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What is egg donation and how does it work?


Egg donation is considered to be one of the most important assisted reproductive technology methods that are practised all over the world these days. It is the process through which eggs are donated by a woman so that another woman can use them to conceive a child. In some cases, the eggs are also used for the purpose of biomedical research. To aid in the process of assisted reproduction, the eggs that are donated are typically used in the process of in vitro fertilization in which the eggs are fertilized within a laboratory. In some cases, the unfertilized eggs are frozen and stored so that they can be used later. The woman who donates her eggs is called an egg donor. The process of egg donation is described as a type of third party reproduction procedure.

Here is a brief overview of what happens when you choose to become an egg donor.

  • Firstly, you will be asked to go through a thorough initial screening along with some interviews that will help the infertility clinic to understand whether you are suited for the egg donor program. Once you pass all the tests, you will be approved for the egg donation process.
  • When an individual or a couple chooses to seek donor eggs, they go through the pre-screened egg donors and find a suitable candidate. Next, a donor egg match process is performed when the recipient decides to go ahead with a definite donor. Once both the donor and the recipient are ready and tests are carried out to understand their medical state, the donor match is made. This may take a short or a long time, which varies with every single case.
  • An egg donor is going to need to take daily Lupron injections for suppressing her natural cycle. This is done to synchronize her cycle with that of the recipient. During this ovarian stimulation phase, an egg donor also administers daily gonadotropin injections for stimulating her ovaries. Only a single egg matures through the natural cycle; gonadotropin injections can help in promoting the maturation of more than a single egg for retrieval. During the stage of ovarian stimulation, egg donors are regularly monitored by the medical team. Ultrasound and blood tests are performed to understand the current state of the donor. This helps to make sure that the donor’s ovaries are responding properly and not experiencing hyperstimulation.
  • Doctors focus on creating favorable uterine environment inside the recipient so that she develops an endometrium of 7 mm. This is done by the application of estrogen and progesterone which helps in preparing the endometrial lining for the process of implantation. In certain instances, some patients might experience difficulties to reach the minimum required endometrial thickness. Therefore they may need special treatments.
  • Once the eggs of the donor have developed sufficiently, the process of ovulation will be triggered with an hCG injection. Next, the eggs are retrieved through the process of egg retrieval. This is done with the help of an aspiration needle that is inserted transvaginally for retrieving the eggs. The procedure is guided by ultrasound. During this procedure, the donor is given a sedative which helps her to sleep. After the procedure is carried out, the donor needs to rest for the remaining of the day.
  • Fertilization of the retrieved eggs is carried out with the sperm collected from a sperm donor or the male partner. Embryos resulting from such fertilization are then incubated and graded.
  • As an egg donor, you may experience a number of side effects like bloating, cramping, moodiness, aching, nausea, hot flashes, headaches as well as breast tenderness. These side effects are usually caused by medications that you need to take for this process. Discuss such side effects with your doctor if you are experiencing any of them.


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