Just as there are many reasons why couples or individuals may require use of donor sperm to assist in building their family, there are numerous reasons why donor eggs may be considered.
The use of donor eggs is becoming more common place for couples today, especially those where the female partner is 40 years or older. It allows women to become pregnant and deliver healthy babies, even if they have no eggs of their own to use.
Candidates for Donor Eggs are patients/couples with any of the following conditions:
- Premature ovarian failure
- Diminished ovarian reserve
- Genetically transmitted diseases that could be passed on to a child
- A history of previously failed IVF attempt(s) - especially if the reason suspected for failure is due to poor quality eggs
- Gay male couples – may elect to use an egg donor and a gestational carrier in order to have a child.
The use of Donor Eggs as part of an A.R.T. (assisted reproductive technologies) Treatment cycle, is classified as Third-Party Reproduction, and the individual/couple receiving the donor eggs is the donor egg “Recipient(s)”.
STEP by STEP…..
Step 1: Consult with a New Hope Center Specialist
Making a decision about using donor eggs, is not an easy one, so to ensure you have the necessary information to do this, we recommend a consultation with an experienced Fertility Specialist, such as “Dr. Robin”. She’ll review your past and current medical treatment and test results, and provide you with a recommendation for the most optimal treatment(s) to assist you in achieving a pregnancy. At completion, you’ll have everything you need to decide if donor egg is the right choice for you.
- If you decide Donor Egg is the right choice for you, move on to Step 2….
Step 2: Selecting an Egg Donor
There are two (2) types of egg donors: “Anonymous” and “Known”. The typical egg donation process is completed anonymously, which allows the intended parents to choose someone who understands the donation process and feels no need to have a relationship with a child after its birth. In fact, Anonymous egg donors receive no information whatsoever, regarding the outcome of the Recipient’s cycle or if a pregnancy was established.
Alternately, some Recipients may have a close friend or relative who offers to act as their “Known” Egg Donor. In this situation, there is no expectation of anonymity, since the Recipient and egg donor already have a relationship. What’s the benefit of using a Known Egg Donor? Well, unlike an Anonymous donor who is compensated for her time and donation, it is assumed a Known donor has offered her time and donation for altruistic reasons, and therefore, is not expecting the Recipient to compensate her for the donation.
In either case, Known or Anonymous, the New Hope Center rigorously screens every egg donor. Screening includes: a detailed psychological examination, family and personal medical history review, infectious disease and genetic testing (when applicable), along with a complete physical exam. Much of this screening is required by the FDA, the remaining is completed in an effort to ensure the eggs received by the intended mother are as healthy as possible.
If you’re planning to use an Anonymous egg donor, please contact our Third-Party Coordinator at Appointments@thenewhopecenter.com, and include your first and last name, date of birth, and your request to view our egg donor database. In response, you’ll receive the web link, and a login and password, to access and view profiles of our currently available egg donors. Typically, Recipient parents look to select a donor with similar physical characteristics to those of the intended mother, such as ethnic background, height, build, and hair and eye color.
Once you’ve selected an egg donor, move on to Step 3….
Step 3: Choose Between 3-Donor Egg Cycle Options
The New Hope Center offers three different Cycle options for Recipients to choose from, when using donor eggs. It’s important to decide which option most closely fits your needs, while understanding that not all egg donors may be available (or) permitted with all three options. For example, Known Egg Donors are not eligible for either Split/Shared or Frozen Cycles, and therefore, the Recipient must proceed with Option #1 - Full Donor Cycle.
- Full Egg Donor Cycle – a single Recipient (or Couple) receives all eggs produced by the egg donor during a single fresh stimulation. This single Recipient/couple is responsible for their own procedures, along with assuming all costs related to the Egg Donor’s pre-cycle screening, fertility drugs, procedures for/during the stimulated cycle, accidental insurance policy, and her compensation for the donation.
- Shared or “Split” Egg Donor Cycle – two Recipients “split” the number of eggs produced by a single egg donor during a single fresh stimulation. Each Recipient receives ½ (one-half) the total eggs retrieved. Each Recipient is responsible for their own procedures, along with assuming ½ (one-half) the cost of the Egg Donor’s pre-cycle screening, fertility drugs, procedures for/during the stimulated cycle, accidental insurance policy, and her compensation for the donation.
- Frozen Donor Egg Cycle – a Recipient (or couple) receives one (1) “lot” of frozen donor eggs for use (i.e. 1 lot = 5 eggs). The eggs are thawed, fertilized using ICSI, and the resulting embryos available for the Recipient to transfer and/or cryopreserve. The Recipient is responsible for the cost of their own procedures, and since the fresh stimulation of the egg donor has already occurred, the associated cost of the egg donor’s pre-screening, fertility drugs, procedures during the cycle, accidental insurance policy, and compensation for her donation, have been assessed and included in the Base Cycle Fee to be paid by the Recipient to the center.
On to Step 4…
Step 4: Contact the Clinic with Selections
Communicating your selections for a cycle type and an egg donor profile # with our office, can be accomplished by calling (757)496-5370, or by emailing Appointments@thenewhopecenter.com. When emailing, please your full name and date of birth, along with the profile # of the egg donor you’ve selected, the type of cycle you’re intending, and the month (or “series”) you wish to proceed.
Once received, our Third-Party coordinator will contact you to discuss your selection(s), and relay important information about the required pre-cycle screening for you and your partner.
