The process of egg donation requires that the components of a single IVF cycle be divided between the donor and the intended mother. The donor undergoes the initial steps of IVF, including ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, and the intended mother undergoes the embryo transfer.
Traditionally both women’s cycles must be synchronized using a combination of birth control pills and Lupron. When the cycle begins, the donor is administered the medications required for a standard IVF cycle, while the intended mother takes a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
However, with recent improvements in embryo freezing, comparable pregnancy rates are now being observed between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in scheduling.
Alternatively, sperm can be shipped to Santa Monica and embryos created from donor eggs. The intended mother can then undergo the embryo transfer at a later time convenient to her with minimal hormonal treatment.
Typically the embryo transfer is scheduled 3 to 5 days later. The intended mother continues to take estrogen and progesterone through the end of the first trimester to mimic the hormones produced by the ovary in natural conception. At the end of the first trimester (twelve weeks gestational age, or approximately ten weeks after embryo transfer), the placenta produces the necessary hormones, and the estrogen and progesterone supplementation is no longer required. However, with recent improvements in embryo freezing, comparable pregnancy rates are now being observed between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in scheduling.
For more details, see The Egg Donation Cycle.