6 Steps to Screening an Egg Donor

6 Steps to Screening an Egg Donor

By comparison, the egg donor process takes far more time from initiation to completion than sperm donation.  Although both sperm and egg donation include medical and psychological screening along with legal contracts, that is where the similarities end.  Typically, the time frame for starting the egg donation process to aspiration takes 3-4 months, and that excludes any complications.  It is therefore highly doubtful that ANY first-time egg donor will complete the process in less than 3 months, so patience can be a virtue. 

 This time frame remains the same regardless of whether she is a sister or close relative or when the intended parents waive many of the steps discussed below.   



 It is understandable that if the donor is a family member or close friend that all parties may agree to forgo the need for a lengthy questionnaire.  This could very well be the right choice for a donor who is a blood relative, however by completing an application, the donor shows commitment to the process as well as giving her valuable time to carefully examine her decision to donate.  An application affords everyone the opportunity to refer to the document for information or to correct misunderstandings. 


Review Application 

 It may seem obvious, but there is no point in completing an application if you do not carefully review it! There may be things that you did not realize or were unaware that need further follow up. 


The Medical Workup 

 Usually on day 3 of the donor’s menstrual cycle the IVF doctor will perform a physical examination, ultrasound to check the number of antra follicle developing in each ovary, and order various hormone blood tests. The typical tests are social disease testing, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), E2 (Estradiol).  A newer test, anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) may be ordered as those levels are useful in predicting ovarian reserve (basically how many eggs can be expected to be retrieved).    


Psychological Screening 

 The donor will be asked to speak with a psychologist to make sure she fully understands the benefits and risks of egg donation and has proper motivations for becoming a donor.  The mental health professional will also request the donor participates in standardized psychological testing.  The testing is a tool used by the counselor to identify personality style, psychopathology, potential behavior problems such as drug abuse, addiction, hostility towards authority figures, stresses in her life, and her ability to be truthful and forthcoming. 


Legal Issues 

A legal contract between the intended parents and egg donor will be essential to establish rights, duties, intent of the parties, and parental rights. 


Cycle Begins & Egg Retrieval 

During the treatment phase of the cycle, the egg donor should be prepared to make 4-6 visits to an IVF clinic for monitoring, blood work and vaginal sonograms to monitor her egg development. The egg retrieval process takes about 15-30 minutes and the donor is sedated for the procedure. The aspiration is done vaginally, without incision or the need for stitches.  The donor will rest in the IVF clinic recovery room for about an hour after the procedure. Typically, 15-20 eggs are retrieved.  The donor is then ready to return home. It is highly recommended that the donor takes the rest of the day to relax at home but can usually return to work or normal activities the following day. 


 Like any medical procedure, there could be risks involved in the egg donation process, either physical or mental, all of which should be fully explained in advance to the donor via the psychologist and IVF doctor.  While there are currently “no known risks” associated with egg donation itself, what this means is that there is a current lack of ‘data’ to indicate one way or another, so this distinction should be made clear to any egg donors.   


Thank You!