How Long Does the Egg Donation Process Take?
If you’re like most women who are thinking about donating eggs, you’re busy. Life happens fast, especially when you’re young and probably juggling school, a job, family commitments, a squad of friends and all the other fabulous/crazy/time consuming things that fill up your calendar. When you’re packing amazing new experiences into your life and trying to make the most of every day (YOLO!) you might wonder where you’re going to find room for something as big as egg donation. Are you going to have to miss classes? Shifts? Spend ages hanging around doctor’s offices and taking fertility medication? How long does it actually take to donate your eggs, and do you have time? Here’s what you need to know.
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Good News: It’s Not a Huge Time Commitment
If you take a look at the whole process, donating your eggs is a process that usually covers 2 to 3 months. That sounds like a big chunk, but don’t stress: it’s actually mostly waiting. Let’s break it down a bit:
- Application process: The first step is completing an application and submitting it with photos of yourself as a child, as you are now, and of your family. After it’s reviewed, you’ll have an interview, either in person or over Skype, and you may be asked to submit some lab work.
- Waiting to match: This part really depends on a lot of things, but the good news is that you can just keep living life as normal while you wait. (Just remember to take good care of your health the way you always do: no smoking or other recreational drugs.)
- Matching: Once you’ve been matched, the clock really starts. Within 3 months from this date, you’ll be finished, having changed someone’s life for the better forever!
- Clinic visits: 6 to 8 appointments. Once you’ve been matched, there will be several doctor’s appointments you’ll need to attend at the clinic. None of them are particularly long. The first month is super easy. You’ll need to come in for a screening appointment, where you’ll meet with a doctor for some basic tests. You’ll also meet with a psychologist to make sure you’re totally up for the experience of donating your eggs. The rest of the appointments all take place in a short period of time, while you’re taking fertility medications. There will be about 5 to 7 visits at a set time point, mostly in the early morning, where you’ll come in so that we can check how your body is responding and keep an eye on the development of your eggs.
- Regulating your hormones: Once you’ve passed the screening, there are a few weeks where we use birth control pills to keep your hormones and ovaries in a non-ovulatory state while you’re waiting to begin the stimulation cycle
- Time on medication: 10 to 14 days. Out of the whole process, you’ll only spend about two weeks on fertility medication and visiting the clinic for regular checkups. This is the most intense part of the process, but it’s short. Many donors find that the early morning appointments mean that there’s not much conflict with their regular schedules, but there may be some days where you’ll need to adjust your plans. You may also run into some side-effects during this time, which usually feel like PMS, but shouldn’t stop you from your normal day to day life. You shouldn’t do strenuous exercise, but other than that, work, school, and hanging out are just fine.
- Egg retrieval: This is where you might want to arrange your schedule so you can take a day or two off. The egg retrieval procedure itself is quick. It’s non-invasive (no cutting or stitching) and only takes a few minutes, but you’ll probably be at the clinic for 2 to 3 hours in total, including prep and recovery. Egg retrieval happens under a light anesthetic (similar to the one dentists use to take out your wisdom teeth) so you’ll want some time to rest while it wears off for the rest of the day. You may feel a bit tired, bloated and crampy after the procedure, like you’re getting your period, but should be completely back to normal in a day or two. Some people go back to work or school the next day, but if you’ve got the time to spare, staying off your feet the day after retrieval is a nice way to give your body a rest and make sure you’re feeling great. This is the perfect excuse to relax on the couch, binge some Netflix, eat some snacks, and bask in the sense of accomplishment. You’ve just made the world a much happier place, and you deserve a bit of pampering.
That’s it! You’re done! If you want to donate your eggs again, you can, after a couple of months off to let your body chill out after medication and retrieval. Then you can go back into the registry and wait for another match.
It’s hard to believe that it takes so little time to do something that can be so life-changing for a couple who’s been waiting their whole lives for a baby, but it’s true. Donating your eggs isn’t a massive time commitment, but it is a massive gift. Like anything worth doing, there are some sacrifices involved, but you don’t have to put your whole life on hold to make a difference. Your time is valuable, and what you’re doing for a waiting family is priceless. That’s why, at Bright Expectations, we make it such a priority that you have a good experience, that your time is respected, and that you are compensated fairly for everything you’ve contributed to this process.
If you have any questions about donating your eggs, how it might fit into your schedule, and whether it’s the right choice for you, the best thing to do is to get in contact with an agency to talk to someone in person. They’ll be able to walk you through everything and help you get a sense of how they can work with you to make it happen on a timeline that works for you.