The Egg Donation process
Overview: Egg donation involves taking injectable medications for approximately one month to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Donors meet privately with one of the nurses at GENESIS to learn how to administer the injections. The overall concept of egg donation involves suppressing the donor’s own natural cycle and administering injections of natural hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. It is important to suppress the donor’s own hormone levels so that the physicians can carefully control the amount of hormones affecting the donor’s ovaries during the egg donation cycle. Through careful monitoring, the physician can determine when the eggs look ready to be retrieved. The eggs are retrieved just before ovulation, using a surgical procedure. A more detailed description of the procedures involved follows.
Medications: Birth control will be prescribed to donors that need to have their cycle regulated. Donors will then be taking a medication to suppress the natural cycle of egg development in their ovaries. Gonadotropins, natural hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs are taken once you get a period for about two weeks via an evening injection. The last medication is taken to help the donors ovulate within 36 hours. This injection is taken at a specific time, approximately 36 hours before the egg retrieval procedure. The most common side effects of these medications are headaches, bloating and moodiness. The main risk of these medications is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS (described below).
Monitoring: Throughout the egg donation cycle, and especially while donors take gonadotropins, the ovaries must be monitored carefully with ultrasounds and blood tests. Donors must come into the office every day or every other day for monitoring while taking gonadotropins. Monitoring hours varies by office location however it occurs during early morning hours. During weekends and Holidays the hours will be between 7am to 8am. Ultrasound examinations use sound waves to visualize the ovaries. To perform an ultrasound, a small probe is placed inside the vagina. The process takes a few minutes and is not painful. The blood tests measure your estrogen level, which is another way to determine the progress of egg development.
Egg retrieval: When the developing eggs look ready to be retrieved, our physician and anesthesiologist work together to perform a surgical procedure which takes place in the operating room in our center. You will receive anesthesia so that you sleep comfortably during the procedure. A needle is inserted through the vagina into the ovaries, and the eggs are retrieved. The procedure takes about fifteen minutes. Afterwards, you’ll rest in our recovery room until you are ready for your friend or partner to take you home. You will rest for the remainder of that day. You may have light vaginal bleeding and some abdominal cramping. A heating pad or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help ease this discomfort. Approximately two weeks later, you would return for a follow-up visit for an examination with the physician and to receive your compensation.