1. Ovarian stimulation for oocyte production
As in a typical IVF cycle, egg donors take fertility drugs for 10 – 20 days, depending on the case.
The donor’s progress is monitored with frequent ultrasound scans and blood tests. During this time, she may work as usual.
A healthy diet and lifestyle is recommended (no smoking or alcohol, etc.).
Once the eggs have matured, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is administered and in 34 to 36 hours oocyte retrieval takes place.
2. Egg collection
Egg collection is performed approximately 34 – 36 hours after hCG is administered.
The procedure lasts about 15 minutes and mild intravenous sedation is used. The donor will have fully recovered 1 – 2 hours after the procedure and may leave the Unit.
1. Preparation of the uterus for implantation
The recipient is administered hormones so as to prepare the uterus to receive the embryos and to support the pregnancy.
In some cases, embryo transfer takes place within a natural cycle (no drugs).
The uterus is monitored with ultrasound scans and by measuring hormone levels.
A mock transfer will be performed to confirm accessibility to the endometrium. This trial is necessary to ensure a smooth embryo transfer and to maximize the embryo’s chances of implantation.
Sometimes, a Hysteroscopy is recommended before embryo transfer.
The oocytes are fertilized with the sperm of the recipient’s partner and are then cultured in an incubator under ideal conditions.
Following fertilization and for the next 2 – 6 days cell division (also known as cleavage) takes place in the laboratory. The fertilized oocytes are now referred to as embryos.
3. Embryo transfer
On the day of embryo transfer, usually 2 – 6 days following egg collection, the embryos to be transferred to the recipient’s uterus are selected. If there are supernumery good quality embryos, cryopreservation is an option allowing the embryos may be stored for future use.
4. Pregnancy test
Two weeks after the egg collection, a pregnancy test is done (measuring the hormone β-chorionic gonadotropin in the blood).
If the result is positive, the pregnancy is monitored like a typical IVF pregnancy.