Egg Donors: Your Tough Questions Answered

Roberta Wilson By Roberta Wilson, 28th Mar 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Pregnancy

Egg donors are the key to the puzzle. For couples who haven’t been able to conceive or women who have a diminished egg supply, an egg donation can be the answer to a long fertility struggle. Donors who choose to donate their eggs are giving these couples the family they’ve longed for and becoming part of the solution.

It’s true that more young women are choosing to become donors

But there are also more couples using egg donation as a fertility treatment. The success of the procedure, the low-risk of donating and using donor eggs and the positive experiences that both donors and recipients experience are the top reasons for why egg donations are becoming widespread. Yet there are tough questions out there that donors should have the answers to.
Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What is Included in the Medical and Psychological Screenings?

First, egg donors are given a thorough medical and psychological screening to ensure they are in good physical and mental health. Yet what do these screenings really entail? A medical questionnaire will ask you about your past fertility and gynecological background. You will also answer questions about your family’s background, genetic diseases in the family and whether or not you use tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs. You may also be given a drug test.

As a donor, you will also be asked questions about your lifestyle and personality. These tests determine your character so that recipient couples can know a little bit more about the person you are and some of the traits they may see in their child. The information you provide will be used to build a comprehensive profile. You can expect that your confidentiality will be maintained and only those that have authorization will be able to view your profile in depth.

Finally, blood will be drawn to test for genetic disorders, hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases and your blood type. Additional tests can screen for cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. You will also receive an ultrasound to ensure that your ovaries are in good health, and a mental evaluation will run like a therapy session in which someone from the agency will discuss why you want to donate and what you hope to get from the experience.

How are the Hormones Administered?

Hormones are administered via injection. Although there are some variations, the general schedule looks something like this: You will take birth control pills for ten days to regulate your menstrual cycle. Lupron injections are then given for ten days either by yourself or by the clinic. Because these hormone injections are given twice a day, most agencies send their donors home with the injections to do on their own. You will have to be extremely diligent about giving yourself the injections, so know that your social life may slow during this time.

After these cycles, you will be given Gonal F for ten days, which is a fertility hormone. These fertility drugs last about three weeks, and you may experience side effects from them such as headaches, nausea and bloating. The injections are given with a small needle and placed in the belly or thigh where there is fatty tissue. Most egg donors report that the injection is minimal but may have localized stinging.

What is the Retrieval Process Like?

Once the eggs have been matured, which the clinic will know from the multiple blood tests and ultrasounds, you will be ready for the collection of the eggs. Egg donors are lightly sedated so that they don’t feel any pain during the 30 minute process. An ultrasound-guided probe is inserted and a needle is placed in the vaginal wall to collect the mature eggs. You shouldn’t feel anything during the procedure, but you will be instructed not to drive for the day. You may experience mild pain, discomfort and cramping once the sedation wears off, but most donors resume their normal activities in a week or less.

Will Donating Eggs Affect my Fertility?

No. Each month, several eggs are selected for the ovulation cycle, but only one is chosen. The rest of the eggs are absorbed by the body. When taking the fertility medications, these eggs will be matured and collected instead, which means donating eggs will pose no effect on your future fertility, the onset of menopause or your menstrual cycle. It's important to note that you should abstain from intercourse while going through an egg donation since you will be more fertile and more likely to have multiples.

Tags

Donate Their Eggs, Donors, Egg Donation, Egg Donors, Egg Supply, Fertility, Fertility Treatment

Meet the author

author avatar Roberta Wilson
Love anything about making a house a home. My family's health, decorating my home and my pets are my passion.

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