Step 5: Pre-Screening Appointments
Our Third-Party Coordinator will assist in scheduling your pre-screening, which includes a Psychological evaluation, FDA and other lab work, and a Semen Analysis for the Male Recipient (unless donor sperm is being used).
Step 6: Cycle Protocol & Recipient “To Do List”
Your physician will design both the Recipient and the Egg Donor stimulation protocols, and a member of the IVF team prepares your “To Do List”, orders both your and the egg donor’s medications, and emails you with a complete packet of information for the cycle.
When received, please review the enclosed paperwork, paying special attention to your “To Do List”, which includes important information about upcoming appointments, medications, and information for scheduling a Hysteroscopy (HSC).
*A Hysteroscopy (HSC) is performed to evaluate and treat any unwanted pathology inside the Female Recipient’s uterine cavity. Endometrial polyps, uterine adhesions and/or fibroids, can interfere with or prevent embryo(s) from implanting, and to ensure the most optimal environment for transferring embryos, any such existing pathology must be removed prior your embryo transfer.
If you have any questions after reviewing your paperwork and instructions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team. We’re here to help!
Step 7: Pharmacy Payment & Baseline Day Visit
A day or two after ordering your medications, the Specialty Pharmacy will contact you with the total cost of your order. Please be prepared with a credit card to make payment at that time, so as to ensure timely delivery of your and your donor’s medications.
Baseline Day Visit/Appointment – This appointment typically lasts 2 to 3 hours, as there is much to accomplish during this one visit. The Male partner should accompany you to this appointment, as both partners are required to sign all treatment consent forms before the cycle/treatment can begin.
Upon arrival, the Female Recipient will undergo an ultrasound and cultures, and both partners will have bloodwork drawn. After, you’ll meet with a member of the IVF clinical team, to review your protocol/calendar, receive medication instructions, and answer any questions. Next, an Embryologist will review the intended laboratory procedures, answer any questions, and then witness your signatures on all consent forms. Finally, you’ll meet with a Financial Counselor, to make payment for your intended procedures, as well as scheduling your next appointment.
Step 8: Stimulation Begins!
You (the Female Recipient) will be placed on an estrogen replacement protocol. Estrogen is introduced into the body to ensure the maximum and appropriate growth of the endometrial lining, to prepare your uterus to receive the embryo(s) on the day of transfer.
Close to the time you are beginning hormone therapy, the egg donor will start her preparation for egg donation. She will receive daily injections of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) to stimulate her ovaries. These hormones will cause the ovaries to produce a greater number of mature eggs than would naturally occur.
Step 9: Donor’s Egg Retrieval
Between cycle days 12-15 of the stimulation protocol, the Egg Donor’s follicles will have grown to an appropriate size, and be ready to trigger for the egg retrieval procedure.
An IVF Nurse will review the proper instructions and timing with the egg donor, for her to self-administer the hCG (+/- Lupron) injection(s), relative to the timing of the scheduled TVOR (trans-vaginal oocyte retrieval) – occurs 2 days later. This same nurse will contact the Recipient/couple to schedule the Male partner (unless donor sperm or previously frozen/stored sperm is being used) for his time to arrive at the clinic the day of egg retrieval, to collect/provide our lab with a sperm sample.
Step 10: IVF Procedure
On the day of the egg retrieval, the egg donor will undergo IV sedation and the physician will perform the egg retrieval. The male recipient’s sperm (or donor sperm) will be processed by an Embryologist, and the eggs and sperm placed together in a laboratory dish for fertilization, using either a high concentration of washed sperm, or by performing ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection).
Step 11: Fertilization Check
The morning after the egg retrieval, an Embryologist will contact the Recipient/couple with their fertilization results. This is simply a very early update as to the number of eggs that initially fertilized post insemination. The next update/information received, will be the morning of your transfer – unless you have elected/paid for other specialized testing such as PGS or PGD.
Step 12: Embryo Transfer
One to two days prior to your date of transfer (~3-5 days post egg retrieval), a scheduling coordinator will contact you with instructions and an arrival time for your Embryo Transfer Appointment. If you have elected to receive Pre or Pre & Post acupuncture this day, you will be instructed to arrive in accordance with the timing of this additional service.
When you arrive at the clinic, a member of the IVF team will escort you to the transfer room. An Embryologist will relay the status & quality of your embryo(s), provide their recommendation for which embryo(s) to transfer at this time, witness your signature on the transfer consent, and answer any remaining questions you have. The physician will arrive and perform your embryo transfer, and you will remain in the room for ~ 1 hour. After, you’ll be escorted to the main waiting area, and a scheduling coordinator will set-up your appointments for follow-up blood work and the pregnancy test.
*It is recommended you get 24 hours of rest before resuming normal activities and avoid rigorous activities for the next 2 weeks.
Step 12: Pregnancy Test
Approximately 12 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, you’ll present to the clinic for your pregnancy test labs. A member of the IVF team will call you with these test results, along with any instructions, based on the results.
- Patients that arrive BEFORE 12noon for their blood draw - will receive test results the SAME DAY.
- Patients that arrive AFTER 12noon will not receive results until the following day.
Step 13: Off to the OB Office
Once a pregnancy is confirmed, patients remain at NHC for a few short weeks. Patients are scheduled for weekly ultrasounds and repeat hormone levels, in order to monitor the early stage of growth and ensure the pregnancy is well established. At ~8-12 WGA, patients are released/referred to a/their OB physician. There, the OB physician and staff will provide the patient’s obstetrical and maternity care, as well as delivering the baby.