Once I made the decision to become an egg donor, I was very eager to start the egg donation process.
The First Step:
My first step in the egg donation process was completing a donor application online. The application was interesting because I got to answer all of the questions about myself; my hobbies, job, education, religious beliefs, social history, family background and history. There was even a question about my favorite color and travel wishes. What I wanted the receiving couple to know about myself; as well as what I wished to say to them. I also included photos of myself!
A few days later I received a call from the egg donor coordinator and was told that there were potential couples interested in me. I was on my way to change someone’s life!
The Screening Process:
Next I was scheduled for a consultation with the physician. The consultation and first appointment consisted of:
- an internal transvaginal exam, where they checked my ovaries
- an external physical exam, where they detailed all of my physical marking characteristics (like birth marks)
- and some blood work, to test for any infectious diseases.
I completed consent forms with the egg donor coordinator and told that once my results came in she would contact me and schedule me for the second phase.
Although I was donating my eggs because my own family was complete, I found it completely fascinating that a woman’s chances of conceiving, for her own family, would not be ruined by egg donation! The way they explained it was that every month I have a period anyway. That cycle can either be wasted on a pad or utilized for an egg retrieval . . . that’s amazing!
The second phase was about two weeks later. This time I was scheduled to come in for genetic blood work (to determine my carrier traits). This is the main tool they use in matching me with a recipient couple. To be honest, I could not wait to get a copy of these results.I was so curious, especially about my genetic carrier screen! The coordinator said that this last result would take 3-4 weeks to come back because the screening panel was so long!
That same day I also completed my psychological screening. I met with a psychologist and was asked questions about my family history and my life (past and present). It was a pleasant experience because I got to share things about myself and made to feel special. They got to see who I really was and how happy I was to be able to give such a little part of myself (literally a cell) to permanently change someone’s life. It was an exciting time.
About a month later I received a call from the egg donor coordinator and was told that my screens were all good and that she would call me once a match was made. The wait could be a few months, but that was fine with me. I knew that I was out there, being offered to various couples. It would just be a matter of time before the right match was made.
She then sent me copies of my screens. I was amazed with my carrier traits. It was all so interesting.
The Cycle Phase:
About two months later, the egg donor coordinator called me to say that a match was made! She asked me for my period dates (my last one, when I would be expecting the next and how long in between were my cycles). She said that she would call me back after she spoke with the physician to see when I should begin my treatment cycle.
A couple of days later, I found out that I would be moving forward with my next period (which was only a couple of weeks away)! She scheduled me to come in a third time, to meet with the nurses.
My meeting with the nurses was awesome. We went over all of the medications I would need and when I would be starting. They showed me how to do self-injections (a bit scary, but thankfully the needle is so tiny).
I needed to call them when my period came and come in on the second day of my period for blood work and a sonogram. They would give me my medications that day and complete a second round of infectious disease screening (to ensure everything was still okay). Those results would come back while I was moving forward in the process, so there was no waiting period here.
The second night of my period I would start my self-injections of Lupron hormones. This continued every day for the next two weeks.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) injections followed immediately for another 10 days, along with daily monitoring.
Lastly I received a Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) injection (aka “the trigger shot”), to prepare my ovaries to release the eggs. Thirty-six hours from that injection, I would have my eggs retrieved.
The Egg Retrieval:
The egg-retrieval is a quick thirty minute procedure. I needed to be accompanied by someone, so that they can take me home afterwards. At the clinic I was given a light IV sedation to make me comfortable. The doctor passed a needle through my vaginal wall into my ovaries and sucked out the follicle fluid containing my eggs.
After I rested for about 90 minutes, to recover from the anesthesia, my husband took me home and stayed with me throughout the day, as the doctor recommended. I returned to my normal routine 48 hours later, fully recovered!
I had a post-retrieval sonogram at the clinic a few days after the egg retrieval. As I had hoped, everything went well.
The Duration of the Entire Process:
The entire egg donation process, from the beginning of my treatment to my egg retrieval, just took a couple of weeks. But passing this type of blessing on to others is TRULY a permanent and ongoing miracle.
Click to read part one: Why I chose to become an egg donor.