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- Egg Recipient/Donation
There are two types of egg donors, anonymous and known (related).
Anonymous egg donors wish to keep their identity confidential. The anonymous egg donor is comfortable with the understanding that her donation is totally anonymous. She will not know the outcome of her donation nor will she meet or learn the names of the recipient of her eggs.
Known donors are women known by or related to the recipient. This type of egg donation involves free exchange of information between the donor and the recipient couple. A psychological consultation is required due to the emotional issues that may arise when donor and recipient are acquainted.
- Healthy women between the ages of 19 and 32.
- Have two normal ovaries and regular menstrual cycles.
- Normal height to weight ratio. Please check the BMI chart to see if you qualify.
- Free of contagious and genetic disease.
- Willing and able to travel to one of our four centers for monitoring and counseling and to Birmingham for egg retrieval.
- Do not smoke or use drugs.
- Willing to avoid alcohol and caffeine during stimulation.
- Willing to undergo medical and psychological screening.
- Willing to take daily injections, have frequent blood tests and ultrasounds.
- Willing to give “Informed Consent” for the egg retrieval procedure, IV sedation and medication (such as antibiotics).
- Have own transportation and be responsible and very dependable and make all appointments.
- Return for final check-up appointment scheduled for approximately two weeks after egg retrieval. Final payment will be received at this appointment.
- If you have a hormone realising birth control device such as Mirena or Nexplanon/Implanon, it will have to be removed prior to baseline assessment.
- Copper IUD's such as Paraguard do not need to be removed.
• You will derive satisfaction in knowing you are helping a couple become parents. The couples who need donor eggs may have no other hope of having children.
• You will be reimbursed for the time you invest in the donor process. If you complete the screening and are accepted as a donor, you can expect to receive $4,000 for the cycle donation reimbursement. Payment is made at the completion of each donation cycle and the donor must return for her final check-up approximately two weeks after the egg retrieval in order to receive final payment.
• You will receive a referral fee for each new donor you send to the ART Fertility Program. The woman you refer must meet all qualifications to become an egg donor, pass all screening tests and complete at least one full donation cycle. Your name must be entered on the referred donor’s application form in order for you to receive the $250 referral fee. You will receive your referral fee upon completion of the referred donor’s donation cycle.
• You will receive annual physicals and Pap smears while you are a donor at no cost to you.
Step 1: Complete and return the application and health history. Ask your primary physician or OB/GYN to send a copy of your medical records to the ART Fertility Program for review. The application package will be mailed to you upon request. You may call the ART Fertility Program to request the application package or submit the prescreening questionnaire included in this website.
Step 2: Schedule a personal interview. Upon receipt of your application you will be contacted by one of the ART nurses to discuss your application. If approved, she will schedule a personal interview for you.
Step 3: "Day 3" blood and ultrasound evaluation. After your interview, you will have your blood drawn and have a pelvic ultrasound on the third day of your menstrual period. (You must be off all chemical contraceptives [i.e., birth control pills, injections, etc.] for one month prior to these tests).
Step 4: Psychological assessment. If your initial screening tests are normal you will be asked to schedule testing and consultation with a licensed psychological counselor. This appointment will be at the counselor's office located in Birmingham.
Step 5: Physical examination, consultation with the ART physician and medication instruction. Upon notification by the counselor that your assessment is normal you will schedule an appointment with the ART physician. At this visit you will have a complete physical including Pap smear, cervical cultures and blood work with one of the ART nurse practitioners. You will also meet with the ART physician to thoroughly discuss the risks and the benefits to you as an egg donor and you will meet with a nurse to learn about your medications. You will also sign an informed consent at this visit. If you are married or have a significant other, your husband or partner is encouraged to attend this visit. The spouse of a married egg donor is required to sign the informed consent and have blood tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, HTLV and syphilis.
Step 6: Selection of a donor by the recipient. After all screening tests are complete, the donor is given a code number and her non-identifying information is included in the donor selection pool. Her identity is never released to the recipient. Recipients select their own donors from this pool. It may take one to two months or possibly longer for a donor to be selected. When the donor is chosen by the recipient, the donor will then meet with the ART nurse to plan the cycle. This may be done by phone; however, the donor will need to pick up her medications from the ART facility. Appointments are scheduled as far in advance as possible. However, it must be noted that the exact day of egg retrieval is not predicable until 36 hours prior to the retrieval.
