But you can still make a huge impact on a family through egg donation.
Oftentimes, women want to give the gift of a baby to others but are either unable to, or uncomfortable with becoming a gestational surrogate. Even where surrogacy is not an option for the woman, she can still be a part of giving the gift of a life to a family through egg donation. Although different from gestational surrogacy, becoming an egg donor is a very rewarding and exciting journey to help make a dream come true for intended parents.
Many couples find themselves in situations where, due to age, physiology, or other medical reasons, they need assistance from a third party to conceive. Because of infertility increasing three-fold over the last 20 years, demands for assisted reproductive technology (ART) have skyrocketed. Egg donation has become one of the most common forms of therapy for infertility, accounting for more than 12 percent of all ART cycles.
Becoming an egg donor is big decision and should be carefully evaluated. Choosing to participate in an egg donor cycle is a huge commitment, but one that comes with extremely gratifying results. Your donation could be the difference between a childless family and one filled with the laughter, joys and excitement of a child. With such an increase of infertility issues among childbearing-age women, your donation could in fact be the only option for some couples to become parents. We published a heartwarming post last month about how one Louisiana family was able to have children as a result of an egg donor.
Although egg donor requirements vary between states and agencies, the typical requirements for egg donors are that they are between the ages of 21 and 30, and are both medically and psychologically qualified. Upon being selected as a donor by a recipient, the egg donor cycle can begin. This process, detailed below, can last as few as six weeks or as many as four months.
- Initial screening. For first-time donors, an initial screening visit with a doctor is required. This will include having your blood drawn for hormone tests on third day of your menstrual cycle. Sometimes, a transvaginal ultrasound may also be required. Additionally, a lengthy psychological screening is required, which can take up to three or four hours.
- Medical screening. After your pre-testing and psychological results are cleared, the cycling doctor will want to meet you to conduct his or her own medical and genetic screening. This screening usually has a one-day turnaround that may or may not require an overnight stay. Screenings during this visit typically include genetic tests as well as additional blood draws for any sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, hepatitis, and drug/nicotine testing.
- Legal process & balance of funds. Before beginning stimulation medications, you will need to go through the legal process of becoming an egg donor. Your case manager will assign you an attorney to review and finalize a legal contract to be signed by both you and the recipient. Once this has been completed, the recipient’s attorney will issue a legal clearance letter, enabling the doctor to begin the medical cycle.
- Synchronization & stimulation. Your doctor will create a medications calendar for you to begin taking the medications that will stimulate your ovaries to produce and grow the eggs. Typically, you will start with birth control pills to synchronize your monthly cycle with the carrier. After this, you will learn to give yourself daily injections of hormones with a small needle for two to three weeks. These injections will prevent you from ovulating and put you in a short-term menopausal condition.
After these injections are complete, you will begin another round of injections to increase the number of follicles (fluid-filled sacs which contain the eggs) developing in the ovaries. Your third and final injection, known as HCG, will initiate the final stage of maturation and timing of the egg retrieval. You will be medically monitored the entire time to check your response to these hormones; your schedule will need to be flexible to accommodate the many monitoring appointments, which will include blood draws and vaginal ultrasounds.
- Egg retrieval. Egg retrieval is usually scheduled in the early morning and takes about 20-30 minutes, plus an additional one to two hours of postoperative recovery. The procedure is performed vaginally with an ultrasound guided needle. You will be under light sedation and it is recommended to clear out your schedule for the remainder of the day, as well as have someone drive you to and from the procedure.
Becoming an egg donor is a satisfying and worthwhile endeavor proving beneficial for both donor and recipient alike. If surrogacy has been ruled out for you, but you still wish to give the gift of a child, becoming an egg donor may be the answer. To determine if becoming an egg donor is the right path for you, contact Surrogate Solutions today!