Donor Egg (Oocyte)

Prior to beginning a Donor Egg cycle, the patient must select a donor through a donor egg agency or have a known donor in mind. All egg donors must provide their medical & obstetrical history, complete the hormone & infection evaluation, and psychological screening, and be considered a good candidate for egg donation. The Donor Egg Cycle involves having the donor complete the IVF cycle to the point of egg (oocyte) retrieval while the patient (recipient) undergoes uterine preparation as she would during a Frozen Embryo Transfer.

During the donor egg cycle, the donor is given oral contraceptive for 2-3 weeks and then started on injectable medication for 8-12 days to stimulate the ovaries and allow the eggs (oocytes) to mature. The progress of the stimulation is followed and assessed with ultrasounds and hormone levels. At the same time, the patient’s (recipient) uterus is “prepared” to receive the embryos by a combination of estrogen, progesterone and injectable medications over the course of 2-3 weeks. Once enough eggs have matured the donor is scheduled to have the eggs removed under ultrasound guidance (IVF Retrieval) in the office. The eggs and sperm of the patient’s (recipient) partner are then combined in the laboratory and the eggs are fertilized. In cases where there is no male partner or he is unable to make healthy sperm, a sperm donor can be used. If it is believed that the sperm cannot fertilize the egg as in unexplained infertility, or there is a problem with the sperm (Male Factor), the sperm are injected into the egg in a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI increases the total percentage of eggs that are fertilized. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are then placed in the uterus (Embryo Transfer) of the recipient 3 or 5 days after fertilization, or are frozen (cryopreserved) for transfer typically in the following 1-2 months. The decision to freeze (cryopreserve) embryos is determined by your reproductive plan and can be influenced by hormone levels or findings during stimulation, the desire for genetic testing (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD) of the embryos or the desire to become pregnant on a later date. Once the patient (recipient) becomes pregnant after In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) she continues to receive medications to support the pregnancy for 6 to 7 weeks and several ultrasounds to confirm the health and due date of her pregnancy.