An Egg Donor’s Medical Cycle
The medical cycle for an egg donor or intended mother (IM) serves the dual purpose of simulating the body to create multiple eggs at once while also managing 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. This can be completed in two different ways, a donor banking or fresh cycle.
If fresh cycle, 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 parent from ovulating on her own. A drug called Lupron is typically prescribed to do this. The drug is administered with a small needle into the stomach. This injection is typically painless.
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 can include Follistim, Gonal-F, Menopur or Repronex. These medications are also administered via injection, in most cases subcutaneously. In rare cases your 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. In many cases, becoming pregnant while under contracts and in medical cycle can constitute a breach of contract and carry some penalties. Abstinence is recommended.
An egg donor or IM should plan to be able to make several doctors appointments during the three weeks that she is on medication. These appointments, called 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.