The Steps Involved in Egg Donation

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Being able to provide eggs to a woman who can’t produce healthy ones herself can be a beautiful act. There are several steps that a potential donor has to go through in order to be considered, and you can choose the type of arrangement that you’d like to take part in. Whether you want to donate anonymously or to know the parents and be involved with the child’s life, you’ll be matched with the right type of recipient.

Counseling is provided for the potential donor. This is available at no-cost to the donor to ensure that they feel comfortable with all mental and physical aspects of the procedure. The goal is to ensure that you are mentally fit to go through with the donation with minimal psychological harm.

If you’ve ever considered donating your eggs, keep reading to learn about the donation process and any medical procedures and risks that may be involved.

How Does Egg Donation Work?

The egg donation process involves getting the body prepared to grow as many follicles, or eggs, as possible for harvest in order to fertilize and inject into the recipient. The eggs will be retrieved after ovulation and then tested for viability, and if they are determined to be in good condition, they will be fertilized and grown in a lab for several days before being frozen or inserted into the recipient.

Egg donation arrangements can be completely anonymous, open, or semi-open. If you decide to donate anonymously, you will not receive any information on the recipient of your eggs or find out if they become pregnant and carry the fetus to term. Also, they will not receive any information on your identity. With open donations, you’ll have the chance to meet with the recipients of your eggs and potentially be included in the life of the child that may result. Each person has a different preference and we can help you decide which would be best for your situation. Once you are matched with a potential recipient, you’ll be able to get started with the donation process.

The Egg Donation Screening Process

There are several egg donor qualifications you’ll have to meet in order to be considered. Most egg donors are between the age of 21 and 30 years, as younger eggs tend to have fewer defects and are healthier. Potential donors younger than this range often can’t understand the full implications of donation or the commitment involved and are rarely considered.

Your information will be entered into a database, and you’ll be selected by potential recipients when they are ready to move forward with the process. All medical expenses of the donor are covered by the intended parents. You’ll have to undergo both physical and mental screenings in order to determine if you’re fit for donation. You’ll be tested for a variety of STDs, including HIV, and a host of genetic diseases that you may carry to ensure that your eggs are healthy. The donor will also have to undergo psychosocial testing. A final screening will be performed right before donation and is required by the FDA.

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The Legal Side of Donation

You’ll be walked through the legal aspect of egg donation by an attorney free of charge. They will provide you with any necessary information before negotiating and signing the contract for the donation. Your compensation will be placed in an Escrow account, and you’ll be able to start the procedure.

Medical Procedures

The first step is to synchronize your menstrual cycle with that of your egg recipient. This will be done by taking birth control pills once your next period starts. You will receive Lupron injections soon after. During this period of time, you may experience bloating, tenderness in your breasts, hot flashes and irritability.

Once the cycles are synchronized, the egg donation process involves a variety of hormones to encourage your body to grow as many eggs as possible for a successful harvest. During the phase referred to as “superovulation,” your body will be able to grow multiple eggs instead of the usual single one. Hormones will be taken for up to 12 days and may be adjusted to achieve optimal egg growth. The donor’s hormone levels will be carefully monitored during this period. When it’s time to collect the eggs, you’ll be injected with HCG, and the egg retrieval will occur in the following 36 hours.

To remove the eggs from your body, a needle will be inserted into your ovary through the vagina. The eggs will be removed individually, and the entire procedure is done under sedation. It will take between 30 minutes and an hour. After about 20 minutes of recovery, you’ll be able to go home.

Understanding the Risks

Donating eggs requires the use of high doses of hormones. These drugs can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and a few women become sick enough to be hospitalized due to their swollen and painful ovaries. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome occurs when the ovaries retain fluid, and the discomfort can sometimes last up to a week. Some donors experience abdominal discomfort, insomnia, irritability and headaches while on hormones.

Retrieving the eggs also comes with a level of risk, although very rare, including infection and bleeding. Scar tissue could reduce the ability of future eggs to move into the fallopian tubes and become fertilized.

Finally, the likelihood of becoming pregnant is high following the egg retrieval process. It is recommended that you avoid having sex until your next period to avoid this potential risk.

Is Donation Right for You?

When you are ready to apply to be an egg donor, there are people ready to support you through the process. The egg donation experience is fulfilling to many, and you’ll be giving someone the chance to have a child.

Egg donation is really a wonderful process that provides opportunities when none existed previously. If you’d like more information about becoming an egg donor, contact us today! We’d be happy to help you fulfill someone’s dream of having a child.

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