What is a Travel Cycle and How Does it Work?
A travel cycle, in third party fertility terms, is when your egg donor lives in another city usually more than an hour’s drive from your fertility clinic. Though the ideal situation would be if the donor lived close enough that all of her appointments could take place at your clinic, it doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you can’t find a candidate locally that you can relate to.
If you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone. Your fertility specialist will oversee all elements of the cycle while another fertility clinic, near your egg donor, will follow your physician’s protocol as they handle the early monitoring appointments. Your egg donor will make one or two trips to your clinic.
The first visit will be very brief and may not even require an overnight stay, depending on her location. This appointment will be for your physician to examine and approve the egg donor for your cycle. In many cases this appointment may be also done at the monitoring clinic following your physician’s instructions.
The second trip will occur between day 3 and 5 of your donor’s folic stimulation phase of the cycle. She will need a travel companion for this trip for safety reasons. On this trip she will be in town for 7-9 days through the retrieval and usually for 24-48 hours after.
Working with a donor from outside your area may not cost you significantly more than a local cycle. Donor fees vary from state to state and agency to agency. So, if you choose a donor whose fees are lower, the additional expenses for travel and remote monitoring in the long run may be minimal.
The costs involved will include:
Remote monitoring fees which, depending on your clinic, you may be credited for appointments that don’t take place in your clinic. In which case, the remote clinic fees may not increase your overall cycle cost
Some agencies charge a fee to arrange remote cycles; others may use an outside service to make all travel arrangements
Airfare for your donor and a travel companion (for second trip only)
Hotel for your donor and a travel companion for one room (many clinics get a reduced rate at local hotels)
Transportation to and from hotel, clinic and airport
Daily stipend to cover meals and miscellaneous ($50 -$75 a day)
Because egg donation is an invasive procedure and there is always the risk of hyper stimulation. It’s necessary that your donor have a travel companion on her second visit (for egg retrieval). Her travel companion can care for her after the procedure to make sure your egg donor gets back to her hotel safely, gets plenty of fluids, takes it easy and can notify your physician immediately if she does have any negative response due to the procedure.