedding light on the egg donation journey and empowering you with valuable knowledge about this transformative journey.
The Egg Donation Process
Step 1: Review Egg Donor Requirements & Apply
The first step in the egg donation process is for the donor to learn about the agency's requirements. These often include an age limit, U.S. citizenship, being a non-smoker, non-drug user, as well as passing various screening tests. If you meet all of the requirements, you are warmly invited to fill out an application.
Step 2: Egg Donor Screening
Medical screening includes testing for infectious diseases, drug use, and general health. Genetic screening is also performed to rule out the possibility of passing on genetic disorders such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. A mental health professional will conduct psychological screening to ensure the donor fully understands the egg donation process and is ready and able to perform each action step required in the egg donation process.
As part of the screening process, a healthcare provider evaluates a donor to ensure the ability to produce eggs (i.e., fertility). Fertility tests are done via a physical/pelvic exam and blood test results. A vaginal sonogram is also typically performed to evaluate the egg donor’s ovarian reserve.
Step 3: Cycle Synchronization
The goal of cycle synchronization is to create simultaneous cycles in both the egg donor and the recipient. Cycle synchronization is a six to eight-week process in which the donors undergo ovarian stimulation (i.e., hormone injections given to stimulate the ovulation of several eggs in one cycle). Meanwhile, the embryo recipient’s uterus is prepared to support pregnancy in conjunction with donor egg fertilization.
Cycle synchronization is only necessary when undergoing a fresh donor egg cycle. When undergoing a frozen donor egg cycle, synchronization is not necessary because the eggs have already been retrieved, frozen, and stored for future use.
Step 4: Egg Retrieval
Egg retrieval is a medical procedure performed by a fertility specialist once the eggs have matured. The process involves an injection of a hormone that prepares the donor’s ovaries to release the egg. During the retrieval process, a needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to aspirate the eggs. The procedure is done under light anesthesia, so it is relatively painless for the donor. Egg retrieval is a short process that takes about 30 minutes or less.
Step 5: Recovery
After the retrieval, the donor will be monitored for an hour or two before being discharged. A family member or friend must be predesignated to drive the donor home after the procedure.
There may be slight bloating and cramping for approximately a week after the procedure. One day after the egg retrieval procedure, donors can resume their regular routine and go back to work or school. There is one exception to continuing regular activity which is to avoid physically strenuous activities (e.g., high-impact activities such as biking, running, and any activity that involves jumping). High-impact activities should not be resumed until several weeks after egg retrieval. It’s essential to follow the healthcare provider’s discharge instructions. It will take approximately four weeks for the ovaries to return to their pre-egg donation size.
Becoming an Egg Donor
The egg donor process is truly an act of compassion and kindness in giving the gift of a child to an individual or couple otherwise unable to have a child. If you are considering egg donation, be sure to do your research and consider all aspects of what will be expected of you before making a commitment. If you have any questions about egg donor requirements or the egg donation process, contact Egg Donor America today.