The egg donation process for intended parents
What are the steps in the egg donation process for intended parents? We're here to help!
Third-party fertility procedures are becoming more and more common, but they still are rarely discussed unless couples need an egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogate to build their family. Donor Concierge has over two decades of experience helping hopeful parents build their families, and we want to share as much information as we can so that everyone can begin their third-party fertility journey with confidence. We're breaking down how the egg donation process works for intended parents, step by step.
Meeting with your fertility specialist
The egg donation process typically begins with a discussion between hopeful parents and their fertility team. Some hopeful parents may have experience with fertility treatments at this time due to a long fertility journey, while some may be meeting with a fertility team to discuss their options as a same-sex couple, single father, or other reasons.
Your fertility team will walk you through your options and discuss the egg donation process. Most fertility clinics have helped many parents conceive with the help of donor eggs, sperm, or gestational carrier, and should be able to address any concerns you may have. As you talk through egg donation, your fertility care team will typically give you additional information to help you understand the process and prepare.
Finding an egg donor
The next step in the egg donation process for hopeful parents is to find an egg donor. If you are struggling to find an egg donor Donor Concierge can help. Our goal is to find the best egg donor for your family's situation. Our team searches a vast network of egg donor agencies, clinics and frozen egg banks, to find as many candidates as possible who fit your criteria. If you're looking for specific characteristics or need some help with your egg donor search, contact us for a free consultationwith our team to discuss your needs.
Egg donors are found through frozen egg banks, egg donor agencies, or clinic donor programs. Egg donor agencies often have the largest pools of egg donor candidates, and may be the best option for hopeful parents looking for specific characteristics in an egg donor, but are often a higher-cost path. Frozen egg banks are best for hopeful parents who wish to use frozen donor eggs, and may be slightly lower cost, though there are fewer egg donor options. Check out our blog 'Fresh vs Frozen' for more information.
Choosing a donor from a fertility clinic donor program can be a great way to simplify the egg donation process - you will become a patient of that clinic so you'll need to confirm that they can work with you. Donor Concierge can help to make a direct introduction to many fertility clinics with egg donor programs. We have found that the pool of donors through clinic programs is likely smaller, but the donors have usually had all of their fertility testing and genetic carrier screening completed, which can substanstially lower the cost of egg donation.
Building your fertility team
Once you have selected an egg donor, you will continue building your fertility team. When working a donor to do a fresh donor egg IVF cycle, hopeful parents will work with a specialized fertility attorney to create contracts detailing the legal specifics of the egg donation process. Hopeful parents may also work with other fertility professionals such as genetic counselors, escrow companies or mental health therapists for support during the process.
Frozen egg banks and clinics usually have standard donor egg contracts ready in house, but we also feel it's wise to retain an attorney who is a specialist in assisted reproductive law to help you go through the specifics. Referrals to these attorneys is all part of our service.
Fertility testing and preparation
If you are pursuing a fresh donor egg cycle, your fertility clinic will perform testing on both the egg donor and the sperm contributor (unless you're using donor sperm whereby the genetic testing and sperm analysis will be available). This testing includes genetic carrier screening, psychological evaluation, and hormone testing to determine your donor's ovarian reserve.
Next, the egg donor you have selected will begin the stimulation phase, taking hormone injections to prepare her body for egg retrieval. The follicle stimulating hormones will allow multiple eggs to mature as your clinic carefully monitors her progress. Once your egg donor is at the peak of the stimulation phase, she will go to your fertility clinic to complete the egg retrieval procedure.
Once the eggs are retrieved, the embryology lab will fertilize them using the sperm you've chosen and embryos will be created and left to grow for at least five days. Most intended parents choose to transfer embryos to use at a later date, and so that genetic testing may take place on the embryos. This is called PGT testing. This takes place so that the recipient mother's (or your gestational carrier) uterine lining, is prepared for implantation after fertilization and it allows for greater ease of scheduling, and more exact timing of the embryo transfer.
We know the egg donation process can be complex, and it is often for hopeful parents who are searching for information about what they will need to complete the process as donor egg recipients. Donor Concierge is your best resource as you start this journey.
Interested in building your family with Donor Concierge? Schedule your free consultation today.