Typical Donor Egg Cycle
Step 1 - Egg Production
As in typical in an IVF cycle, your egg donor will be given fertility medications over the course of 7-10 days to stimulate the production of multiple eggs. During this time, her progress will be evaluated in our office by frequent blood levels and ultrasounds to ensure the eggs are developing according to plan. Once her eggs and hormone levels have reached optimal levels, your donor will receive a different medication called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to bring the eggs to final maturity; the last step in preparation for retrieval.
Step 2 - Preparing Your Uterus For Implantation
Since the embryos will be transferred to you, while the donor is going through the egg production process, you are given hormones that will prepare your uterus to receive the embryos and support a pregnancy. The readiness of your uterus will be evaluated through a blood test and ultrasound in our office. In addition, a simulated or mock embryo transfer will take place prior to the cycle to measure the angle and depth of your cervix and uterus and the thickness of your uterine lining. This mock transfer process is necessary to ensure the actual embryo transfer goes smoothly and embryo implantation is optimized.
Step 3 - Egg Retrieval
Approximately 36 hours after the hCG injection, your donor will undergo an egg retrieval. Using a hollow, ultrasound-guided needle, the eggs are gently removed from the fluid-filled (follicular) sacs on the ovaries. This is called follicular aspiration. The egg donor receives light IV sedation during this procedure and should experience little or no discomfort.
Step 4 - Fertilization
Once retrieved, the eggs are immediately sent to the embryologists in our IVF laboratory where they are identified and prepared for fertilization. The eggs are then combined with your partner's sperm and placed in an incubator where fertilization takes place. After fertilization, and over the next three to five days in the laboratory, cell division takes place; the fertilized eggs are now called embryos.
Step 5 - Embryo Transfer
On the day of embryo transfer, usually five days after egg retrieval, the embryologist sends the final embryology report to the physician. This information is discussed with you and then the embryos (typically one or two) are suspended in a tiny drop of culture media, loaded into a needle-thin catheter, and transferred through the cervix into your uterus. At this time, you may also be offered the option of vitrification (freezing) for any embryos not transferred during this donor cycle.
Do you have questions about the period between transfer and pregnancy test? Read Getting Through the Two-Week Wait to find some answers.
Step 6 - Testing for Pregnancy
Two weeks after the embryo transfer you will return to our office for a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, we will follow your progress with bloodwork and ultrasounds for four weeks before referring you back your to obstetrician for continued care. You should expect a normal pregnancy, unless advised otherwise.
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