After the donor is screened and has been selected by a recipient, the donation cycle can begin. The entire donation process takes approximately 8-10 visits over an eight-week period.
Step 1: The recipient’s menstrual cycle must be synchronized with the donor’s cycle. This is accomplished with the use of birth control pills and Lupron injections.
Step 2: The recipient takes estrogen pills to build her endometrium. At the same time, the donor takes fertility injections to enhance the egg development process on her ovaries.
Step 3: The donor and the recipient have blood tests and pelvic ultrasounds to monitor their respective progress. The recipient begins Progesterone to prepare the endometrium for implantation of the embryos.
Step 4: The mature eggs are collected from the donor through egg retrieval.
Step 5: The recipient husband provides a semen sample, which is prepared and put with the eggs in the laboratory.
Step 6: The early embryos are monitored and cultured in the laboratory for several days.
Step 7: One to two embryos are placed into the recipient’s uterus. Any remaining healthy embryos may be frozen (cryopreserved).
Step 8: Approximately two weeks later the egg recipient will have a pregnancy test. If it is positive, her estrogen and progesterone medications will continue until approximately 13 weeks of pregnancy.
Step 9: Approximately two weeks after her eggs have been taken, the egg donor will start a menstrual period. She should return for a pelvic ultrasound and visit with the ART nurse.
Q: “I’ve had my tubes tied. Can I still be an egg donor?”
A: Yes. As long as you have two normal, healthy ovaries, you can be an egg donor. Your tubes are not necessary.
Q: “How can I expect to feel when I take the medicines?”
A: The medicines you will take to induce egg production are injections. Most women tolerate these “shots” very well, but some women experience headaches, mood swings, bloating or cramping or stinging at the injection site. Symptoms are usually mild. Egg donors are closely monitored to avoid serious problems.
Q: “How do you obtain my eggs?”
A: The egg retrieval is a vaginal procedure done in the office. The donor is sedated using IV (in the vein) medicines. There is no incision or stitches. The majority of all IVF patients, including egg donors, report minimal, if any, discomfort during the procedure.
Q: “Will I use up all my eggs if I donate them now?”
A: No, you will not use up all your eggs. Women are born with far more eggs than they can ever use in their lifetime.
Q: “Will donating eggs reduce the chance of me getting pregnant later in my life?”
A: There is no scientific evidence that donating eggs can decrease your chances of pregnancy.
Q: “Will I get paid for my egg?”
A: You are not paid for your eggs, but you are reimbursed for the time you invest in the process. If you complete the screening and are accepted as a donor you can expect to receive $4,000 for the cycle donation reimbursement. Payment is made at the completion of each donation cycle.
Q: “How much time does being an egg donor take?”
A: Usually up to five visits are needed to complete the screening process. After you are accepted as a donor and matched with a recipient, approximately eight to ten visits over an eight-week period are needed to complete one full donation cycle.
For more information about donating or receiving eggs or other infertility or in vitro fertilization questions, contact the ART Fertility Program of Alabama at 205-870-9784 or 1-800-476-9784.
“The experience of being an egg donor has been one that has touched my life in a lot of ways. I am a married mother of two wonderful children and I work in an upper management position for a national company. Everyone has their own reasons for doing this. Mine – knowing what it is like to give birth to a child that I had carried and loved for nine months before I even laid eyes on them.
The whole staff at the ART Program is some of the greatest people I have ever met. They share their lives with you. You aren’t just a number or an anonymous name. These people will always hold a special place in my heart. They made the whole process very easy and explained everything to me in great detail. If I ever had a question, they were always there (even on a Sunday morning). I had one procedure done on a Tuesday and was back to work on Wednesday. I have donated several times and plan to keep on until they tell me I cannot do it anymore.”
“Dear future parents:
I have chosen to be an egg donor for the ART Program after experiencing parenthood myself. After the birth of my son four years ago, I have learned exactly what the word “love” truly means. A child is so special. Because my little boy brings such happiness to my life, I felt drawn to help others who were trying to have a child.
I have several friends who could not have children and have felt the emotional pain each of these women were experiencing. I found egg donation to be a simple and gratifying task. Although the “donor” and “recipient” never meet, I know I have been able to share my wealth with the greatest of families.”