The Fairfax EggBank Egg Donor Screening Process – Step by Step

 

If you’re thinking about using frozen donor eggs to conceive, you need to feel secure in your choice. What is the screening process for our egg donors? How can you know you’re receiving the best quality donor eggs as you begin your journey of becoming a parent?  The answer lies in Fairfax EggBank’s rigorous screening process. We know how much is at stake for you and your family. Let’s break down the steps involved in our screening process for a prospective egg donor, from beginning to end.

 

The Journey Begins:  Multiple Locations, One Process

The donor’s journey begins at one of our clinic locations around the country, ensuring a varied range of donors. We recruit at multiple locations, but it’s important to understand that our processes are entirely centralized. Fairfax EggBank manages all recruiting and screening to ensure that every egg donor goes through the same standard of screening and testing procedures, no matter where she starts. This ensures the highest standard of accuracy, control, and quality when it comes to your precious donor eggs.

 

Complete Evaluation of Medical History and Genetics

Our team of reproductive endocrinologists, geneticists, nurses, genetic counselors and donor coordinators studies the donor’s individual and family health histories. We look very closely all aspects of her own medical history: medications, surgeries, or hospitalizations, including any previous pregnancies.

We also study her detailed three-generation family medical history. All of our screening is in accordance with stringent FDA requirements.

 

Medical Testing and Screening

After this evaluation, our donor goes through pre-testing and review by a medical director. Here we perform infectious disease screening, along with detailed genetic carrier screening for a long list of disorders. What does this involve for the donor?

  • Physical exam
  • Blood test
  • Urine drug screen
  • AMH level (evaluates a hormone affecting egg supply)
  • Cycle day 3 FSH and AFC ultrasound (evaluates hormones that stimulate egg follicles in the ovaries and their maturation and release)
  • Recent pap smear report

 

Psychological Screening and Counseling

At this stage, we conduct a psychological exam in order to assess our prospective donor’s mental health fitness, her commitment to the program, and whether or not she’s an appropriate candidate. We care about our egg donors—they’re very special people! We counsel each applicant at length on the egg donation process and how it affects her. Our donor learns about:

  • The time commitment and logistical concerns.
  • Medication and how to perform injections.
  • Physical symptoms and side effects.
  • Medical risks involved in the procedure.

 

Acceptance! The Donation Process Begins

After that intense screening process, you won’t be surprised to learn that less than .5% of our applicants are accepted into the donor program. This ensures our patients receive the highest quality donor eggs from the most committed, motivated egg donors. The egg donation process happens at one of our regional clinics. Then, thanks to our efficient, centralized process, the frozen donor eggs are shipped to our headquarters in Fairfax, VA…ready to be shipped to a recipient when she selects them.

 

Donating Again

Donors can choose to donate eggs more than once after a successful cycle. We carefully evaluate our donors to make sure they’re ready to go through the process again—their well-being is a top concern.

 

It’s a long journey for a potential egg donor…but that journey is worth it to help those struggling to have families. Our egg donors and their donated eggs have gone through tough screening requirements to ensure our recipient’s success. Want more details about our screening process? Please read our comprehensive list of screening requirements. Or please contact us to learn more about donor screening and testing.


Trisha’s Journey Part VI: What We’ll Tell Others About Our Donor Egg Journey

[Download Trisha’s entire blog series in PDF form here]

The following is the final blog of Trisha H’s journey to motherhood. It is with bittersweet sadness that we conclude this series, though we are excited for the many new chapters Trisha and her family will create. Trisha, thank you so much for your invaluable contributions to sharing your voice and for the help you have provided to others going through the same journey.

Our Future – What Stories Will We Share with Friends/Family and our Child(ren)

What will we tell people about our donor egg journey?

This is a topic my husband and I discussed early on in our process.  I should probably start by letting you know that you readers know more about our journey than almost everyone in our personal lives. Apart from our mothers, my sister, and two close but not best friends, “strangers” are the only people who know our entire story.  Not that we are ashamed of our donor egg family, but because we know some people may not protect this decision with the tenderness it deserves.  It would shatter my heart if someone, especially someone we trust, ever used our family as a topic of mockery or gossip. As such, there are some parts of our story we elect to keep private to a certain degree.

Here is how we see it….

What is important is our child was made out of pure LOVE. He is our baby, who grew in my belly for 9 long months. We have an indescribable bond that is only shared between the two of us.  It is magical!  I still think about the day he was pulled (via c-section) from my belly.  The moment I heard him cry, I let out my own cry that came from a place so deep within my soul… a place I have never felt before.  I can still remember the instant and greatest love, joy, and relief that came over me… we finally got to meet our sweet baby boy, who looks exactly like his father, may I add. I am telling you, he is the number one reason I was born.

So, back to what we will tell people.  As far as family and friends are concerned, those who already know, are the only people, who are not “strangers,” we plan to tell (well, almost – keep reading about “others”).  What they know – because there is nothing more to share – is all they will know.  We trust in each of them to keep our family secret sacred.  For “others” in our lives, they will know our story about the challenges we faced when trying to conceive, and how we met our eventual success through IVF (just not the donor egg part).   With “strangers” and “others” in our lives who struggle with fertility (we will only tell other people we know in our lives – family, friends, or acquaintances – if they struggle with trying to conceive themselves), they will know our ENTIRE story.  We find it an honor to help other families make their own decision about their options to have a child, even if it means “others” in our lives knowing about our decision to use donor eggs… I believe helping families make the decision about their family is reason number two for why I was born.

Now, will we tell our son?  We still have not decided.  If we do, it will not be before he is 18 years old.  Some of the questions we ponder are – Why does he need to know?  How will it make him feel?  Will he see me differently?  Will he understand?  Will it hurt him?  Can we deal with the rejection, if it means being honest, should he decide to respond this way?  There are so many questions for which we do not have the answers right now.  And, any of what we will share will depend on his personality. Will he grow up to be an open-minded individual?  If so, and we decide to talk to him about how he was conceived, will we share our story about IVF only or the full truth regarding donor eggs?  Again, we do not have the answers at this time and do not believe it to be important right now, either.

In the end, whatever we decide to share, our son will always know he was made with lots of love sprinkled with a little bit of sugar and spice.  He will know it takes mommy parts and daddy parts to make a baby and, sometimes, when these parts are not working very well, doctors help mommies and daddies make babies like him.

 

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Let’s Chat!

I like to talk a lot – not only vocally but with my fingers.  Send me your thoughts and questions to success@fairfaxeggbank.com.  I promise to respond as promptly as possible.  Below is a list of planned blog topics, but if you have additional topics to suggest, as they relate to trying to conceive through donor options, please let me know.

Series:

The decision journey Part I: The beginning of my fertility journey and the decision to use donor eggs

The decision journey Part II: Deliberating fresh v. frozen eggs

The decision journey Part III: Finding the right donor

How the process worked once I found my donor, and the cradle-to-grave (or “big fat positive” [BFP]) process

Resources I used throughout the decision process

Trisha’s Husband’s Journey: Reflections and Advice to Other Partners

Our future – What stories will we share with friends/family and our child(ren) – Current Blog