Egg donation is when a woman donates her eggs for the purpose of assisted reproduction or biomedical research. There are several steps involved in the medical procedure of egg donation. These are as follows:1. Initial Screening
Egg donors will have to undergo an initial screening with a team of specialists as well as some tests. Usually, the standard tests which are part of the initial screening are:
2. Medical Screening
Once the donor passes the initial screening, the next phase is the medical and genetic screening carried out by a specialist. These screenings test for drug or nicotine use, as well as for any sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis, HIV, etc.
3. Suppression and Ovarian Stimulation
Once the donor has been given the green signal by the specialist, she will begin the stage of suppression and ovarian stimulation. Here, daily injections will be administered to her to suppress her natural cycle, so that her cycle and the recipient cycle are synchronized. The donor is administered daily injections at the ovarian stimulation phase in order to stimulate her ovaries and encourage more than one egg to mature for retrieval, as opposed to natural cycles wherein only one egg matures. Donors are closely monitored during this phase through ultrasounds and blood tests to ensure that the hyerpstimulation is working for the ovaries.
4. Preparation for the Endometrial Lining in the Recipient
A recipient must have favorable uterine environment to be able to successfully receive the egg from the donor. This includes an endometrium of at least 7 mm. For this purpose, the recipient’s endometrial lining is prepared for implantation by administering estrogen and progesterone.5. Ovulation Triggering & Egg Retrieval After ultrasound imaging tests reveal that the donor’s eggs have developed sufficiently, ovulation will be triggered by an injection. After about two days, the donor’s eggs will be retrieved in a procedure that lasts only about 20 to 30 minutes. The process entails the donor to be seated through I.V. sedation, while a specialist uses an aspiration needle, guided by ultrasound, to retrieve the eggs transvaginally. The donor will be instructed to recover for the rest of the day.
6. Recipient Fertilization and Embryo TransferThe eggs retrieved from the donor are then fertilized with the sperm from another donor or the recipient’s partner. In the case of fresh sperm, the partner will be required to deposit a sample at that time. Embryos that are created from this fertilization are graded and incubated and are transferred into the uterus of the recipient on the third day after the retrieval from the donor.
7. Pregnancy Test for the Recipient and Post-Retrieval Checkup for the Donor
Two weeks after the embryo has been transferred into the recipient, she will have to undergo a pregnancy test via a blood test. This blood test will measure the level of hCG. Recipients are usually discharged for prenatal care after an ultrasound displays a pregnancy and post two normally rising hCG tests. Where donors are concerned, they are required to return for a post-retrieval checkup so as to ensure that they are recovering well from the ovarian stimulation as well as the egg retrieval procedure. Donors can resume their daily activity a day or two after the egg retrieval procedure. For most egg donors, right from the beginning to the end, this process lasts for about 3 to 5 weeks.
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