You’re researching egg donation – congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in a truly rewarding process that is mutually beneficial for both you and the family you’re helping to build. But what exactly is involved? Egg donor vetting is actually a multi-part process that can be broken down into 4 main steps. We’ll discuss the application, pre-matching, medical evaluation, plus medical clearance and beyond so that you know exactly what to expect from egg donor vetting.
First things first – your donor application. Step 1 of the egg donor vetting process is completing your online application. You can expect topics to run the gamut from your educational background to your reproductive history, to family medical issues and personal interests. It’s an opportunity for both our donor team and, eventually, intended parents to learn more about who you are and why you want to become a donor.
How do I prepare?
Be as forthcoming as possible! Honesty is key throughout this process, but especially here at the outset. Obtain as much family history information as you can. Answer questions as accurately as possible so that there are no unnecessary surprises later on; most issues come up during medical evaluation anyway. Of course, if you have any questions you’re always invited to contact our donor intake team to clarify issues or concerns.
The application review may look a little different depending on specific circumstances, like timing or location. In general, it involves a phone call to discuss your application and the process in more detail. Once you’re cleared to move on to the next steps, you will complete an enrollment packet and then have a final intake call before your profile is available to intended parents. You can typically expect this part of the egg donor process to take 2 to 3 weeks.
How do I prepare?
Get your questions ready! Anything that has not been addressed during the application process is up for discussion during pre-matching. Concerned about what is involved with traveling for a match? Not sure if you’re able to continue training for that marathon? These are all important things to talk about with your donor intake coordinator. No questions are silly or off limits. We’d rather have an open discussion at this stage of the journey to help you determine if egg donation is the best decision for you right now.
Now that you’ve successfully completed the application and pre-matching process, you are ready to be matched. The process moves rather quickly from that point. Once we have a match with intended parents, you will work with a nurse coordinator from their fertility clinic to complete your full egg donor medical evaluation. This workup will include any additional psychosocial tests the clinic requires, as well as blood work and multiple tests to confirm you are healthy and medically eligible to be an egg donor.
Because each IVF clinic has their own unique protocol, the process may vary some. Generally, you can expect to spend about 2 to 3 hours at the clinic for your workup. If you have not already done so, you may meet with a mental health professional at some point during the visit for an evaluation and psychosocial testing.
You can expect time with the doctor for a comprehensive medical exam, including a pap smear and vaginal cultures, as well as a vaginal ultrasound performed by a tech. This may sound daunting, but it’s a quick and painless way of examining your ovaries and internal reproductive organs.
Another major component of the medical evaluation is blood work – this is done to check hormone levels, to check for infectious and communicable diseases, and to determine your risk as a carrier for certain genetic disorders.
A good portion of your time will be spent with your nurse coordinator. You will have an opportunity to discuss the clinic’s specific medication protocol, as well as the egg donor medications that will be used. You may also have what is called a drug teach to walk through the proper way to do your injections.
How do I prepare?
Give yourself plenty of time to find the clinic and arrive a few minutes early. Stay hydrated and, of course, avoid nicotine and other drugs; remember, these are prohibited during your time in the donor program and drug and nicotine testing will be performed. Think about any questions you might have for your nurse coordinator – it’s common to come up with more during the appointment! And be prepared for a long day. Consider bringing a few snacks, some water and a book, just in case. While the appointment itself typically takes place over the course of one day, it can take several weeks for all resulting blood work and genetic screening to be reviewed and to determine your final eligibility. In total, you can expect the medical evaluation to take about 6 to 8 weeks.
Once you have officially obtained medical clearance, it’s only a matter of time before you start your medication protocol. Don’t worry. While several weeks will have passed since your medical workup, you will have the opportunity to review the medication and injections before you start. Between your nurse coordinator at the clinic and your Match Manager at ConceiveAbilities, you have a dedicated team available to help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible for you.
How do I prepare?
Again, ask plenty of questions – and pay careful attention to the responses! Take notes, review online information provided, and above all, trust yourself. You’ve been a trouper throughout the egg donor vetting process and now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We believe in you and, most importantly, your intended parents believe in you to help them over this major hurdle on their path to parenthood. You can do this!
If egg donation is something you’re feeling called to do, get started with your online application right now. We are here for you every step of the way.
By Kate Summers
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.