Maybe you’ve heard about egg donation – a friend or a cousin mentioned that she is becoming an egg donor - and you’ve started doing some research of your own. After digging around online, you may find that you’re even more confused than when you started. That’s understandable! While the egg donation process isn’t exceptionally long or complicated, it does require a basic comprehension of the procedure – and what’s required of you!
We’ll break it down to help you decide if it’s the right decision for your life right now.
Donating to a Frozen Egg Bank
Unlike fresh donor programs, frozen egg banks do not require a match in order for a donor to cycle. Once you’re accepted into the program, you don’t have to wait. You can begin the cycle without waiting to be matched or to have your menstrual cycle coordinated with the recipient of your donated eggs. The donation process happens on your schedule.
For comparison, when a woman chooses to donate her eggs through a donor agency, she needs to wait to be matched to a recipient family in need of eggs to begin their own families. This process can take months or even years—or it might never happen at all.
Timeline to Donate Eggs
. On Day 3 after your period, you’ll begin to take oral contraceptive pills. Why? The pill will keep your hormones and your ovaries in a non-ovulatory state while you wait to begin stimulation.
. In 2-3 weeks, you’ll go in for a baseline appointment; we’ll conduct blood work and an ultrasound. If everything looks good, you’ll begin your medication injections. (These medicines will stimulate multiple eggs to grow and mature in your ovaries.)
. For approximately 10 days, you’ll give yourself an injection. During this period, you’ll need to come in for a monitoring appointment every day, to check on your ovaries.
. When the time is right, according to your monitoring appointment, you’ll receive the HCG trigger shot. Your egg retrieval will begin 34-36 hours after you receive this shot.
. The egg retrieval appointment will be short. In fact, the retrieval procedure in itself only takes about 20 minutes. However, you’ll need to arrive an hour before your appointment and remain for about an hour afterward. We’ll instruct you to take the rest of the day off to relax. However, you can resume normal activities the following day.
In all, the egg donation process can take about 36-37 days—a bit longer than a month. You’ll be going in for daily appointments for about 10 days. Your timing may vary—everyone is different! But this should give you a rough idea of how long the process takes on average.
Donating to an Egg Donation Agency
There are 4 main steps:
. Application and Intake. Once you’ve submitted an application to the agency you’d like to work with, your medical history and information will need to be reviewed. If selected, you’ll continue to the intake process so that you can learn more about egg donation, ask questions and undergo psychosocial evaluations. This can take anywhere from a week to several weeks, depending on how quickly you have the intake appointment.
. Matching and Screening. If you are approved to continue, you will be matched with intended parents and, if you accept the match, you’ll undergo a medical screening. This typically includes a meeting to consult with the doctor and nurse coordinator, overview of medications and your menstrual cycle, and a variety of labs and blood work. During this screening phase you will also review legal contracts and meet with an attorney. This is the longest part of the process because it depends on a number of factors – how quickly appointments can be made, plus how long it takes for lab work and legal contracts to be completed – but is generally 1 or 2 months.
. Medication Cycle. Once medical screening is complete and legal documents are signed, the medication cycle will start with your next menstrual cycle. About 21 days in, a series of injections will start and you will attend 6 or 7-morning monitoring appointments for labs and ultrasounds to determine how your body is responding to the medication. The final injection is given 36 hours before the egg retrieval, and overall, the medication cycle takes about 3 to 4 weeks.
. Egg Retrieval. You made it! On the day of the retrieval, you will be placed under twilight anesthesia for the retrieval; this outpatient procedure involves an ultrasound probe guiding a small needle through the vaginal wall to retrieve the eggs from each ovary. The actual retrieval takes about 30 minutes.
You will want to follow instructions from the fertility clinic carefully to avoid overdoing it in the days following the egg retrieval. You will also want to pay attention to any signs of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which is the rare occurrence of the body over-responding to the hormones. While it requires rapid medical attention, it is typically resolved through an outpatient procedure. In general, full recovery from egg donation can be expected by your next menstrual cycle.
About Iranian Surgery
Iranian surgery is an online medical tourism platform where you can find the best infertility specialists in Iran. The price of infertility treatment in Iran can vary according to each individual’s case and will be determined by an in-person assessment with the doctor.
For more information about the cost of infertility treatment in Iran and to schedule an appointment in advance, you can contact Iranian Surgery consultants via WhatsApp number 0098 901 929 0946. This service is completely free.