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 Egg Donor Program

The Oocyte Donor Program is part of the In Vitro Fertilization Program at Wayne State University Physician Group (WSUPG). The Oocyte Donor Program was designed to offer the possibility of a pregnancy to women who would otherwise be infertile due to certain medical conditions. Indications for donor oocytes may include premature menopause, genetic disorders, and failure to produce an adequate number of viable eggs. After an in-depth screening process, the donor will be matched with a recipient couple. Once matched, the donor will undergo stimulation of her ovaries using hormonal injections. At the appropriate time, as determined by the physician, the oocyte donor will be scheduled for an outpatient procedure called ‘egg retrieval’. The retrieval is performed at UPG and lasts approximately one hour. Once the eggs are retrieved, they become the sole possession of the recipient couple. The day of retrieval, the eggs are placed with the sperm of the recipient couple to allow fertilization to occur. Approximately 36 hours after the retrieval, a few fertilized eggs are transferred to the uterus of the recipient, the rest frozen for future use for the recipient couple.

Preliminary Steps

As a potential recipient, the first step in the process toward beginning a cycle is to meet with one of our Reproductive Endocrinologists. You and your partner will have a physical exam and a complete history will be obtained. The oocyte donation process and the expectations from you, as a recipient, will be explained by your physician. As a result of this appointment, there may be some testing which will need to be done before any further steps are taken. Such tests will include blood tests, cervical cultures to test for infections of the female reproductive tract, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or sonohysterogram to evaluate your tubal status and uterine cavity, and a semen analysis to determine the most optimal way to process your husband’s sperm on the day of the oocyte retrieval. Other testing may be necessary to evaluate any pre-existing conditions which may interfere with the success of your cycle. Although these tests may seem tedious, they are an integral part of the process and may help provide your physician with beneficial information to better your care. Following the completion of the preliminary tests which are ordered, a follow-up appointment with your physician may be necessary.

Your next step will involve meeting with a psychologist. The purpose of this is to increase your understanding and awareness of the issues surrounding your decision to proceed with donor oocytes. The psychologist will also help answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Once you have met with the psychologist, you will meet with the donor egg nurse coordinator. You will be given an in-depth description of the program and what will be involved. You will be put in touch with a donor locater agency. This agency coordinates the matching of recipients and donors. They may use some of the key characteristics possessed by you and your husband, in order to select a suitable donor. Other required lab work may also be done at this time, which includes hepatitis B and C, syphilis, HIV, cytomegalovirus serum titer and blood type/Rh. The recipient’s husband will also be required to have an HIV test. You and your spouse will also have injection teaching class which will need to be completed prior to the initiation of your medication. The injection teaching class will last approximately one hour and concludes with giving you injections of sterile water.

You will also meet the financial coordinator to discuss the fees involved in your donor oocyte cycle. The financial coordinator will alert you to all fees which you will potentially be responsible for. The recipient is responsible for all fees incurred by the donor.

The screening for donors is an ongoing and continuous process. In order to be deemed a suitable donor, a woman must complete a number of rigorous screening tests. A suitable anonymous donor must be between the ages of 21 to 33, a non-smoker, free of disease, and have a negative genetic screen. Donors are tested for blood type and Rh, HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, cytomegalovirus, Chlamydia and gonorrhea of the cervix. Additional tests such as screening for sickle cell, thalassemia, and Tay-Sachs may also be necessary. An in-depth personal and family history is obtained from the donor, a copy of which will be given to the recipient once a match has been made. A ‘Consent to Donate’ form will be signed by each potential oocyte donor accepted into the program. Donors and recipients are matched by race and ethnicity. Any requests for cross-racial matching will be handled on an individual basis. Matching with respect to blood type and Rh status, will be done in a manner to maximize blood type matching and minimize the risk of Rh disease. THE ENTIRE DONOR PROCESS WILL BE PERFORMED IN STRICT CONFIDENTIALITY.

We understand that your desire is to have a child and your pursuit of parenthood has been a long and tiring ordeal. Our goal is to provide quality care with optimal results for all parties involved. We cannot guarantee how long it will take to find an appropriate donor for you; however, you will be contacted the moment the match is found for you by either our office or the donor agency. You will be given a complete personal and medical history on the donor that you are matched with.

Donor Stimulation

Because there is evidence that the success rate is improved when more than one egg is obtained per cycle, ovum donors use hormones to stimulate the growth of more than one follicle. Each follicle usually contains one egg. By using the injectable medications, multiple eggs develop. Since the medications will cause several follicles to be grown at the same time, the development must be monitored through hormone testing and ultrasounds. Once the donors begin the gonadotropins stimulation, they will be monitored daily. When the follicles are mature, and the physician deems it appropriate, the donor receives her last injection. Approximately 36 hours later, the egg retrieval takes place at WSUPG. The egg retrieval is a one-hour procedure done under IV sedation. The eggs are collected by inserting a needle, guided by an ultrasonic probe, through the vagina into the ovarian follicles. All follicles will be aspirated.

Recipient Procedures

Throughout the entire process, you will be in close contact with the Donor Egg Nurse Coordinator. The Donor Egg Coordinator will instruct you as to the exact time that you are to begin the prescribed medications. When the date of the oocyte retrieval is determined, you will be notified. We will also make arrangements for your husband to provide a semen sample on the day of the retrieval for insemination of the eggs. Once retrieved, the eggs become the sole possession of the recipient couple. The donor will not be given any information regarding pregnancy results. All eggs retrieved will be inseminated with the sperm of the recipient’s husband. Any embryos not transferred may be cryopreserved for later use by the recipient couple. A separate consent form for cryopreservation must be signed by the recipient couple.

Embyro Transfer

The embryo transfer is performed approximately three days after the retrieval. The actual procedure takes less than one-half hour. The patient is given a low dose Valium tablet, prior to the procedure, to help relax the patient and reduce any uterine cramping which may occur. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina, and your cervix will be cleaned with a sterile solution. A thin plastic catheter, containing the embryos, will be inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. Following the procedure, you will be asked to remain flat for approximately 30 minutes before you are discharged to go home. For the rest of the day following the embryo transfer, bed rest is recommended. We also recommend that you abstain from intercourse for 48 hours after the transfer. You may, otherwise, resume normal activity except excessive physical exertion. Twelve days after the embryo transfer, you will come to the office for a blood pregnancy test.

Cycle Cancellation

An oocyte donation may be canceled for any number of reasons. The reasons include, but are not limited to, development of only one or two follicles by the donor, premature ovulation by the donor, inadequate follicular growth by the donor, inadequate endometrial growth or estrogen by the recipient. If the oocyte donation cycle is canceled due to a poor response by the recipient, the oocytes will be retrieved from the donor, fertilized with the sperm of the recipient’s husband, and cryopreserved for embryo transfer in a subsequent cycle.

Financial Information

All fees for the oocyte donation cycle must be paid before the donor or the recipient can begin their medication. Once the cycle has begun, these fees are non-refundable. Charges for a canceled cycle will be prorated. Please direct all financial questions and payments to the financial coordinator at (248) 263-3607.

Find your Wayne State University Physician Group Obstetrician/Gynecologist now, or call Infertility Services: (248) 352-8200.