The Egg Donation Process: What to Expect

The egg donation procedure is a very rewarding experience for many. It’s also a rather long and involved process, so it’s completely understandable if you have questions about the egg donation process!
That’s why the Extraordinary Conceptions team is here to help. We have been helping families come together through egg donation for nearly 20 years—we’re ready to answer all of your questions and support you every step of the way. Whether you’re curious about any of the potential risks or what retrieval is actually like, we have the experience to help you get answers.

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What is the Egg Donation Process?

Some families are unable to conceive with their own eggs or oocytes. This is usually due to medical reasons, risk of genetic disorder or lack of ovaries. Many people in these situations choose to conceive using eggs from a donor to build and grow their families. Depending on circumstances, donor eggs are carried by either an intended parent or a surrogate.

The egg donation process can be somewhat complex and requires legal and medical assistance. This is why working with an agency is important: We remove the red tape and make sure you’re in the right hands.

How Does the Egg Donation Procedure Work?

The egg donation process is a fairly involved one. As a donor, you will be expected to take medication, attend medical and psychological screenings and eventually undergo a minimally invasive medical procedure to retrieve your eggs. After egg retrieval, you can rest and recover as instructed by the IVF physician.

For intended parents, the egg donation procedure begins with your registration to access our database of egg donors. When you see a profile that suits your family’s needs, contact us to arrange a meeting. If your meeting goes well, it’s a match! Your next steps will include drafting a legal contract with your donor and sitting tight while she takes medication and undergoes monitoring for her egg donation procedure.

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Egg Donation Procedure Risks

Donating eggs is incredibly safe, and according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, donors are able to complete up to six cycles. As with any medical procedure, the egg donation process does come with a few risks. While they are very unlikely, it is important to enter your egg donor process fully informed.

Some of the risks associated with egg donation are:

  • Mental Distress 
    While most women find the egg donation process incredibly rewarding, it can be a psychologically challenging time for others.

  • Discomfort and Bruising at the needle site
    Donors may experience some bruising at the needle site when drawing blood, as well as discomfort around the injection.

  • Reaction to Fertility Drugs
    The egg donation procedure requires certain fertility medications to be taken ahead of retrieval. In some cases, donors don’t respond well to those drugs. Some report headaches, weight gain, feelings of pressure in the stomach and changes in mood. Some also experience allergic reactions or infections, but it is rare. Although there have been claims that these fertility drugs can lead to ovarian cancer, there is no proven evidence to back this up. While rare, egg retrieval can also cause changes to your pelvic organs, which can lead to fertility and menstruation issues, as well as pain.

  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
    In rare cases, taking fertility drugs can lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS.) There is a higher risk for OHSS if you’ve taken the medication but decide not to go through with the retrieval process. While OHSS can be very serious, the risks can be minimized. If you are concerned about this risk, speak to our team.

  • Post-Retrieval Complications
    Though it’s uncommon, some donors experience discomfort following their retrieval procedure. Bleeding, infection or blood vessel/bowel injury can occur, and surgery could be required.

  • Torsion
    Sometimes, certain movements can cause torsion, an incident where your enlarged ovary becomes twisted. This can result in abdominal pain.

  • Unplanned Pregnancy
    You will likely be advised to abstain from unprotected heterosexual intercourse whilst taking your medications prior to retrieval. Disregarding this advice may lead to an unplanned pregnancy. If you become pregnant during your donation cycle, your contract could be severed.

  • Potential Long-Term Effects
    Egg donation is a fairly new procedure, and we don’t know everything about it yet. There is a chance that the medications or procedure can lead to long-term effects that are still unknown.

What is the Egg Donation Screening Process?

The egg donation screening process is in place to protect everyone involved: you, your intended parent(s,) and the coming baby. There are stringent rules in place over who can become an egg donor. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the requirements of being an egg donor prior to your application. If you think you would be a great candidate but don’t meet all of the requirements, please get in touch with us anyway—some flexibility might be possible, depending on the circumstances.

After confirming eligibility, you will submit an application and our team will be in contact with you. This is a great time to ask us lots of questions! Once you have completed your profile, we’ll add you to our digital database for intended parents to browse. Eventually, someone will select your profile, and we will contact you for a chance to meet them. If it’s a match, you can proceed with the rest of the egg donation process.

You will undergo a physical exam, drug and nicotine screening, genetic and STD testing and any other blood tests required by your doctor. During this time, you will also undergo a full background check and psychological screening. Once you’ve cleared the egg donation screening process, you will work with your intended parents and respective lawyers to develop a legal contract. You will also begin taking your fertility drugs and seeing your doctor for medical monitoring.

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The Egg Donation Process Timeline: What to Expect

So, how long will the entire egg donation process timeline be?

Usually, we tell donors to expect the process to last anywhere between 12 to 16 weeks, starting after they’ve been “matched” with intended parents. However, everyone is different, and your timeline will be unique to your egg donation screening process and other factors.

Egg Donation Procedure: Retrieval and Post-Retrieval

It’s time for your egg retrieval! This procedure typically takes under an hour, plus around 30 minutes of recovery onsite. In some cases, your clinic might request a follow-up appointment, but for many donors, this is where the process ends. We always ask that you bring a travel companion to accompany you for your retrieval.

After embryos have been lab-developed, they will either be frozen for future use or immediately transferred to your intended mother or gestational surrogate with a process similar to IVF. In the meantime, we recommend taking it easy for the day. You will receive your compensation check within two weeks.

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Ready to Begin the Egg Donation Cycle Process?

At Extraordinary Conceptions, we’ve been helping egg donors, surrogates and families since 2005. Over that time, we’ve seen miracle babies grow into happy, healthy teenagers and adults — and we are honored to have been a part of their story. Don’t see your question addressed here? Ask us!

If you are ready to give the gift of a child to a family, get in touch with our team. We are here to answer all of your questions and help you navigate this exciting journey. We look forward to meeting you.

Read About Becoming an Egg Donor From Women Like You!

Take a look at what some of our own surrogates have said about their experience with Extraordinary Conceptions:

“Seeing the parents hold their baby for the first time was the best part of my journey and I knew immediately that I wanted to do this again”
“I just wanted to thank you guys for working so hard with us to make this happen! I feel so grateful being able to help such an awesome couple.”

“Any “difficult” parts of the pregnancy were immediately erased the moment I saw the look on my Intended Parents’ faces. It was pure joy for all of us!”

“Extraordinary Conceptions really made the process of surrogacy a wonderful one. Always making me feel comfortable and being there to answer every single question. Thank you for introducing me to my intended parents and letting me help make their dreams come true.”

We’re Honored to be Part of Your Journey!

Apply to become an Egg Donor with Extraordinary Conceptions today, and someone from our team will be in touch with you very shortly. We are honored and excited to help you take the steps to making a family’s dreams come true.

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