In our previous blog post about the show The Sex Lives of College Girls, we covered how the media sometimes doesn't portray egg donation realistically. One of the biggest things people don't know about egg donation is how long it takes to go through it. One cycle typically takes 4-6 months to complete. Here is a realistic timeline for egg donation and what happens during those 4-6 months:
Congrats - you've been matched!
However, you cannot jump right into getting your medication. The first 8 -12 weeks of your cycle consist of a variety of medical screenings that you must pass to get medical clearance. A psychological evaluation and a family risk assessment are both typically done over Zoom; these appointments ensure that you are psychologically ready for the process and that your family background aligns well with the IP's. A genetic carrier screening is done, usually via a saliva kit that is sent to your home (and that you mail back); this is to make sure you are not a genetic carrier for the same disease as the intended father.
You then have an in-person initial doctor's office visit where they do bloodwork. The bloodwork will check your white and red blood cell levels, thyroid levels, and give you an updated AMH level. At this visit, you will also get a full drug panel and a full infectious disease panel to screen for things like STI’s, hepatitis, and AIDS. Finally, you will get anvaginal ultrasound that will scan your ovaries to make sure there are no abnormal cysts and to get your antral follicle count.
From medical to legal...
After you have medical clearance, the next 3-4 weeks are spent on the negotiation of the Direct Agreement between the donor and the IP’s, each side using their own attorneys to determine the specific contract that both parties will sign.
The medication process
After legal clearance is obtained, you will begin the medication process, which typically starts 4-6 weeks after legal clearance. You start medication based on your menstrual cycle, as well as your personal schedule and the clinic's schedule. The start date could also need to line up with the intended mother if it's a fresh cycle.
You will be on medication for 2 weeks. Before you start, you will go into your local clinic and do an initial suppression check, FDA bloodwork again, and another ultrasound to get your baseline hormone level. Your first week of medication (hormonal injections) are done at home. During this time, you will go to the local clinic for 2-3 more monitoring appointments.
Travel to retrieval location
On day 7-8 of medication, (unless your are doing a local donation), you will travel to the city for your retrieval procedure. You will be put up in hotel, arranged by us (the agency). You will spend 7-10 days in the clinic city. During this time, you will go into the clinic every other day to do an ultrasound and bloodwork; they will make sure the follicles are developing and that your estrogen & LH level increases (which is indicative of egg maturity).
Once your follicles have reached the desired size, you will given one last hormonal "trigger" shot to prepare your eggs for retrieval. You will go in for the retrieval procedure about 36 hours after the trigger shot. Your support person comes in the day before the retrieval. The day after, you both travel home.
You are paid $1000 when you start injections. You will receive remaining amount once we get confirmation that the retrieval occurred. If a match gets cancelled after your injections started but before the retrieval, you do not get the rest of the compensation. We reimburse for transportation/ride shares you need for the donation as well as medications (like birth control).
You are also paid a per diem for food and other expenses ($69/day) on travel days during the donation; the per diem is $100/day when in the retrieval city and $200/day when your support person arrives. Reimbursements are done after the retrieval when you are back home.
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