Most people are familiar with the concept of egg donation, but don't know exactly what the process entails. The following is a brief description of the process. If you will be going through donation, please know that you will be given detailed specifics regarding all procedures and medications.
The first thing that will occur is a meeting with an egg donor coordinator who will provide you with in-depth information on the entire process and what can be expected.
The first phase includes rigorous medical testing which includes a complete personal and family history, a physical exam, an ultrasound, a pap smear if needed, blood tests, including testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and a urinalysis.
Once all tests have returned with acceptable results, you will be instructed to contact the egg donor coordinator to be scheduled for a transvaginal ultrasound day one of your next menstrual period. The ultrasound will verify a healthy uterus void of fibroids, cysts, or any other abnormalities and the technician will take an antral follicle count (AFC) to gauge the number of egg sacs present early in the menstrual cycle.
In the first few days of your cycle you will also have additional blood tests performed to check levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), AMH (antimüllerian hormone), and the hormone estradiol.
Once all of the medical tests have been completed, including any genetic testing required (based upon your family medical history), and you are found eligible for egg donation, the next step is psychological evaluation. You will undergo personality testing in the form of the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) or the PAI (Personality Assessment Inventory). You will also attend a counseling session with a psychologist to determine readiness and well-being with respect to being an ideal candidate. The counselor will provide the donor coordinator with a report on the findings of these activities.
Once a recipient chooses you as a donor, some of the blood tests will be repeated and you will begin a regimen of birth control pills in an attempt to sync your menstrual cycle with that of the recipient which usually takes between two to three weeks. The next step is a round of daily hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries. A nurse coordinator specialist will teach you how to use the medicines and administer the injections. A specific course of hormones are injected at specified intervals to complete the process. An ultrasound and blood tests will confirm the presence of mature eggs ready to be retrieved.
The retrieval will be performed at an ambulatory surgical center. You will be given an IV through which you will be sedated. The retrieval process is done vaginally and takes approximately 20 minutes. Upon waking in recovery, you will be allowed to go home. You will be provided with extensive information on potential side effects, and what to expect as you recover from the retrieval. The most common effects noted are moodiness, bloating, headaches, injection-site reactions, and spotting.
Your last contact will be approximately one week later where you will attend an appointment to verify your well-being and complete the financial transaction with the center. While this is the end of your participation, it is only the beginning for those receiving your precious contribution.