What is an egg retrieval – By Gail Sexton Anderson

These are the basic steps involved in an egg retrieval protocol.

Step 1. Synchronize the donor’s menstrual cycle with the intended mother’s cycle, using a hormone called Lupron. This hormone quite the ovaries by lowering the estrogen level. The intended mother also takes Lupron, so that she and the donor are on the same cycle.

Step 2. The donor has a light period. The doctor takes an ultrasound of her ovaries to see the size and number of follicles (where the eggs are stored) prior to stimulation.

Step 3. The donor takes a follicle-stimulation hormone. During a normal cycle, a woman has one dominant egg ready for fertilization. Taking a follicle-stimulating hormone causes the little eggs she would slough off with her next period to become dominant also, so that they can be retrieved and fertilized. The donor has several monitoring appointments to allow the fertility specialist to check her hormone levels and to see when the eggs have matured to the optimum size. When the eggs have matured, the donor takes one last hormone known as HCG (a hormone that pregnant women carry). Approximately 36 hours after taking HCG, the donor has the egg retrieval.

Step 4. The donor needs to arrange for a ride home after the egg retrieval, since she will have been sedated during the retrieval. At the clinic, the donor is administered a semiconscious sedation. She should feel no discomfort during the process. The doctor retrieves the eggs with an ultrasound guided needle (as shown above). The retrieval usually lasts less than 20 minutes. When the donor wakes up, she may not remember the procedure. She may feel a bit groggy and experience some bloating. She should take the day off and rest.

Most donors are ready to return to their usual activities (for example, work or school) after a couple of days, depending on how they feel and how physically demanding their day-to-day life is. The donor should use condoms until she has her next period, because her chances of conceiving are very high. There are no guarantees that all of the dominant eggs have been removed. The donor should have her next menstrual period approximately two weeks after the retrieval. This cycle may be a bit heavier than usual as her body sloughs off excess hormones.

Visit Gail Sexton Anderson’s site www.DonorConcierge.com and her blog for more insightful information regarding egg donation and fertility news.