Patient Information

At RMAPA, we are dedicated to finding solutions to all our patients' needs. For many, that means utilizing donated eggs to experience pregnancy, delivery and holding a child you carried. The decision to utilize donated eggs is not a simple one. There are always questions and concerns; we're here to help you determine if this is the best option for your needs.
 

Typical Cycle

Egg Production
The IVF cycle is performed on your donor using one or more fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs produced. Multiple follicles (the part of the ovary that contains the eggs) are needed to increase the number of eggs retrieved, thereby increasing the number of embryos developed and hence the chances for conception.

The process begins with the synchronization of both donor and recipient's menstrual cycles and may require using birth control pills and the medication Lupron. Your donor will also be taking daily injections of Follistim, or Gonal-f which you will provide, to encourage this multi-follicular development. Follicular maturation is evaluated by daily blood levels and ultrasounds. At a time determined by the physician, an injection of human Chorionic Gonadatropin (hCG) is given to bring the eggs to final maturity. Approximately 36 hours after this injection, your donor will undergo the egg retrieval that is done in our surgery center on an outpatient basis.

Preparing Your Uterus For Implantation
You will be hormonally synchronized to your donor using Estrogen and Progesterone on a schedule comparable to your Prep Cycle. Your endometrial receptivity will be evaluated similarly using blood tests and ultrasounds. In addition, the angle and depth of your cervix and uterus will be determined using a catheter identical to the one that will be used for the actual embryo transfer.

Egg Retrieval
Aspiration of follicles for eggs is performed through an ultrasound guided approach under IV sedation. The retrieval consists of aspirating the ovarian follicles and identifying the eggs in the follicular fluid under a microscope. The eggs are then held in an incubator until the time of insemination in the laboratory. On this day, your partner will be expected to produce a sperm sample that will be used to inseminate the eggs, or you will need to have donor sperm frozen in our lab.

Embryo Transfer
The embryo transfer may be done 3-5 days after the retrieval. The physician performing the transfer will discuss with you the status of your embryos and the number to be replaced. The number of embryos transferred varies according to their quantity and quality. You may be offered the opportunity to cryopreserve any remaining embryos that continue to develop normally, for possible transfer in future cycles.

You will come to the office for the transfer and the procedure will be done in the surgery center under sterile conditions, in a reclining position with legs up, as if having a pap smear. The transfer is easy and virtually pain free in most cases. Following the transfer you will lie flat for a half hour and afterwards may return home to relax for the remainder of the day.

Testing for Pregnancy
Approximately 1 week after the retrieval date you will come back to the office to check your progesterone level and one week after that for a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant we will follow your progress for an additional 4-5 weeks before discharging you to your own obstetrician.

There are many questions our patients ask as they explore the option of egg donation. The following questions are the some of the most common that we receive:
 

Overview & FAQ

  • How much does a donor egg cycle cost?
    IVF using donated eggs can be quite expensive. First, the recipient of the eggs must pay for the blood tests, medications and ultrasounds for both parties. Then the donor receives $8,000 compensation for donating. Depending on the recipient's insurance, some of these fees may not be covered. If insurance does not cover any of these expenses, one cycle of IVF with donor egg can cost over $20,000.
  • What kind of person becomes an egg donor?
    Many different types of women choose to become donors. Often, the donor is a young mother or a full-time student who finds donation a way to supplement her income and satisfy her unselfish desires at the same time. All donors undergo thorough screening before being accepted into the program. For more information on donor screening click here.
  • What about ovum/egg donor brokers? What are they and why would I want to use one?
    Here at RMA, we carefully recruit and screen young women who meet our stringent criteria. Some recipients may prefer to use an outside agency to select a donor. This is certainly an option and we will work with outside agencies. These agencies may have carefully screened their applicants, or they may not have done screening at all. In these cases, we will review the donor's records and if necessary, we may request that the donor undergo additional testing.
  • Can I use my friend/sister/niece/etc to be my egg donor?
    Yes, provided that she undergoes the same screening tests (HIV, hepatitis, psychological screening, etc) that any other donor would undergo.
  • I don't have a uterus. Can I have another woman carry my baby?
    Yes, she would be called a "gestational carrier." In many cases like this, the patient may have a friend or relative who is willing to carry the pregnancy. Both women would need to undergo screening and evaluation, and then their hormonal cycles would need to be synchronized much like a donor egg cycle. We have extensive experience with these specialized cases and evaluate each case individually.
  • Who is a candidate for IVF using donated eggs?
    Candiates for egg donation include women with one or more of the following conditions: premature ovarian failure, malfunction of the reproductive organs, chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, removal of the ovaries, or radiation to the ovaries. Finally, IVF patients who have had a poor response to stimulation or poor quality eggs, may also be candidates.
  • How does the process work?
    Your initial consultation will include a meeting with one of the physicians to review your medical history and may include a physical exam, blood testing, ultrasound, and urine cultures. On that day, or a later date you will also be scheduled to meet with a nurse coordinator to review the program in detail, discuss the required testing (link below to recipient screening tests) for you and your partner and to schedule your consultation with our psychologist. Your visit will conclude with a financial consultation to review the cycle costs, insurance reimbursement and payment schedules. Allow approximately 3 hours for this initial visit.
  • What are the Recipient Screening Tests?
    Standard testing per the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines include screening for sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV, antisperm antibodies, and hormonal evaluations, among others. The uterine cavity will be evaluated using several methods to ensure its receptivity at the time of embryo transfer. One such method is a preparatory cycle (prep cycle) that hormonally mimics a natural menstrual cycle. Since pregnancy puts added stress on a woman's body, if you are 44 or older, you will need to obtain medical clearance before starting in our program and may need to do some additional testing.
  • How do I select my donor?
    Donors can be either known (family member/friend) or anonymous. Anonymous donors are available to you once you have consulted with the medical director and expressed your desire to be part of the Donor Egg Program. There will be a waiting period, which will vary according to your place on our waiting list and your donor requirements. Donors are offered to recipients who have completed their screening tests or are near completion. If you are offered a donor with whom you do not feel appropriately matched, you may refuse that donor and wait for the next available one without compromising your position on the waiting list. The donor you rejected will be offered to the next couple on our list. Any special requests you may have for a donor should be noted on your history form and should be brought to the attention of the nurse coordinator.
  • What are RMA's egg donor criteria?
    Donors must undergo extensive physical and psychological testing before they are accepted into our program. Anonymous donors must be 21-32 years of age. It is important to note that known donors, regardless of their age, must have sufficient ovarian function to respond adequately to stimulation. A woman may donate a maximum of 6 times. If you choose to use an anonymous donor you will be given a self-reported complete medical history of the donor and her family as well as a thorough description of her physical characteristics.

