1. Reaching the decision to proceed with egg donation is often a long and emotionally difficult journey. Women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, over a certain age who no longer have viable eggs, women with the devastating diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, or same sex male couples who need an egg donor to have child may choose egg donation. Patients should be reassured knowing that egg donation is associated with the highest pregnancy rates in all of fertility care. Furthermore, even though the genetic material may not be yours, the field of epigenetics have now shown that the environment of the recipient’s uterus can have a substantial effect on how the embryo’s genes are expressed as it develops. Therefore, the journey to motherhood really begins in the womb.
2. After an egg donor is chosen, the donor will undergo a succession of screening tests to complete, including psychological screening, medical evaluation, genetic tests, and a mandatory infectious disease screening. Once the donor is medically cleared, the donor and recipient will sign a binding legal contract. Once all of this is done then the donor can proceed to egg donation with careful cycle coordination with the recipient
3. Traditionally the donor and recipient cycles are synchronized with a combination of birth control pills and other hormones. So, while the donor is takes injection of hormones to help recruit multiple eggs, the recipient is taking hormones to prepare the uterine lining for the embryo transfer. Once the eggs are retrieved, they can be fertilized with the intended parent’s sperm, and 5 days later a fresh embryo is transferred into the intended mother. Currently, with the advancement in cryopreservation (freezing) technology, we are seeing pregnancy rates from frozen embryos comparable to those of fresh embryo transfers. Therefore, whether a couple chooses to have a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, the timing is up to the couple.