The process of IVF with donor eggs starts at the beginning of the egg donor’s menstrual period. If the egg recipient (the intended mother or surrogate) is going through a fresh embryo transfer, our physicians will synchronize her menstrual cycle with the egg donor’s cycle, using birth control pills. For donor egg IVF process with frozen embryo transfer, egg donors and recipients do not have to synchronize their cycles, allowing for greater scheduling flexibility and making the process a popular option. Fresh and frozen embryo transfers have comparable live birth success rates in the donor egg IVF process
The following steps are a general guideline for the egg donation process here at Santa Monica Fertility. Details may vary based on the needs of both the egg donor and the intended mother as well as desired fertility goals.
The first step of the donor egg IVF process is for you to select and retain a suitable egg donor. You will collaborate with our Egg Donation Coordinator, who will guide and support you throughout the entire egg donation process. You can browse the profiles of our egg donors at any time; our online egg donor database features a number of exceptional egg donors who are available for fresh and frozen cycles. To meet your individual needs, we work with ladies from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Caucasian, Black, Indian, mixed race and Asian egg donors. Most egg donors whom we work with are already medically and psychologically screened, and many have successfully donated eggs before.
We will organize a complimentary phone call between you and our Chief Fertility Specialist and Medical Director, Dr. John Jain. Dr. Jain will review and discuss your medical history, explain the donor egg IVF process in detail and answer all questions that you may have. Dr. Jain will consider your fertility goals and recommend the IVF with donor eggs package that may best meet your needs.
Throughout the process, the egg donor will take a number of egg donor medications to prepare for egg retrieval. The egg recipient will take medication that will prepare her for IVF.
Although the medication protocol will vary, the main milestones in the donor egg IVF process are usually as follows:
Thirty-six hours following hCG injection, the donor eggs are retrieved and fertilized with the male partner’s (or sperm donor’s) sperm.
On the day of donor egg retrieval:
To achieve fertilization, sperm are placed with the eggs in an IVF dish or injected directly into the egg (ICSI). We will check the eggs the next day to determine which ones are fertilized. At that time, we can freeze all embryos (or just the excess) for a frozen embryo transfer at a later date.
If indicated for your donor egg IVF process, we’ll perform Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) when the embryo reaches the 8-cell stage (day three of development) or the blastocyst stage (day five or six of development). PGD can not only reveal the gender of the embryo for sex selection but also certain genetic conditions. The results from PGD are available within one to two days after starting the diagnostic test.
The embryo will develop in the IVF dish for five days. After the five day period, the embryo will be transferred into the egg recipient’s uterus. The embryo transfer is a simple procedure performed by placing a soft catheter containing the embryos through the cervix under ultrasound guidance. The procedure does not require anesthesia. However, we will administer Valium to help relax the pelvic muscles, so you will need to arrange a ride home rather than drive yourself. After approximately one week, you will need to complete a pregnancy test at our clinic to determine if the embryo transfer was successful.
After the embryo transfer, the intended mother will take supplemental hormones until our clinicians advise them to stop. Egg recipients usually require supplemental hormones for the first 12 weeks after the embryo transfer. After the supplemental hormone stage, the placenta will be able to provide the necessary hormones for normal fetal development.
If the patient uses frozen donor eggs or requests PGD for an embryo, the egg donation process described above will vary slightly. You don’t need to be local to California to undergo the donor egg IVF process here at Santa Monica Fertility. For patients living outside of the Los Angeles area, most of the steps for egg donation can be coordinated with your local IVF clinic. Dr. Jain can work with your physician to coordinate your initial screening, bloodwork, and medications. This means that in most cases, patients from outside of California will not need to come to our clinic until the time of the embryo transfer itself. For some international or out of state patients, the embryo transfer process usually requires about a one-week stay in the Los Angeles area.
Once we fertilize the donor eggs, we can also freeze and ship the untransferred embryos anywhere around the world. Your chosen IVF clinic can then thaw and transfer the embryos.
If you have any questions about the donor egg IVF process or other fertility treatment options, we’re here for you. Contact us or call our Egg Donation Coordinator at (310) 566-1470.