Two types of egg donation:
Voluntary anonymous donation
- Before you can donate your eggs, you need to complete a thorough medical screening process. This consists of a written questionnaire, an interview with the nurse and the physician, an evaluation by the physician and the psychologist, and several medical tests.
- The results will be discussed and you will get more information about the treatment and the planning.
- On the day of the egg retrieval, all the eggs will be frozen for the egg bank.
Voluntary known donation
- Both donor and recipient undergo a psychological screening. Your partner may also be involved. Your partner must, in any case, agree to the donation.
- This screening is followed by a consultation with the physician and several medical tests.
- As soon as the results are known, the physician and the nurse will give you and the recipient the necessary information about the treatment and the planning.
- After the egg retrieval, the fresh donor eggs will be fertilized with the (donor) sperm. The embryos will then preferably be frozen. The main advantage of this is that your cycle, as the donor, and that of the recipient do not have to be coordinated. This makes the process a lot easier for both parties.
The treatment in a nutshell
The treatment consists of various steps. Egg donation starts with several preliminary tests, followed by hormonal treatment to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. The whole process will take some time and may involve some discomfort and even some risks, but these are exceptional. Nonetheless, you should prepare yourself well to avoid being caught by any unpleasant surprises. What does a donation involve?
- You will undergo comprehensive blood tests to check your general health status, to make sure you are healthy, have no contagious infections and to screen for several genetic conditions.
- We will carry out a vaginal ultrasound and a blood test to check your hormone levels at the beginning of your menstrual cycle (between day 2 and day 5).
If the results of all these tests are normal, we can start with the actual donation procedure.
- From the beginning of your cycle, your ovaries will be stimulated to produce multiple eggs with daily hormone injections. After 5 days, we start with daily injections of a second hormone that suppresses natural ovulation. On average, stimulation takes between 10 and 15 days.
- In the meantime, you are closely monitored through blood tests and ultrasound scans to adjust the stimulation where necessary and to pinpoint the best time for egg retrieval.
- 36 hours before the scheduled egg retrieval, you will give yourself a final injection to stimulate your ovulation and mature the eggs.
- A fine, hollow needle is used to puncture the follicles that contain the egg, which is then aspirated. This is done via the vaginal wall and under ultrasound guidance.
- The egg retrieval is generally done under local anaesthetic combined with additional pain relief, which is administered via tablets or intravenously (via a drip).
- In exceptional cases, egg retrieval can be done under general anaesthesia, but this is only done for medical reasons and in consultation with both the physician and the coordinator.
Possible risks and side effects
A treatment for egg donation is a medical procedure. Therefore, there are potential risks and side effects, but these are, on the whole, limited.
- The main risk is that you, as the donor, may get pregnant yourself after the treatment, because at times, not all the follicles containing an egg can be punctured and emptied due to the position of the ovary or the surrounding blood vessels.
- Occasionally, there may also be some minor bleeding after a follicle is punctured and emptied. However, this can also happen following spontaneous ovulation and usually stops by itself rather quickly. If the blood flows into the abdominal cavity as a result of this though, a slight menstrual cramp may be felt.
- Very rarely, the egg retrieval can cause an infection.
- If the ovaries unexpectedly overreact to the hormonal treatment, with excessive egg production, fluid may accumulate in your ovaries and abdominal cavity after the egg retrieval, resulting in bloating and discomfort. Rest and painkillers will provide relief in such instance.
- Considering all the above, it is recommended not to have any sexual intercourse or baths, or to use tampons in the week following the egg retrieval.