Egg donation is the process through which a woman who is fertile gives an egg aka an oocyte to help another woman conceive. In brief, the process entails medical professionals removing an egg from one woman (the donor), fertilizing the egg with a sperm in a lab, and then putting the fertilized egg (embryo) in another woman’s uterus.
Egg donor eligibility
Fertility clinics normally follow guidelines provided by health authorities to evaluate the eligibility of egg donors. The guidelines generally recommend different types of screening including physical examination, drug tests, blood tests, ultrasound, medical history evaluation, psychological screening, infectious disease screening, and inherited disease screening. If you pass these screening tests then you will be allowed to donate.
The egg donation process
After being approved for egg donation, you should expect to be given medication that will halt your menstrual cycle. This medication can cause side effects such as fatigue, hot flashes, and body aches. However, these side effects usually disappear quickly. You should also expect to be given medication to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs at a go. This medication can also cause side effects e.g. mood swings. Please note that despite your menstrual flow halting, you can still fall pregnant during this period so it is best to stop having sex or to use protection.
Throughout the course of the donation, expect frequent tests and examinations. These are meant to monitor how well you are responding to the medication you have been given. The extraction process usually begins with an injection. The injection is meant to prep you for the procedure. The procedure itself involves the insertion of a special probe into the vagina. This probe will be used to detach an egg from the follicle and to remove it from the uterus. The procedure usually lasts less than half an hour and the doctor doing it could give you an anesthetic, a sedative, and/ or painkillers. It is a short procedure that does not require an overnight hospital stay.
After donation, you may be strong enough to resume your day to day activities the next day or you may need a few days of rest. Some women also need to see a counselor because the procedure can have a psychological effect.
The donation procedure or process is a minor one and the risks are therefore minor. However, if it is done in a professional clinic, it is very unlikely that anything could go wrong.