The Egg Donation Process

Working to Match Egg Donors with Recipients

We encourage patients to work with outside agencies to identify the egg donor best suited for their specific criteria. Only non-identifying information about the donor such as age, physical characteristics, educational background, occupation, personal and family health history is shared with potential recipients. Once selected, the donor is interviewed and screened in person by our staff.

After a donor-recipient match has been made, it is time to start the cycle. The goal of the cycle is to obtain the eggs from the donor. The eggs are then fertilized, and the resulting embryos are placed into the intended parent’s uterus. Both the donor and recipient will meet (separately) with one of our in-vitro fertilization (IVF) nurses for education about their cycles and medication training.

Ovarian Stimulation

The cycle begins by synchronizing the donor and intended parent’s menstrual cycles. Once the cycles are synchronized, the stimulation of the donor can begin.

During the stimulation, the egg donor gives herself hormone medications by injection to encourage multiple egg development. The donor’s response to the medications is carefully monitored by vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests. When the ultrasounds and blood test indicate the eggs are ready, a final injection is given to prepare the donor for egg retrieval.

While the donor is taking her shots, the recipient is taking medication and doing ultrasound monitoring to ensure the uterine lining is prepared to receive the embryos. Side effects and possible complications of the medications and the procedure are fully discussed with potential donors at their consultation with the physician.

Egg Retrieval

Egg retrievals are done at the UH Fertility Center’s Risman Pavilion office. The egg retrieval is done through the vagina by using ultrasound to guide a thin needle into the ovaries. The eggs are obtained by withdrawing the eggs from each of the follicles. The donor will be given light sedation for the retrieval. We ask that the donor rest for one hour, after which the donor can go home.

Fertilization and Transfer

On the day of the retrieval, sperm will be used to attempt to fertilize the retrieved eggs. After three to five days, the embryos are placed into the uterus of the intended parent. In some cases, the embryos will be frozen (cryopreserved) for future use by the intended parents.

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