Egg Donation Process: A Step-by-step Guide
At The Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we offer IVF treatment to assist patients struggling with infertility. IVF is often performed using a couple’s own eggs and sperm. However, if a woman does not have healthy eggs or a good egg supply, it may be necessary to proceed with egg donation.
Egg donation allows us to collect viable eggs from a fertile donor who is compassionate about helping others start a family. Those who are considering egg donation can read on for a step-by-step guide to the egg donation process. To learn more, contact our practice serving Los Angeles, CA, Tarzana, CA, and Bakersfield, CA.
Step One: Finding an Egg Donor
The first step of the egg donation process is choosing a suitable donor. Some patients have family members or close friends who have offered to donate, but more often, a donor is selected through the help of a donor coordinator. Our fertility center has its own database of pre-screened and pre-qualified egg donors. This makes it faster and easier for our patients to find a suitable donor.
Step Two: Donor Suppression and Ovarian Stimulation
When a donor has been chosen, IVF treatment will begin. To start, we must synchronize the donor’s and recipient’s menstrual cycles. This is achieved by suppressing the donor’s natural cycle through the use of hormone therapy, and then stimulating the donor’s ovaries with fertility medication. During suppression and ovarian stimulation, the donor is closely monitored to determine if the ovaries are responding to treatment as anticipated. The egg donor can expect several check-ups during this stage of treatment.
Step Three: Endometrial Lining Development for Recipient
Step two and three of the egg donation process actually happen simultaneously. As the donor is undergoing treatment to prepare for egg retrieval, the recipient will take medication to create the ideal uterine environment for the embryo transfer. It is important that the endometrium (the lining of tissues around the uterine wall) is at least 7mm thick. The recipient will be given hormones that promote the development of the endometrial lining so that it is ready for implantation.
Step Four: Egg Retrieval
When ultrasound shows that the donor’s eggs are developed, she will be given a trigger shot of hCG. This initiates ovulation so that egg retrieval can be scheduled. Eggs are retrieved transvaginally with an aspiration needle guided by ultrasound imaging. The egg retrieval procedure is fairly quick, but the donor should plan to have the entire day off to rest and recover.
Step Five: Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
Retrieved eggs will be fertilized immediately using either freshly collected and washed sperm or donor sperm. Eggs that are successfully fertilized will be incubated and graded. The most viable embryo (or embryos) will be selected for embryo transfer.
Embryo transfer typically takes place three days after egg retrieval. During embryo transfer, embryos are passed through the vagina and cervix so that they can be placed directly in the recipient’s uterus.
Step Six: Pregnancy Testing
The final step of egg donation for our patients is pregnancy testing. Two weeks after embryo transfer, we will do a blood test to measure hCG levels and check for pregnancy. As difficult as it may be to wait two weeks, we urge patients not to perform any at-home pregnancy tests, as false positives are possible following IVF treatment.
If you are considering egg donation, the experienced doctors at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology would be happy to discuss the process with you. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, call our fertility center at your earliest convenience. You can reach us at ((818) 617-2067. Our practice serves patients from Los Angeles, CA, Tarzana, CA, and Bakersfield, CA.