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Egg Donors Medical Information

 
The medical cycle takes about 4 to 6 weeks. The doctor will first have you and your donor take a round of birth control pills to synchronize your menstrual cycles. Your cycle will begin a few days after the donor’s. Approximately 2-3 weeks after that, your medical cycle goes in two different directions -- one for the donor, and the other for you. Your donor will begin taking hormones (to suppress her natural ovulation) and injections (to increase her follicle stimulation). A successful retrieval results in anywhere from 10-20 eggs. The retrieval is a half hour outpatient procedure. Your donor receives a light anesthetic and the eggs are retrieved through an ultrasound-guided needle. After the retrieval your donor will be required to rest for the remainder of the day and possibly the following day. It can take as long as two weeks for the donor to feel completely normal (this varies and can take as little as a day).

You will be taking daily hormone injections that will prepare your uterus as well as the rest of your body for the implantation of the embryo(s). On the third or fifth day after the egg retrieval (during which time the eggs will be fertilized and checked for viability), the doctor will transfer the embryo(s) into your uterus. This is typically done without general anesthesia, and only takes a few minutes. You will most likely be required to have bed rest for one to three days following your transfer and then must follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Approximately 10-14 days later, you will take a pregnancy test to determine if the transfer has been successful.

It is important to remember that every cycle is different. TED works with some of the world’s leading reproductive endocrinologists at RGI/IHR and we are happy to help ensure the success of this procedure for both you and the donor. As always, we are here to help you through every aspect of the process!

The start of a menstrual cycle is referred to as DAY ONE (1) of the cycle. In an average 28 day cycle, a woman will most likely ovulate around day 14. This means the egg retrieval will usually take place on day 14 and the transfer will take place on day 16 or 17. According to the treating physician's instruction, the Egg Donor will undergo ovulation induction. It is a procedure that involves the administration of fertility drugs to produce multiple egg (follicle) development. Fertility drugs are administered by injection or sometimes taken orally. There are two drug protocols that typically physicians use. When the follicles containing the eggs reach the requisite size, an injection of hcG is administered to prepare them for aspiration. Generally, the retrieval will take place 36 hours after this injection of hcG. The egg retrieval/aspiration is performed in a hospital like facility using IV sedation. A vaginal ultrasound probe is utilized for aspiration of all ovarian follicles. This is a non-surgical procedure that takes about twenty to thirty minutes, depending on how many eggs are retrieved. However, the donor should plan to spend at least three hours at the clinic. After a brief period in the recovery room, the Donor will return home that same day.

Following is a sample synchronization and aspiration schedule for an Egg Donor and an Recipient Couple:

Day 1 (start of cycle) to Day 4:
Donor undergoes an ultrasound to examine her ovaries and blood tests to check her hormone levels. She is provided with disposable needles, and several vials of Lupron, an ovulation suppressant that she must inject into herself every morning for the next few weeks. The drug is administered to the recipient to enable doctors to synchronize her menstrual cycle with the donor's cycle.

Day 5-10:
Recipient begins taking Estrace pills to develop the lining of her uterus, known as the endometrium.

Day 11:
Donor undergoes another ultrasound and blood tests. She continues taking Lupron and receives a nine-day supply of Pergonal, an ovulation stimulant that will cause her to produce a large quantity of eggs.

Day 12-16:
At home, the Donor receives her first injection of Pergonal. Because these injections must be given into muscle tissue, her husband or friend may be recruited to help.

Day 17-18:
Donor undergoes a third ultrasound to determine how her ovaries are responding to the medication.

Day 19-20:
The Donor's blood levels will be tested and an ultrasound taken to measure the size of her eggs.

Day 21:
After undergoing another ultrasound to check on the development of her eggs, the donor receives an injection of hCG, a pregnancy hormone that helps prepare her eggs for retrieval.

Day 22:
Recipient receives an injection of Progesterone, a drug that further prepares the lining of her uterus for implantation of the embryo(s).

Day 23-25:
Donor undergoes an outpatient procedure in which eggs are removed from her ovaries. A long needle removes maturing eggs from her ovaries. The microscopic eggs are sucked through the long needle into a test tube. That evening, the eggs are placed in a test tube and inseminated with sperm from the egg recipient's selected male donor in preparation for implantation.

Day 26-28:
Approximately 2-4 embryos are implanted into the recipient's uterus. The other embryos will have been frozen and stored in nitrogen the day before.
 
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