Growing Your Family: The Hurry Up and Wait Game

September 20th, 2013
Mom and Baby Donor Egg

“It seems like it takes forever to make the decision to use donor egg and when you finally do, the process can’t move fast enough."

I hear this a lot. Once you have set your heart and mind to do something, anything less than immediate action can seem unbearable. The nicest part about the frozen donor egg bank process is that when you’re ready, half of the “process” is already complete. That half is the egg donor’s stimulation, also called ovarian stimulation or “stim” for short.

The egg donor’s stimulation cycle generally takes 9-11 days. During this time she is taking injectable medications to stimulate her ovaries to provide as many eggs as possible to be removed during the egg retrieval. Through frequent blood tests and ultrasounds, the clinical physician monitors the development of the egg donor’s eggs and hormone levels.

Eggs develop by stimulating follicles, fluid-filled sacs containing immature eggs, in the ovaries. When a woman takes ovarian stimulation medication, the follicles ripen and create mature eggs.

Once your egg donor’s egg follicles and hormone values have reached optimal levels, she will undergo an egg retrieval during which mature eggs are removed. Using a hollow, ultrasound-guided needle, the eggs are gently retrieved from the fluid-filled (follicular) sacs on the ovaries. This process of egg retrieval is also called follicular aspiration. The egg donor receives light IV sedation during this procedure and should experience little or no discomfort.

After the egg retrieval, the eggs are reviewed by an embryologist and the immature eggs are discarded. Only mature eggs are frozen. These eggs are frozen into small carriers commonly referred to as “straws” which holdone or two eggs each, using a technique called vitrification.

After you have selected an egg donor from the Donor Egg Bank USA database and paid in full, the frozen donor eggs will be sent to your fertility center. Your treatment cycle nurse will then provide you a schedule to start the cycle and review the medication your physician has determined is optimal for you. On average, a frozen donor egg bank cycle generally takes four to five weeks to complete, based upon the availability of the embryology lab.

A frozen donor egg bank cycle can happen quickly, giving you peace of mind that you are at last on the road to building your family.

A frozen donor egg cycle is a fast and effective alternative to the traditional plan. The traditional egg donor process involves waiting for your donor to complete all required screening, synchronizing the egg donor and recipient’s (that’s you!) menstrual cycles (on average 6-8 weeks), and waiting for the donor to stimulate (9-11 days), before you know how many mature eggs you have for treatment. For many couples, the speed and certainty of a frozen donor egg bank cycle is a welcome relief.

While folks are quick to ask how soon a cycle can start, they are always relieved at how quickly the process moves and how much they can control the timing. Before the option of frozen donor eggs, after couples found “the one” donor, they would also find their cycle falling right in the midst of a long-awaited vacation, long-dreaded work conference, or big family holiday. It is also not uncommon for egg donors to fall through because they start school, get married or join the Peace Corps. By using a frozen donor egg bank program, the eggs are already in place, eliminating these concerns.

Advances in modern medicine allow patients to pursue a family at their convenience and schedule, without the uncertainty and time delays of previous methods. Most importantly, pregnancy success rates with frozen eggs versus traditional methods are virtually the same. Couples can speed up with process and be confident in the success of their choice.

About The Author

Alethia Woodley

Alethia Woodley has spent more than 15 years helping others to build their families. Before coming to Donor Egg Bank USA, she served as a Recipient Liaison with Shady Grove Fertility's internationally renowned donor egg program. In addition to helping patients at Shady Grove, Alethia became a fertility patient herself. A little more than a year later, she and her husband were blessed with a little girl. Alethia is a member and chair publicity for her local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.

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