What is the process of ivf with egg donor?

What is the process of IVF with an egg donor

December 14, 2021

“The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.” -James Allen

The beginning of life is the beginning of endless possibilities for us as human beings. It is a gift that many cherish and desire, and yet, there are many that struggle with achieving success with the conception or birth of their child. 

Fortunately, medical science has progressed to allow people who previously could not have children to now do so. There are often many questions around what is required and what the process may look like for their case. This article will answer some of the more common questions around the IVF process with an egg donor involved.

Who needs egg donor in IVF

There are many reasons that an egg donor may be needed for an intended parent. Some of the more common reasons are listed below:

  • Age-related infertility 
  • A single male with a gestational carrier
  • A risk of genetic disease on the female side
  • Low ovarian reserves 
  • Premature ovarian failure 
  • Unexplained repeated IVF failure 
  • Woman born without ovaries due to a congenital anomaly 

Each case’s cause is different and unique to the individual, but many follow a standard path in terms of the process. In the upcoming sections, an overview of the typical steps are reviewed for those in need of an egg donor during their IVF cycle.

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Egg donor IVF Process:

Oftentimes, many intended parents that use an egg donor during their IVF cycle yield a higher rate of success. By finding a healthy donor with good egg quality, we frequently see better results for birth rates. Of course, finding the right donor takes time and careful consideration. 

To start looking for an egg donor, please visit this page here.

Before Egg donation cycle: 

Once an egg donor has been found, there are several steps that are taken to assure everything goes according to plan as well as assurance that there is as little risk as possible for all parties. Below is an outline of the process.

Psychological evaluation 

Psychological evaluation occurs after the egg donor gets officially matched with the intended parent(s). The egg donor will need to undergo a psychological evaluation session with a psychologist. 

The report will be sent to the IVF physician’s office for review. This allows us to evaluate a donor’s emotional well-being so that we can rule out any emotional health issues or psychiatric diseases that could disqualify them from donating their eggs.

Genetic evaluation 

An egg donor will also need to have a genetic evaluation session with a genetic counselor to go over their genetic history. A genetic evaluation looks for any medical conditions or diseases that could be passed down by the egg donor. 

To construct a donor’s medical history, we need to collect as much information as possible regarding their health and the health of their family members. A genetic counselor will interview donors to collect medical information and complete a family tree. Additional tests for the donor may be needed.

In-person medical screening

This medical screening is a crucial step in the egg donation process. This occurs at your IVF physician’s office. The purpose of this screening is to detect certain diseases (such as sexually transmitted diseases) that might interfere with the success of the donation and/or disqualify the egg donor from participating in the program. 

It involves performing a physical examination with a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate the ovaries. This examination often includes:

  • Blood tests
  • Cervical cultures
  • A pap smear
  • And genetic carrier screening blood tests

Legal Contract 

Intended parent(s) and the egg donor will need to sign a written contract that states rights and obligations of both parties. This step needs to be completed before your IVF physician’s office can give the egg donor instructions to start a treatment cycle. 

Treatment Cycle 

In order for the recipient (of the eggs) to have a strong chance of getting pregnant, we need to increase viable embryos for embryo transfer. To do this, the egg donor takes fertility injections (such as Follistim, Menopur etc.) to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These medications have to be administered through injections and on a daily basis for about 10-14 days. 

In addition to the injections, some egg donors will have to take birth control pills 17-21 days prior to starting the fertility injections. The purpose of the pill is to manipulate the donor’s menstrual cycle to fit within a predetermined schedule.

After taking the fertility injections for 6-7 days, the egg donor will come to the IVF clinic for a vaginal ultrasound to see how she responded to the medications. During this visit, blood will be drawn to check hormone levels in addition to the ultrasound examination to count and measure the follicles that contain the eggs. 

Depending on the size of these follicles and the blood results, the egg donor will be given further instructions. This may involve coming back for another ultrasound and blood test in the following days.

After determining the state of the donor’s follicles, your physician will be able to determine when the donor will need to administer a “trigger shot”, which is the essential shot that will assist in releasing any matured eggs from their follicles. 

Egg retrieval is the procedure during which time all the follicles are aspirated to recover the eggs. It is done under anesthesia and lasts 10-20 minutes. The donor will not feel any pain during the procedure but might have some abdominal discomfort afterwards in the recovery room. Medications will be given to control any excessive pain, which is uncommon. 

Risks

With every procedure, there are risk factors. Below are some of the more common factors that egg donors may experience.

Discomfort: Minor discomfort or abdominal pain might occur following the egg retrieval. This is controlled with pain medications on an as needed basis.

Bleeding: Bleeding from the site where the needle is introduced can occur. It is almost always controlled by applying pressure to the site. In the event that there is internal bleeding, surgery might be required to stop the bleeding.

Infection: Vaginal and pelvic infections may result. As a preventative measure, the donor will take antibiotics during the egg retrieval. 

Hyperstimulation (OHSS): The production of a large number of eggs (>30) which may cause abdominal swelling, discomfort and difficulty breathing. In rare instances the fluid that accumulates in the abdomen might have to be removed (through the vagina with a needle) to alleviate symptoms and in some cases admission to a hospital might be required for a few days. This complication can often be prevented, and we take all necessary measures to do so.

 For more information on pricing for an egg donor during an IVF cycle, please click here.  

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