Egg Donors – How It Works

Below is a brief step by step summary of the process of egg donation. Generally, a first time cycle can take 2-3 months and subsequent cycles can take 1-2 months to complete. The staff at CDEB and the physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) believe that the health and safety of egg donors is a priority. Every medical procedure has risks. We will review with each donor individually the potential risks and complications of egg donations. Additionally, health insurance coverage is provided at no cost to a donor during the process to cover any unforeseen complications.

While the process of egg donation is a rewarding one, it is important that you understand the commitment and responsibilities of becoming an egg donor. Following a medical screening, donors will undergo a standard procedure which includes ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. We will guide you through the steps to make sure you know what to expect.

STEP 1: COMPLETE APPLICATION

If you are a non-smoker and a healthy woman between the ages of 21 and 33, you are eligible to apply to be an egg donor. The first step is to complete and submit the short questionnaire. When your application is received, it will be reviewed. If all information is complete and acceptable, we will contact you by phone. At that time, you will be required to complete a more detailed questionnaire regarding your health/medical history, education, personal characteristics, etc. This questionnaire must be received in order to continue to the next step(s).

STEP 2: IN-PERSON INTERVIEW

Our donor coordinator will schedule an in-person interview at the CryoGen Donor Egg Bank (CDEB). At this appointment, details of participation in the donor egg program will be outlined, and your questions answered. Additional information about your medical history may be requested.

Your blood will be drawn for assessment of your ovarian reserve and hormone levels. If these results are acceptable, you will receive a call from the CDEB donor coordinator to discuss your next steps in participation.

STEP 3: ADDITIONAL REQUIRED TESTING

You are required to have drug testing and a criminal background check. If you have not had a pap smear within the last year, you must see your health care provider to have a current pap smear.

STEP 4: FORMAL SCREENING APPOINTMENTS

These appointments will take place at the Center for Infertility & Reproductive Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CDEB’s clinical partner. There are several required appointments for the screening process. For your convenience, we aim to schedule all of your appointments for the same day.

1. Physician Appointment
During this consult, the BWH physician will discuss the medical process of the cycle as well as the relative risks associated with the procedure. A physical exam will be done to determine your health status and ability to participate as an egg donor. Cervical cultures will be taken for N. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Length: 30-60 minutes

2. Program Nurse Appointment
One of BWH’s nurses will teach you about the medications you will self-administer for your cycle, as well as the details of cycle monitoring. You will also learn how to self-inject the medications.
Length: 30-60 minutes

3. Social Worker Appointment
To ensure that you are comfortable with the physical and emotional aspects of your decision to donate, and are aware of the expectations and requirements involved. We also want to make certain that you have the proper support in place for the cycle duration. Our social workers have the expertise to help with coping strategies with this challenging time, and are available to meet with you at any point during your cycle. Additional resources are also available.
Length: 60 minutes

4. Laboratory Appointment
Your blood will be drawn for communicable disease and genetic testing.

STEP 5: ACCEPTANCE

After the screening appointments, the CDEB donor coordinator will call you to indicate your formal acceptance into our program. The acceptance generally occurs within two weeks after the formal screening appointments.

STEP 6: ACTIVE TREATMENT CYCLE

You will be given a medication start date.
1. Begin medications as instructed by the program nurse.

2. Ultrasound appointments will be scheduled to monitor your response to the egg stimulation medications and determine the number of developing follicles in your ovaries.

3. Your blood will be drawn at time of ultrasound appointments as another way to monitor your response to the stimulation medications.

4. The BWH donor egg program nurse will keep in contact with you as you go through the stimulation process.

5. You will receive a call from the BWH donor egg program nurse to schedule your final injection of human chorionic gonadotropin, and to schedule the egg retrieval 36 hours later. It is very important that you take this injection at the exact time the nurse tells you.

6. You will be given the time for your egg retrieval and where to go for this procedure. You must be accompanied by someone who will take you home and stay with you for the remainder of the day after the retrieval.

STEP 7: ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

You will be scheduled for a follow-up ultrasound appointment to assess your recovery after ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. The BWH nurse will make this appointment with you after your retrieval.

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