The medical cycle for an egg donor or intended mother (IM) serves two purposes: it stimulates the body to create multiple eggs at once and manages the timing of ovulation. The goal is to create a large number of viable eggs on the same schedule of the surrogate’s best days to conceive.
The first step is to sync the donors monthly cycle with the cycle of the person who will be carrying the embryo. This is typically done with birth control pills. Next the doctor will stop the donor or intended mother from ovulating on her own. A drug called Lupron is typically administered painlessly with a small needle into the stomach.
The doctor will also put the donor or IM on medications used to increase the number of follicles in the ovaries. Common drugs prescribed for this include Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur or Repronex. These medications are also administered via injection, in most cases subcutaneously. In rare cases the doctor may want to inject these medications directly into a muscle, typically in the buttocks. Both methods of administration are usually painless.
The last step in the medical phase consists of an injection of HCG. This will trigger the body to ovulate all of the eggs that have been developing in those follicles. Next the donor will schedule and complete the egg retrieval.
While on these medications the donor will be extremely fertile. Engaging in sexual activity during this time is particularly dangerous, as the odds of accidental conception are quite high. This is why we strongly recommend abstinence for donors during their med cycles. In many cases, becoming pregnant while under contracts and in medical cycle can constitute a breach of contract and carry some penalties for the donor.
An egg donor will have several doctor appointments during the three weeks that she is on medication. These appointments, calling monitoring appointments, will help doctors make sure that the donor’s body is responding appropriately to the medications. Each appointment will consist of a blood drawl and an ultrasound. Occasionally medication dosages may be changed depending on the results of the bloodwork and ultrasound.