Years of experience navigating the potential pitfalls facing egg donors, coupled with our understanding of the delicate synchronization of donor cycles, enable us to provide superb egg donor education.
The Matching Process
Once the matching process is complete, all medical and psychological screening must be completed before the egg donation cycle begins. Whenever possible, Asian Germ Cells Bank attempts to schedule the entire screening process during one office visit, but clinical requirements/schedules do vary. This initial consultation may require the presence of the Donor and her partner (if applicable) for a period of approximately 3 to 5 hours, depending on the clinic’s screening protocol. The Donor’s screening is completed as required by the Prospective Parents’ clinic and may include the following:
Generally consists of a series of blood tests, cervical cultures, a physical exam, and a vaginal ultrasound. This screening is carried out to confirm that the Donor is medically healthy and able to donate. Additionally, a blood test is usually required on the third day of the Donor’s menses to assess hormonal levels.
Generally in the form of blood tests; investigates whether the Donor is a carrier of genetics diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis.
Conducted by a psychologist or social worker to ensure that the Donor is aware of all the psychological implications of the egg donation process. This screening will also help determine whether the Donor is psychologically sound enough to be a Donor.
1. The Donor will be put on birth control pills to help regulate her menstrual cycle and to coordinate it with the recipient’s (e.g., Prospective Mother’s or surrogate’s) cycle.
2. If a “Lupron Cycle” is used, at (approximately) the end of the third week of her cycle, the Donor will begin taking Lupron (daily self-administered injections) to stop her ovaries from ovulating. Prior to beginning Lupron, the Donor may be monitored via a blood test and vaginal ultrasound to confirm that she is ready to administer these injections. If an “Antigon Cycle” is used, the Donor will not take Lupron, but will begin with Step 5 (see below).
3. The Donor can expect to receive a portion of her compensation, when she begins her Lupron or Antigon injections.
4. After taking Lupron for 7-14 days, the Donor will then begin taking stimulation medication (self-administered injections), which will cause her egg follicles to grow. This medication is generally taken for 8-11 days. Though these medications come in many different brand names, Fertinex, Follistim, and Gonal-F are the most often used brands (these are also self-administered injections).
5. The Donor will be monitored during this 8-11 day period (via blood tests and vaginal ultrasounds) to ensure that her follicles are growing at an expected rate and to monitor medication dosages. This monitoring will help the physician determine what day the final HCG injection should be administered (see next step). Some clinics require that most of this monitoring be completed at their site, whereas other clinics will allow the Donor to be monitored at a clinic convenient to her until the last few days of the cycle. The Donor will again be screened for STDs (via blood tests) during this time.
6. When the follicles are determined to be “ready” for retrieval, the HCG injection is given, which prepares the Donor's ovaries to release the eggs. This injection is generally injected in the muscle (clinical requirements may vary), so the needle may be somewhat longer than it has been for previous medications. The physician will inform the Donor of the exact time she should administer this injection. The timing of the HCG injection is crucial, so it is important that the Donor take the injection exactly as instructed.
7. The retrieval is scheduled for 36-40 hours after administration of the HCG injection.
8. During the retrieval, the Donor will usually be under light anesthesia and the eggs are retrieved from the Donor's ovaries via a "vacuuming procedure:" a tiny needle is inserted through the vaginal wall into the ovaries and the eggs are vacuumed from each follicle. While under anesthesia, the Donor should not feel anything during this procedure. The entire procedure itself takes only 5-10 minutes. It is the Donor’s responsibility to arrange for a companion to travel with her to and from the retrieval procedure, since she will be unable to travel alone the day of the retrieval. If this is a problem, she must make alternative arrangements with Asian Germ Cells Bank prior to signing her egg donor contract to ensure that appropriate arrangements can be made.
9. After the eggs have been retrieved, they are combined with the Prospective Father’s or Sperm Donor’s sperm to fertilize as many eggs as possible.
10. After the procedure, the Donor will remain at the clinic for 1-2 hours to recover from the anesthesia, after which she can return home. The Donor will be expected to rest for the remainder of the day, as she may feel some bloating, cramping and other side effects the day of the retrieval. It is required that the Donor arrange for a companion to drive her home after the retrieval. Further, it is highly suggested that her companion stay with her throughout the day, in the event that she experiences unexpected complications. Again, it is the Donor’s responsibility to make arrangements for this companion.
11. The Donor will receive the remainder of her compensation within a week after the retrieval, once our agency has been informed that the retrieval is complete.
12. Donors typically resume all normal activity, with the exception of physically strenuous activity or exercise, the day after the retrieval procedure.