The Egg Donation Cycle
Introduction to the Cycle
We perform a special role in the Egg Donation cycle, where we concentrate on making sure that our Donors are most suitable for a specific match. Our professional medical partners are the medical specialists and will provide medical advice unique to you. There is, however, some basic information that is important for you to understand your role in this special journey.
An Egg Donation Program typically lasts from six to eight weeks.
During the first two weeks, a fertility specialist will perform a medical examination (including a pelvic exam, ultrasound and blood tests) and a psychological assessment, at your Fertility Clinic. This pre-cycle screening will confirm that you are both mentally and physically ready to donate. The Clinic will be reasonably close to your home or workplace.
The Clinic will close a contract with you, as well as your Recipient, to protect your equal rights and in which you agree to the Donation, as long as the results of the screening are all OK.
Next, you are started on a low dose birth control pill, so that your menstrual cycle can be synchronized with the Recipient. This usually takes four to six weeks, marked by the first day of your next menstrual cycle.
Pre-donation: the last two weeks
During the last two weeks of the program, you take a two-week course of fertility medication, to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs on time. You’ll have to visit the Clinic regularly, now, so the doctor can keep a close eye on you make sure that you are managing, and that the medication is at the proper dose to help produce eggs.
Eggs grow at their own pace, and Clinics use slightly different methods, but these last two weeks typically work like this:
Your menstrual cycle starts. Let your IVF co-ordinator know and they’ll schedule your next appointment: usually 8 days later.
You start medication, a daily injection.
DAY 8 – DAY 12:
You’ll be on medication for about twelve days. The doctors will do ultrasounds three times this week to see how the egg follicles develop in your ovaries. They are also watching you carefully to make sure that Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) stays away. There’s no pain involved, don’t worry!
Almost there! Your doctor can now give you a date for the Retrieval and will ask you to take final medication, exactly thirty-six hours before the procedure. (This injection starts the last stage of maturation, to time the Egg Retrieval perfectly, and goes hand in hand with your commitment to the Retrieval Date.
No medication. None.
Egg Retrieval: the day is here! You’ll have to take a day off, as it’s now or never! This day can’t be rescheduled, or the Donation WILL fail.
The retrieval is an in theatre procedure, scheduled for thirty-six hours after the final injection, usually in the morning (between 07h30 and noon). You are put under a mild anaesthetic while the doctor retrieves your eggs vaginally, using a suction needle.
Guided by an ultrasound scan, the doctor can position the needle precisely into each follicle for aspiration or “suction”. The eggs are released and collected and taken straight to the lab to be fertilised.
The process takes fifteen to thirty minutes; you’ll rest few a few hours at the Clinic and you may want to relax for the rest of the day. Take it easy for a few days, the same as with any medical procedure: your doctor will tell you exactly what he expects after the Retrieval. And you MUST have someone drive you home after the procedure. It’s the law.
You may feel a little bloated and uncomfortable, possibly with some mild cramping and even spotting after the procedure. You’ll have some pain medication just in case and you can resume light daily activities a few days later.
Avoid unprotected sex for seven days before the Egg Retrieval and for two weeks afterwards (until you get your next period and can commence your regular contraceptive).
You will be paid your Donor fee on the day of retrieval.
You will be paid on the day of the egg retrieval, after you have completed the program. The current rate is R7,000 as an allowance for your time and inconvenience. This amount is legislated by www.fertilitysa.org.za.
Recipients also cover your medical costs related to your donation process, so you will NOT pay for doctors, evaluations, blood tests or medication prescribed as part of your donation.
In-vitro Fertilisation and Embryo Transfer
We told you how your eggs are retrieved and then sent to the lab. Here, an Embryologist examines them and puts them in a special fluid that protects and prepares them for sperm, which is added after two or three hours (outside the body: in-vitro). Once fertilised, the embryo’s are observed by the Embryologist and are ready for transfer to your Recipient after three to five days growth.
Nature will then decide if the embryo transplants successfully and your Recipient falls pregnant.
Return to us for further selection, if you want
In South Africa, the medics suggest a maximum of six donations, or five pregnancies, whichever comes first. Clinics may differ slightly in this, but will be able to justify their policy to you.
Once you are matched, or chosen, we remove your profile from our website. After at least one normal cycle and period, you may choose to donate again – so you have at least three months break between donations, and the decision to continue is yours and yours alone.
It is not an automatic process; let us know and we’ll welcome you back.
Please go to the next tab above: “Compensation”
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