An Overview of the Egg Donor Screening Process
The Phases of Egg Donation
A simple way of explaining the egg donation process would be to break it down into seven different phases:
- Selection by IP
- Medical Screening
In this post we aim to provide a more detailed perspective on what to expect during the medical screening portion of the egg donor process. We also hope to equip readers with tips for a smooth medical screening process.
The Medical Screening Phase
So, you have applied to work with a reputable egg donor agency, been accepted and featured among their egg donor listings. Now you have just received the call that an intended parent has selected you and is eager to move forward with the process.
So what happens next? Your medical screening.
Once you have confirmed your availability with your agency, the next step is to obtain medical clearance. To do this you must complete a medical screening at your IP’s (intended parents’) IVF clinic. This step of the egg donor process ensure that you are healthy and medically eligible to participate in an egg donation.
How does the medical screening work?
Each IVF clinic has their own protocol for screening egg donors. Some centers will require egg donors to come in for an all-day appointment, while other centers will divide the screening process into two separate appointments. That said, many IVF centers are able to conduct the entire screening process during a 2 or 3 hour appointment.
Your Match Manager or agency liaison will likely have prior experience working with your IP’s IVF clinic and they should be able to provide you with a specific understanding of what to expect, as well as guide you in arranging your medical screening appointment(s).
What should I expect at the medical screening?
We can not say for certain exactly what to expect at your medical screening. Again, all IVF clinics have their own protocol but it’s reasonable to anticipate that your screening will include the majority of the below:
- A comprehensive physical exam by a doctor;
- Blood draws to check your hormone levels, screen for communicable and infectious diseases, and to screen for risk of if you are a carrier for any genetic disorders;
- Vaginal cultures;
- An ultrasound, performed internally;
- A meeting with a nurse to discuss your current birth control methods, and the medication you would be required to take as part of your egg donation cycle.
Let’s not pretend that we didn’t just casually include on our list an “an ultrasound,
What is that about?
The internal ultrasound at your screening will require an ultrasound technician to insert a small, ultrasound probe vaginally. This will allow the tech to check your ovaries. Do not stress, these ultrasounds are not painful. They are better described as uncomfortable, similar in sensation to having a pap performed.
In addition to all the above listed medical procedures, some IVF clinics also include a mental health evaluation at their screenings. These evaluations usually consist of an interview with a mental health professional and a standardized test.
As you can see, a lot goes into egg donor screenings. It is a very thorough process, during which nearly every aspect of your well-being will be evaluated.
Obtaining medical clearance is a big step in your egg donor journey and achieving it will be a very exciting milestone for your IPs. Taking simple steps to properly prepare for your screening and also taking advantage of your time with clinic staff can save you and your IPs the heartache and grief of unnecessary delays, and fast track you towards retrieval day.
How do I prepare for my medical screening?
Here are some pro tips for making certain that your screening goes as smoothly as possible.
- Make certain that you know where your clinic is located and that you arrive at your appointment on time.
- Come to your screening well-rested and hydrated.
- Definitely avoid drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or using nicotine several days prior to your screening.
- Be prepared for blood draws and a pelvic exam.
- Anticipate how any Zika related questions might relate to your travel within the past year.
- Use the nurse you meet as a resource during the appointment, ask any medical questions about the egg donation process that you may have.
- Claim and optimize your status as a patient of the clinic and utilize the medical professionals who are there to assist and educate you.
- Do not hold back with any questions you may have. There are no silly questions. Never feel embarrassed to broach certain subjects. Your nurse and doctor have heard it all before.
- Be honest about your own and your family’s health histories. They will all be talked over very in great detail and it is best to be up front with clinic staff.
- Lastly, be prepared for a long day. Most egg donors say that the appointment lasted longer than they expected. Prepare by bringing a light snack in your bag, a book, music, and a water bottle. Again, staying hydrated is always a good idea.
How long until I receive my results?
Most clinics take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to provide the results of an egg donor screening. Although that time may seem to fly by for you, rest assured, it will be a long and agonizing 2-4 week wait for the IP(s), who have their hearts set on working with you.
Once you receive the good news of your medical clearance it is on to the legal portion of the egg donor process. After which you will begin taking injections for your IVF cycle, moving ever closer to your retrieval.
We hope this post has provided you with some helpful insights into the medical screening portion of the egg donor process.
Make sure to read our other posts too:
Egg donation is one of the noblest and most gracious gifts a person could ever bestow upon another. It really is hard to overstate the impact an egg donor has on the lives of others. We applaud your intentions and wish you the very best of luck in this and all future endeavors.