Receiving Donated Eggs

Once you have been matched with your egg donor, you can expect you treatment cycle to look something like this:

What happens to you and your egg donor

1. Suppression/Down Regulation (daily injection or nasal spray for 2 to 4 weeks or 10 to 14 days):

  • If you are having menstrual cycles then you will be given medication to suppress them so that you and your egg donor’s cycles are synchronised.
  • Your egg donor will suppress her ovaries with either a daily nasal spray or daily injection.
  • Depending on the medical protocol that your clinic has decided is best for your egg donor, the Suppression (or ‘Down Regulation’) stage could take between two and four weeks before the next stage (‘Stimulation’) begins.
  • Alternatively, the Suppression stage might take place at the same time as the Stimulation stage and take 10 to 14 days.
  • Regular blood tests and scans will take place to see if your egg donor’s body is responding to the medication appropriately.

2. Stimulation (daily injection for 10 to 14 days):

  • Your egg donor will stimulate her ovaries to make egg follicles with a daily injection of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) for between 10 and 14 days.
  • Your egg donor will have regular scans and blood tests to see how her body is responding to the medication, including how many egg follicles and their sizes.
  • While your egg donor is taking her medication to stimulate her ovaries, you will be given medication to thicken the lining of your uterus so that it’s in the best possible condition to receive embryos. You will also be scanned to see how it’s looking.

3. HCG Trigger Injection (one injection 36 hours before Egg Collection):

  • When the blood tests and scans indicate that your egg donor’s body has responded to the medication and that she has appropriately sized egg follicles, she will be asked to inject herself at a specific time with an ‘HCG trigger shot’ to induce ovulation.

4. Egg Collection (takes 15 to 20 minutes):

  • Your egg donor’s eggs will be collected about 36 hours after the ‘HCG trigger injection’.

5. Sperm Preparation

  • If your male partner is providing his sperm for treatment then he will be asked to produce a fresh sample at the time of egg collection. The embryologist will then prepare your partner’s sperm.
  • If you are using your partner’s frozen sperm or a sperm donor then the embryologist will remove the frozen sperm from clinic storage and thaw it.
  • The sperm is clinically washed and the faster moving sperm will be separated from the slower moving sperm.

6. Introduction of Sperm and Egg

  • Once your egg donor’s eggs have been retrieved the embryologist will prepare and mix them with either your partner’s sperm or the donor sperm in the laboratory. Depending on what the clinic has advised this will either be traditional IVF where the eggs and sperm are left to meet and fertilise in a petri dish, or ICSI where an embryologist will inject single healthy looking sperm into each of the mature eggs.

7. Fertilisation

  • Hopefully the eggs will fertilise to become embryos. They will then be regularly monitored by the embryologists and you will be kept up-to-date on their progress.

8. Embryo Transfer

  • Between two and five days after egg collection, depending on the number of embryos available and your age, one, two or three embryos will be transferred.
  • Like when you have a smear test, a speculum will be inserted into your vagina to keep the vaginal walls apart. A small flexible tube (catheter) containing the embryos will then be inserted through your cervix and into your uterus.
  • You will find out if you are pregnant about two weeks after the embryos have been transferred either through a home pregnancy urine test or a clinic blood test.