Recipient Testimonials

 

"Thanks so much for all of your patience and understanding."

"We will always remember what you did for us with regards to our donor. We feel we had the best donor that we could have possibly had."

"My husband and I would like to thank you very much for all your insight and for your support... the camaraderie and care that you showed our donor was way beyond anything we might have hoped for."

"We were at several clinics/doctors prior to coming to you, and I can't tell you how they all pale in comparison to your facility, everyone demonstrated the utmost professionalism. We never had a question go unanswered and always felt the lines of communication were open. The enthusiasm, sensitivity, and compassion displayed by the staff was unparalleled to anything we had ever experienced."

"What started as an incredibly bleak and depressing situation evolved into one of the better experiences of our lives~and we have you all to thank for it!"

"Thank you a million times for upholding such a high standard of professionalism with such sincere sensitivity and compassion."

"Thank you so much for being there when we needed you. I realize it's not always possible to make contacts without answering machines, but somehow you managed to get through."

"It is a very stressful time in our lives, but it has been reassuring having you to handle the obstacles."

"You're not only great nurses - you've become great friends."

"Thank you again for all your efforts and care. Your sincerity and 'always on the job' character are comforting and cherished."

"Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and put me at ease."

"Thank you for your patience in dealing with myself and my donor. We really appreciate your kindness and all your understanding. You have made a difficult time that much easier for all of us. We'll never forget you."

"Once again, we want to let you know how much we appreciate your caring nature and all of your efforts on our behalf."

"I don't know if I could have done this if you were not around to help me, talk to me, be there supporting me, and giving me constant reassurance."

"It has been a very trying, emotional 3 years. I guess nature takes its time and when it's meant to be, it happens. It was just so good knowing that people like you were around."

"I am not sure how you always had or made the time, to be patient in listening to me... but you were always there, especially during the rough times."

"I just wanted to write you a note and say 'Thanks' for all you did to help us out over the past several months. You helped to make it all a little easier."

"Thank you for all the times you spent on the phone with me and answering all my questions with patience, concern and compassion. You really helped to make this very stressful time a much more pleasant one."

"You believed in me when I didn't. Thank you for your encouragement."

Dear Dr. Scott, Dr. Drews and Dr. Bergh:

I wanted to thank you so very much for all that you have done for me and my husband. I'm not even sure if the words thank you convey the depth of emotional gratitude that we feel. Your generosity has been remarkable. Your knowledge, skill and determination are astonishing and the nurses and office staff are amazing!

I believe in fate and our paths having crossed in the past for this exact point in my life. Apparently God had other plans for me although these past 20 months certainly have been a hard pill to swallow. But now I understand God's plan, it was meant for me to have these two babies and I guess on my own they might not have happened.

But these two precious beings are the chosen angels being sent down to me straight from heaven. And I feel it is all thanks to you. I am so blown away by the emotional impact of this actually happening that sometimes I shake my head and smile in complete wonder I am going to be a mother. I AM GOING TO BE A MOTHER! With tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart , I thank you.