What is an Egg Donor Banking Cycle?
Unsure about how the process works when working with a donor egg bank? You’ve come to the right place to find the answer. Below, we summarize the steps in a donor banking cycle.
I. Undergo Screening
Every donor must be screened through our thorough application process. Explore our website to learn about Fairfax EggBank’s egg donation program, FAQs, and eligibility requirements. We ask donors to commit to a minimum of 5 months to the program to allow us to schedule the first and second cycles. Once you feel confident you’re ready to become an egg donor, fill out our online application. In this application, you’ll answer questions about your health and background, family medical history, and personal interests/achievements. Our head geneticist and donor egg team will carefully review your application and determine if you meet our preliminary requirements.
2. Learn and Interview
Once you pass the first application stages, we’ll invite you to participate in our online information session. The purpose of the session is to give you a deeper dive into how egg donation works, what the risks and benefits are, and how the compensation process works. In addition, we’ll invite you to an interview with your Fairfax EggBank donor egg coordinator. In this interview, your donor egg coordinator will answer any questions you have about our program and ask you a series of questions to better understand your readiness to become a donor.
3. Complete Testing
Next comes the medical testing. This testing includes:
- Drug testing – We require donors to be drug-free throughout the egg donor process and will administer a urine drug test. Being drug-free means you shouldn’t be a current nicotine user, or have used for at least 6 months prior to being a donor. Marijuana use will need to stop during the donor process. Of course, you also shouldn’t be using harder drugs such as narcotics.
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) testing – This blood test assesses your ovarian reserve, or egg supply.
*NOTE: You’ll complete the drug and AMH tests first. If you clear both tests, you’ll receive a $50 bonus!
- Physical Exam – Our clinicians will give you a head-to-toe exam including a breast and pelvic exam.
- Genetic and infectious disease testing – This simple bloodwork will let us know if you have any active or hidden diseases that were either passed on genetically or from another person.
- Day 3 Testing – This additional fertility testing consists of an ultrasound and bloodwork, and shows if you’re ovulating and how your ovarian reserve looks.
- Psychological Evaluation – A mental health professional will interview and counsel you. Her goal is to evaluate your mental and emotional readiness to become an egg donor. You’ll also complete an MMPI or equivalent psychological test to evaluate your personal, social, and behavioral traits.
Just by completing all the testing requirements, you’ll receive a $150 bonus. If all the testing shows you’re healthy and ready, we’ll accept you into our egg donation program. When you join our program, we’ll reward you another $300 prior to even starting an egg donation cycle.
II. Complete You Donor Profile
Your donor profile will include select childhood photos you submit. We’ll also schedule a photo shoot with a professional photographer so that we can include recent photos that highlight your best and natural features.
As an FYI, your donor profile will include the following information:
- Alias donor number
- Medical history
- Personal section including your short essay answers, self-described personality and physical traits, academic and professional achievements, etc.
- Childhood photos
- Adulthood photos (released only if the recipient signs a form promising they won’t share your photos publicly or try to search for you on the internet)
- Recorded audio interview, where our donor egg coordinator will ask you some basic questions about your interests, aspirations, and goals
III. Complete the Egg Donation Cycle
What’s so amazing about donating at a donor egg bank is that you don’t need to wait until a recipient selects you in order to begin an egg donation cycle. You can start your cycle immediately after you pass our testing requirements.
1. Start Birth Control Pills
On day 3 of your cycle, you’ll take birth control pills. The pills will regulate your menstrual cycle and also may help your ovaries respond better to the stimulation medication.
2. Go to a Baseline Appointment
At this appointment, you’ll get an ultrasound so we can check your ovaries. In addition, you’ll get a blood test measuring your estradiol levels.
3. Start Hormone Medication Injections
If we see you’re good to go at the baseline appointment, you’ll start the injections to begin stimulation. You’ll administer medication injections to stimulate multiple eggs to grow and mature. You’ll also take an antagonist injection, which will prevent ovulation from occurring prematurely. We’ll monitor you closely during this period to make sure everything is going smoothly and the stimulation is going well.
4. Get Your Trigger Shot
You’ll get a human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) shot to stimulate ovulation. It’ll be critical for you to take this shot at the precise time we advise. If you take it too early, you run the risk of few to no eggs maturing. If you take it too late, the eggs might become too mature and become inviable for fertilization.
5. Undergo Egg Retrieval
You’ve worked hard to get to this point. You’re finally ready for your egg retrieval procedure. A reproductive endocrinologist will retrieve your eggs through an outpatient procedure that takes place with the use of anesthesia (as in, you won’t feel or see a thing since you’ll be under twilight sedation). He/she will extract eggs from your follicles via vaginal needle aspiration.
This is the only day where you’ll have to take the full day off; though the outpatient procedure itself is short (about 20 minutes). After the procedure, you might feel some cramping, spotting, and bloating. If you’re like most donors, you’ll recover quickly and return to your normal schedule the very next day.
Immediately after you complete a cycle, we’ll send you a check for the donor compensation.
Return for Another Cycle
Most of our donors return for several cycles if deemed eligible. As a returning donor, you wouldn’t need to repeat the testing – you can immediately start another egg donation cycle. Subsequent cycles, therefore, require less hassle, are easier to complete, and comes with it the extra reward of financial compensation.
We hope we were able to outline the donor banking cycle step-by-step. We encourage you to read our FAQ page for additional information regarding our process. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!