arrow What is the history of IVF using donor eggs?
  The process of human egg donation began in the early 80’s with the first live birth success. Currently, there are more than 15,000 embryo transfer procedures performed annually in the US using donor eggs, and many thousands more performed around the world. The national donor egg success rate is currently over 50% per transfer procedure, with some egg donation clinics reporting egg donation success rates that are consistently over 60% per transfer.

arrow How is the egg donation procedure performed?

1. An appropriate egg donor is chosen by the infertile family and thoroughly screened for infectious diseases and genetically transmitted conditions. Donors are generally given some monetary compensation for completing a cycle.

2. Consents are signed by all parties.

3. The donor is stimulated with injected medications to develop multiple eggs. This allows the fertility doctor to perform an in vitro fertilization process with her eggs and the sperm of the couple.

4. The woman, recipient, is placed on medications that suppress her own menstrual cycle and stimulate her uterine lining.

5. When the donor’s follicles are mature, an egg aspiration procedure is performed to remove the eggs from her ovaries. The eggs are then fertilized in the laboratory with the sperm.

6. The embryos develop in the lab for 2-6 days. Then, an embryo transfer is completed which places the embryos in the recipient’s uterus where they will hopefully implant and develop to result in the successful birth of a healthy baby.

arrow How is the egg retrieval completed?
  Egg retrieval is done by the trans-vaginal ultrasound guided method, a non-surgical outpatient procedure. Egg retrievals are performed in the clinic of the fertility physician.

A sedative is given intravenously. This puts the patient into a state of semi-consciousness. A vaginal probe, which is a device with an ultrasound transducer on the tip, is introduced into the vagina. This allows the physician to see the ovaries and other pelvic structures. There is a needle guide attached to the vaginal probe which the aspirating needle through the vaginal walls into the follicles. The follicular fluid is aspirated into a syringe.

The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. The donor will stay in a recovery room to ensure that she does not have any unusual side effects from the medication. In most cases, the donor will be able to get dressed and go home about 2 hours after the procedure.

Following the procedure, the donor may experience a little vaginal bleeding and some lower abdominal discomfort over the next few days. The donor may resume normal activities in the next day or two. A heavier than normal period is expected the month after the procedure. After that, the body resets itself and things are back to normal the following month. Donors can donate up to 5 times.

arrow Can I donate with an IUD?
  It depends what kind of IUD a donor has placed. If the IUD also has a medication released, such as Mirena, then you can apply to be a donor two months after the IUD has been removed.

Can I donate while on the Depo shot?
  No. Once you stop taking the shot, you can apply to be a donor the month after your normal menstrual cycle.
arrow Does it hurt?
  During the stimulation stage, a donor may experience PMS-like symptoms, bloating and irritability.

arrow What are the risks?
  The primary risk is a condition called Ovarian Hyper-stimulation syndrome. This is a relatively rare (1-3%). Careful monitoring is done by the fertility doctor to avoid this condition.

arrow How long will it take?
  Once a donor is in cycle, the process is short. Being selected and screened can take a few months.

arrow Can I donate while on the pill?
  Yes, many times a fertility doctor will place the donor on the pill to regulate her menstrual cycle.

arrow Who should be treated for egg donation?

Donor egg IVF is generally used only in women with significantly diminished egg quantity and quality. This includes women with:

- Premature ovarian failure

- Very poor egg quality

- Poor response to ovarian stimulation

- Elevated day 3 follicle stimulating hormone

- Advanced female age, such as over 39

arrow What medications are used?

- Follicle stimulating hormones – One injection per day for approximately 10-13 days. Gonadotropins are given to increase the production of ovarian follicles. Possible side effect could include: Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome, headache, moodiness, fatigue, and bloating.

- Human Chrorionic Ganadotropin – One injection is administered to prepare the ovaries for egg retrieval. Possible side effects could include: headache, moodiness, fatigue, and bloating.

- Lupron – One injection per day for approximately 12 days. Lupron affects the pituitary gland and results in lower luteinzing and follicle stimulation hormones in the body. Possible side effects could include: moodiness, hot flashes, and headache.

arrow Will my future fertility be affected?
  No, the medications nor the procedure compromise the possibility of becoming pregnant in the future. Fertility doctors take every precaution to ensure the comfort, health, and safety of the donor thru the process.

arrow Will I miss a lot of school or work?
  Hopefully not. Most appointments are scheduled for early in the morning so a donor will have as little disruption to her schedule as possible. The procedure will require an entire day free. It is important that you recognize the level of responsibility required in making and keeping these appointments. In doing so, be very honest with yourself as to whether or not egg donation is possible for you and your work, school, and/or personal schedule.