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The Egg Donation Process for First-Time Donors: A Complete Guide

Hatch Fertility
Written by Hatch Fertility

In recent years there have been significant advances made in third-party reproduction. Fertility clinics around the country are more innovative than ever, and new technology is being used in streamlined ways to help build families. One of these ways is through egg donation and in vitro fertilization (IVF)

The Egg Donation Process

Whether you are looking to build your family through egg donation or considering helping a family in need, below is a general outline of the egg donation process:

  • Application and Screening
  • Matching
  • Psychological Screening
  • Inclusive Genetic Interview
  • Medical Screening
  • Legal Agreements
  • Ovarian Stimulation
  • Egg Retrevial Procedure

Keep reading to learn all you need to know about how the egg donation process works.

Application and Screening

Before anything can happen, both the egg donor and intended parents must complete an application. Egg donors apply through an egg donation program, while intended parents fill out a recipient application. The application process gathers necessary information for all parties.

Once an egg donor application is approved, your coordinator will get to know you during a video interview. You’ll undergo a screening, which will give you the chance to provide information (while ensuring that no identifying information is displayed) and organize your donor profile into a donor database.

Making a Match

After intended parents submit their application, they will have access to the donor database. Only intended parents who have created a login will be able to view the donors. These secure databases are set up to protect the donor’s privacy.

Once the intended parents have found a donor they are interested in, the agency will contact the donor and move forward with the process. At Hatch, we understand the importance of providing egg donors with comprehensive information about their match. The donor cycle begins only after the intended parents and donor agree to enter the experience together. 

Some donors are chosen right away, while others can wait months until a match is made. Intended parents will have a particular list of traits and characteristics they are looking for in a donor. It may take time for a couple to find the right fit.

Psychological Screening

At Hatch, our donor's emotional health is a top priority because we want donors to be completely comfortable with egg donation so it‘s the life-affirming experience it’s designed to be. We offer careful screenings of mental illness and psychiatric disorders that could be inherited by a child. Psychological screenings coordinated and set up by our agency are standardized and led by an outside licensed mental health professional.

Inclusive Genetic Interview

For the safety of the donor, intended parents, and potential future children, a family genetic history screening is an imperative part of the egg donation process. Hatch was the only agency offering this as part of their inclusive program for many years. This evaluation is conducted by a board-certified genetic counselor who will interview a donor over the phone to:

  • Track family history
  • Construct a family tree
  • Write a comprehensive genetic history report 

Medical Screening

Donors should track their menstrual cycle before being chosen as an egg donor, this will help the fertility clinic best coordinate cycle synchronization for the egg retrieval. Donors will undergo routine genetic testing and fertility assessments to ensure their safety and encourage the best possible outcome for everyone.

The Screening visit also provides inclusive FDA-required tests for infectious diseases. The following screenings apply to all egg donors and include:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis
  • Urine drug screen
  • Cystic Fibrosis genetic screening
  • Vaginal ultrasound of the ovaries to count resting follicles

Legal Agreements

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need to worry about legal agreements, but just to keep everyone protected and all on the same page, legal contracts must be signed before any clinical work starts. Hatch will cover all legal fees for egg donors.

Legal agreements include details regarding egg donor compensation, timelines, parental rights, and insurance coverage. These are all critical topics to discuss. If there are any expectations in how the egg donation process will be handled, this is the time to address them.

Ovarian Stimulation

The IVF clinic will put together a timeline that includes the dates of the appointments and the instructions for donor medications for a successful retrieval. This timeline will be centered around the donor’s menstrual cycle. 

The first round of medication is ovarian stimulation. During a woman’s natural cycle, she usually only has one mature egg. The daily injections will stimulate her ovaries to encourage more than one egg to mature for retrieval.

The egg donor is observed during this time through blood tests and ultrasounds.

Egg Retrieval Procedure

The egg retrieval process is the most challenging time for the egg donor. But, don’t worry, the egg retrieval procedure takes approximately 30 minutes, and you’ll be provided with “Twilight Sedation” for maximum comfort. Hatch also coordinates and arranges all travel which is at no out of pocket cost to the donor.

When the ultrasound shows the donor’s eggs have developed, the donor will be instructed to trigger ovulation with a new medication. Two days later, the eggs are retrieved during a short in-office procedure. While it is generally pain-free, the donor will be required to take the rest of the day to recover.

How Long Is the Egg Donation Process?

The egg donation process typically takes about 3-4 months to complete, from point of confirmation, until point of retrieval. After legal processes are complete, the clinic will begin working on a cycle calendar to determine a medication start date and an egg retrieval date, both dependent on period starts and whether birth control has to be removed, which can affect the overall timeline.

From point of confirmation up until the cycle calendar creation, you can expect the following timeline:

  • 1-2 weeks for psychologist booking and evaluation
  • 1-2 weeks to complete genetic history report
  • Up to 3 weeks for results from in-person medical screening
  • 3 weeks on average to complete legal processes

What’s Next for Egg Donors? 

After the eggs have been retrieved, the intended parents will continue on their journey by either fertilizing the egg and transferring the embryo to the intended mother or a surrogate or freezing the embryos until they are ready.

The egg donor may have a follow-up appointment to make sure she is healing and recovering from the ovarian stimulation and retrieval, pending the doctor's recommendation. If she handled the process well, she may be asked if she would be interested in donating again. The goal is to make the egg donor feel safe and respected throughout the entire process.

Thinking About Becoming an Egg Donor?

The egg donation process is a fantastic journey that touches everyone involved. It is now possible for families to have the children the family of their dreams through the generous act of beautiful donors donating eggs.

If you are interested in embarking on the egg donation journey and have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Apply To Be an Egg Donor