In vitro fertilization, also called assisted reproduction, helps couples conceive when they are having difficulty conceiving naturally. The procedure involves fertilizing an egg and then implanting the embryo into the mother. The sperm or the egg from the contributing parents can be used, or the couple may need the assistance of sperm and/or egg donors. Egg donors can opt to remain anonymous if they wish, but are sometimes friends or family members of the couple. Most states do not have specific regulations regarding egg donation, but each clinic or donation bank has requirements of donors.
Research in vitro fertilization clinics near you. Some clinics collect and store the eggs, while other clinics only use egg donation banks. Each clinic or donation bank describes their requirements and procedures before you apply to give you a firm idea of whether you want to complete the procedure with their office. Most clinics and egg donation banks offer compensation to egg donors. The amount of payment varies from one clinic to another.
Fill out the prequalification paperwork. Most clinics will ask a variety of questions about your current and past health. Many in vitro fertilization clinics and donation banks may ask other questions that may seem unimportant to you, but are pieces of information the prospective parents may want to know.
Most programs require you to be a non-smoker and to be drug, alcohol and disease free. Clinics generally require that you are at least 21 and younger than 35, although the upper age limit can vary on a case-by-case basis. Some programs may ask you for a picture of yourself at or younger than a certain age so they can show the image to prospective parents.
Attend all follow-up appointments before and after your application is accepted. Before acceptance, the clinic or donation bank may require psychological or medical evaluations. After acceptance, doctors will perform blood tests to determine current hormone levels and prescribe the correct medications to stimulate egg growth.
Take all of the medications and hormones that are prescribed at your follow-up appointments. Some may be difficult, such as self-injected hormone shots, but you must take the medications in order to prepare for the egg harvesting. Generally you will have to take the medications for three to five weeks; then your doctor will schedule the egg-harvesting procedure. The process can take from one to several hours, and you may be sore afterward. Once your eggs have been harvested, the clinic or donation bank will issue whatever payment you agreed to when you began the egg donation process.
- Egg donation is a complex process that can take several months from start to finish. Make sure you have the time to commit to the process.
- Egg donation can be very emotional for the donor, both due to the additional medications and hormones and because many women may feel emotionally attached to the idea of a future child. Your doctors are there for you before and after the donation process, so ask for assistance if you need it.