IVF Egg Donation – Step by Step

Egg donation process may vary between particular clinics and countries. Talk to your clinic consultant about all organizational aspects.  The most standard procedure typically consists of steps below:

  1. Initial visits – they will be necessary to qualify you and your partner to the procedure; they usually include medical examination and all tests including sperm tests and sometimes freezing partner’s sperm on the first visit
  2. Selection of the donor – some clinics provide patients with complete information about women that donated her eggs, others give you only basic information such as blood type, hair and eye color, age, height. Usually all donors are examined vary carefully so doctors are certain that they are healthy.
  3. Egg production – it is just as in typical in an IVF cycle: donor is given fertility medications over the course of several days. Her ovaries are being stimulated to produce multiple eggs. The entire process is evaluated by frequent blood tests and ultrasounds. Once her eggs and hormone levels have reached optimal levels, doctors will change her medication to bring the eggs to final maturity. This is the last step in preparation for egg retrieval.
  4. Recipient’s preparation – you need to take medication due to prepare your uterus for embryo transfer and to support pregnancy. Your body reactions will be also evaluated through blood test and ultrasound.
  5. Donor’s eggs retrieval – donor will undergo an egg retrieval some time after she have taken the last meds. Using a hollow needle, ultrasound guided, the eggs are gently removed from the ovaries. This is called follicular aspiration. During this procedure the egg donor receives sedation and should experience little or no discomfort.
  6. Sperm donation – your partner donate sperm or his semen is picked-up trough medical procedure (surgery) unless it’s frozen already
  7. Fertilization – Once retrieved donor’s eggs are passed to the embryologists in IVF laboratory. There they are evaluated and prepared for fertilization. Then eggs are combined with your partner’s sperm (material from sperm bank can be also used) and placed in an incubator where fertilization takes place. Over the next three to five days in the laboratory cell division happens and embryos are cultured.
  8. Embryo transfer – One or more (depending on medical indications and recipient’s age) 2,3 or 5 days old embryos are placed into recipient’s uterus (embryo transfer). On the day of this procedure, your doctor will receive the complete information from IVF laboratory. It should be discussed with you and all decisions about transfer are made. Then embryos are suspended in culture media, loaded into a needle thin catheter, and transferred through the cervix into the uterus. At this time, if there are some embryos left, they may be frozen (criopreservation).
  9. Program verification and pregnancy testing – usually after embryo transfer you need to see your doctor to verify if the in vitro program with donor eggs was successful. You should be prepared for about two-week wait before you pregnancy is confirmed.