We have put together steps to guide you through Egg Donor IVF. From what to look for in an egg donor until embryo transfer day, we are here to help you!
The egg donor may be a person known to the recipients, including a family member (such as a sibling), a friend, or may be a known donor from an egg donor agency.
Alternatively, the donor may be an anonymous donor from the donor pool of Northern California Fertility Center or from another agency. Egg donation with an anonymous egg donor is more common than a known donor. The recipient(s) would know much about the donor, but not her identity. An anonymous donor does not know anything about the recipient(s).
The choice of obtaining eggs from a known donor vs from an anonymous donor would be made by the recipient(s).
The egg donor will be started on oral contraceptives at the start of a natural menses to lead into the IVF stimulation. She will be on birth control pills for approximately 2 ½ weeks. A few days after the end of the birth control pills, the egg donor will begin a series of daily injections to stimulate the growth of her eggs. She will also be an injectable medication to prevent ovulation during the stimulation. She will be monitored by ultrasounds and estrogen blood levels every few days while on the injections. When the eggs are considered ready, she will receive a final injection to prepare the eggs for ovulation. The egg retrieval will be performed approximately 36 hours after the final injection (prior to when ovulation would be occurring). The egg retrieval will be accomplished under light anesthesia in the operating room at Northern California Fertility Center and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. She will stay in the recovery room for about 45 minutes and will be discharged home in the care of a family member or friend.
The morning of the egg retrieval, the male partner of the recipient couple will provide a sperm specimen which will be used to fertilize the eggs (unless previously frozen/thawed sperm is to be used). The sperm and egg will be combined in the lab the day of the egg retrieval. The next day we will be able to identify which eggs fertilized and became embryos. Embryos will be cultured in the lab for 5 to 6 days. Embryos that progress to the blastocyst stage by day 5 and 6 after fertilization will be frozen and saved for future transfer into the recipient woman (or gestational carrier). If the recipient(s) have elected for embryo biopsy and genetic testing, the biopsy of the embryo is performed prior to the embryo being frozen. The biopsied cells will be frozen and shipped to an outside testing facility for the genetic testing.
There are different medication protocols used to prepare the recipient woman (or surrogate) for the frozen embryo transfer. The physician will determine which protocol is best for the individual patient, depending on their ovarian function, among other factors. One commonly used protocol involves birth control pills for 3 weeks and a daily injection of a medication called Lupron to suppress the recipient’s normal ovarian function. This is then followed by estrogen (usually an injection 2 times a week) for about a week and a half to grow the uterine lining. Ultrasound and blood work are done to assess if the uterine lining looks appropriate. When the uterine lining looks appropriate, the recipient would be started on progesterone injections and a vaginal suppository. Embryo transfer occurs on the 6th day of progesterone administration. A pregnancy test would be performed 10 days after embryo transfer. In this protocol, the estrogen and progesterone medication would be continued until 11 weeks of pregnancy.
We recommend the transfer of a single embryo at a time. If there are multiple embryos to work with, one embryo would be thawed and transferred and the rest would remain frozen.