24 hours in a day. 7 days in a week. 52 weeks in a year.
Time is precious.
For most couples, they know exactly how much time it will take until they can hold a new baby in their arms: 9 months. For Intended parents looking into egg donation, there is no time limit. No end date to circle on the calendar. Just the hope that someday they’ll get a family.
And the waiting can be excruciating.
When a couple comes to us, they don’t want to wait any longer to start their family -- we get that. So we’re here to help you understand exactly how long you can expect a donor cycle to take. Because the more we can help you plan and prepare, the better.
What is a Donor Cycle?
Every woman has a natural cycle -- more commonly called her period. When a woman decides to donate eggs, her cycle plays a significant role in exactly when the egg donation time will be.
Here’s the breakdown of a donor cycle and how it affects intended parents.
Making the Match
Once a woman has been approved for egg donation, her profile will be uploaded into our donor database. This database is where intended parents can find the perfect donor. At Elevate, we pride ourselves in offering the best donors that meet all the requirements.
After a match has been made, there is some legal work that needs to be completed. This protects all parties involved. At this time, agreements are made regarding payment, schedules, and the personal relationship with the donor going forward.
After the legal details have been worked out, it’s time to get the donor ready to donate her eggs.
Egg Retrieval Process
Your IVF physician will decide when to put the donor on oral contraceptive pills. Yep, that pill. The regular pill that millions of women choose to take every day. This contraceptive will keep the hormones and ovaries in a non-ovulatory state.
After a few weeks on the pill, she’ll go in for a baseline checkup. This checkup will include bloodwork and an ultrasound. Just to be sure everything looks normal and healthy.
If everything looks good, the donor will start her injections two days after her period begins (and a few days after she stops birth control). These injections will stimulate many eggs to grow and mature in the ovaries. These injections last 10 days. During this time, the donor will be monitored closely. When the time is right, the donor will receive a trigger shot.
About 34-36 hours after the trigger shot, the egg retrieval will happen. This is a short 20 to 30-minute procedure where the eggs are harvested. It is a minimally invasive procedure, and the donor should be back on her feet after a day or two of rest.
And there you have it; that’s the breakdown of a donor cycle. After the legal arrangements have been made, you can plan on about 6 weeks until you have your eggs.
After the fresh donor eggs are retrieved, they are immediately fertilized with male sperm. At this point, you can either transfer the healthy embryos to the surrogate or freeze the embryos to use for future children.
Some intended parents are anxious to start their family and will have a surrogate mother lined up for an immediate transfer. If this is the way you’d like to go, be aware that it can be challenging to get the timing right between the egg donor’s cycle and making sure the surrogate mother is ready.
Many intended couples like to freeze the embryos. This allows them time to find a surrogate and get their affairs in order before the baby comes.
Time Well Spent
No matter what way you look at it, the time spent waiting for a donor cycle is time well spent. These are critical weeks that are used to make sure that your egg donor experience is as successful as possible. It is a delicate process that can’t be rushed,
If you’re interested in learning more about how to get your family clock ticking, come register with us. We’re here to help you.