Whether you have been an egg donor before or today is the first time you have considered it, working with Forward Fertility, you will find support, clear communication, and competitive compensation.
Meet Christie Olsen, the Nurse Practitioner who founded Forward Fertility and whose expertise and compassion will guide your experience as an egg donor from start to finish.
The Six Steps for Egg Donors shown below outlines the process. Forward Fertility works with IVF centers in the Upper Midwest, across the United States, and in Canada. In general, there is a demand for donors. You may be just the match someone is looking for!
SIX STEPS FOR EGG DONORS
If after reading about being an egg donor, you are interested in applying, complete the egg donor screening questions.
Once the screening application is received and reviewed, you will receive an email directing you to the next step: inviting you to complete the full application, asking you for additional information, or letting you know that your application was not accepted.
If you are invited to complete the full application, you will receive a link to a detailed application reviewing your health history, personal preferences, and social history.
Once the full application has been received and reviewed, you will receive an email directing you to the next step: setting up an interview, asking your for more information, or letting you know your application was not accepted.
If your application is accepted, you will receive an email with a records release that allows you to request your medical records be sent to Forward Fertility. You may need to request records from more than one medical provider.
Christie will call you to schedule an in-person meeting with you at a time and place that is convenient. No need to take off work or move your schedule around. The meeting will be a chance for Christie to explain the egg donation process and for you to ask questions. Most meetings take 60 to 90 minutes.
After the meeting and after reviewing your medical records, Christie will contact you to discuss any additional questions. At that time, you and Forward Fertility will decide if you want to be in the egg donor program.
Women who have been egg donors previously are available to talk with you before you match with a recipient couple, if you would like to connect with someone who has already had an experience with egg donation.
Once Forward Fertility has connected with you; it is time for Parents to Be to review your profile. Some egg donors are only in the program for a week and selected to match while other donors are in the program for months. Most donors do match at some point.
Factors considered by the Parents to Be include:
- Donor’s willingness to travel
- Donor compensation
- Donor’s interest in participating in an open/known donation
- Donor’s previous donation history
Once a Parent to Be selects a donor, Forward Fertility will contact you to see if you are available and interested in matching. Up until this point, you are not obligated to participate.
Once you agree to move forward with the match, Forward Fertility and the Parent to Be are relying on you to fulfill your obligations.
Once you decide to match with the parents-to-be, you will have a blood test, undergo medical screening, meet with a psychologist, and sign a legal contract.
Though there is no way to predict with complete accuracy which woman will respond well to the egg donation medications and have a successful retrieval, a blood hormone test can provide information about your “ovarian reserve”. Currently, the test most commonly used to test a donor’s ovarian reserve is the anti-mullerian hormone test. In 85 to 90 percent of donors with reassuring values, the test indicates the donor will respond to the fertility medications within the normal limits.
The exact tests required of you will be determined by the medical provider who will be caring for you at the fertility clinic. Forward Fertility will assist in scheduling and can attend the appointments with you, if desired. Typical tests may include: additional hormone levels, blood type, genetic testing (cystic fibrosis, fragile X, etc.) and a physical examination.
Meeting with a psychologist
You will have an opportunity to meet with a psychologist to discuss your role as an egg donor. The psychologist will talk with you about your health and personal history, your interests, you family dynamics, and your motivation to be an egg donor, to be as certain as is possible that you are emotionally secure to proceed with egg donation. If a donor does a subsequent egg donation, they typically do not need to repeat the meeting with the psychologist.
The purpose of the legal contract is to outline the rights and responsibilities of you, as the egg donor, and the parents-to-be, as the recipients of the eggs. The legal contract will cover the compensation, any blackout dates for scheduling, the legal responsibility for children, and testing. You have the right to have an attorney represent you and review the contract. Modifications can be made if both parties agree.
When you sign the legal contract, you are agreeing to complete the tasks required of you within the legal contract and you will be called upon to take your commitment seriously.
The medical screening, psychological meeting, and legal contract finalization usually takes between four and six weeks to complete.
When you are donating your eggs, the fertility doctor will synchronize your menstrual cycle with the menstrual cycle of the embryo recipient. The goal is to have the recipient’s uterus ready at the same time your ovaries are ready for the egg retrieval.
Each fertility clinic has its own set of instructions they will have you follow. Below is one of the more common frameworks you may follow.
1. Sending your ovaries on a short vacation
The first goal is to suppress the egg donor’s ovaries. Typically, this means starting (or continuing) birth control pills for two to six weeks while the uterus of the embryo recipient is prepared. Then, you will begin your two weeks of ‘busy time’ including injection medications and monitoring appointments.
2. Starting hormones to stimulate your ovaries
Once the recipient’s uterus is ready, the medical staff at the fertility clinic will have you stop your birth control and go in for your first monitoring appointment. This usually consists of a blood draw, urine sample, and a vaginal ultrasound to look at your uterus and ovaries. Typically at this appointment, you will be given instructions about when to start the medications to
stimulate your ovaries.
3. Monitoring the response of your ovaries
You will usually return to the clinic every few days for repeat monitoring appointments. Forward Fertility is in close contact with you during this time, checking on how you are feeling, reviewing questions you may have, and providing guidance about what is coming next.
4. Trigger shot.
When the doctor decides your ovaries are ready for egg retrieval, you will be given specific instructions about taking your “trigger shot or shots”. This medication causes the eggs inside the follicles to go through a maturation process so they will be receptive to fertilization. The timing of the trigger shot is critical, as the retrieval must be done at a specific time after the shot is taken. Some clinics have you come to the clinic the morning after your trigger shot for a blood draw to confirm the shot is working.
5. The Egg Retrieval.
The actual egg retrieval takes about ten to twenty minutes. Most clinics use conscious sedation anesthesia, medications given through an IV that cause you to not feel pain, not remember much, and take a deep nap for the duration of the retrieval. You are not intubated and do not receive general anesthesia. The day of the retrieval, you will need someone to take you to and from the clinic and most donors take this day off of work.
Following your egg retrieval, you will receive your compensation check. Click here to review Egg Donor Compensation with Forward Fertility.
Process evaluation and feedback
After the retrieval, you and Christie will set a time to discuss how things went, if you are interesting in donating again, changes for next time, or suggestions to make the process better.
Most donors Christie has worked with choose to donate again and report that the process was easier than they had anticipated. The proper information and expectations up front from Forward Fertility will help you be an informed participant in the process.