Egg Donation Process

Donors take note: This is the how the medical stuff works. If your eyes start glazing over, sorry! It is important that we tell you all you need to know…………and more!!!!


Step 1: The application


Our standards are very high as we are looking to attract people who are 100% committed to the process. This is important because there is a lot at stake here! We need to know you are willing and able to do this. There are basic requirements, e.g. a regular menstrual cycle, age, a body mass index between 18 and 29. To calculate your BMI, click here. (Studies indicate that a BMI that is either too low or too high can negatively affect the outcome of fertility treatments. In addition to the fact that a BMI that is too low or too high means that the intended recipients have a decreased chance at successful conception, it also has safety issues for the potential egg donor and their safety is of utmost concern.)

Once your application form has been approved, you will receive an email from Nurture requesting a time/date that you are available so Gabby can have a chat with you. This can be done telephonically or via skype (you will need to provide us with your skype contact details). Gabby will discuss the entire process with you and you can ask her as many questions as you want, to ensure that you are comfortable and wish to proceed with the donation. (Please look out for her email – it provides you with lots of information and please check your junk/spam box which is where it sadly ends up at times).

Once you are chosen by a special Recipient, the clinic will then make contact with you to set up your initial appointments. They will call you on the mobile number you have provided (if you are busy, still sleeping, are out walking the dog, etc and they are unable to make contact, they will then email you – either way……..they will get hold of you!).



Step 2: The appointments


You will have two initial appointments at the clinic. 

An hour appointment with the doctor and an hour appointment with the Counsellor.

The Doctor will explain the donation process to you in detail and will also perform an internal scan and your blood will be tested for Aids/hepatitis and any sexually transmitted diseases.



The appointment with the Counsellor is for you to discuss any concerns you might have about egg donation and for the Counsellor to ensure that you fully understand some of the social, ethical, emotional and legal implications of donating your eggs within your cultural/social context and UK laws. Please note that the meeting with the Counsellor is not a counselling session but rather an implications discussion about egg donation.
(We have ensured that you will have both appointments on one day so as to prevent you having to travel in twice to see both the Doctor and Counsellor).


Step 3: The donation process


Once the clinic receives all the results (this should take no longer than a week), they will make contact with you to confirm your blood results and you can then decide whether you want to proceed with the donation. If you decide to proceed (and we hope you do), then please note the following:-

Actual donation process *

Once you have completed your screening, the doctor will start you on a low dose birth control pill if you aren’t already on one. The purpose of taking the pill is to help get your cycle synchronized with the recipient’s cycle.

Approximately 2 months after your initial appointment with Doctor and Counsellor – you will begin the actual donation process laid out below:

Specific date to stop birth control pill.

Your period will begin 2-5 days after stopping the pill.

Your first day of bleeding is recognised as “Day 1″

DAY 1: Menstrual cycle begins.

Start medication (daily injection) as / when clinic has instructed you to.

DAY 8 – DAY 12: First, second & third scans with the Doctor (these appointments are approximately half an hour).
DAY 14:  Egg Retrieval (you will have to take this day off and have someone drive you home after the egg retrieval). This day cannot be scheduled to happen on a specific date, however you will know in advance when this date will be.


*This is only a guideline and is not fixed as eggs grow at their own rate.



Step 4: The egg retrieval


The egg retrieval will occur about 36 hours after the final injection. Egg retrievals are usually scheduled early in the morning (between 7:30 a.m. and noon). The method by which the eggs are retrieved is an ultrasound directed needle aspiration. This is a procedure, performed under twilight sedation, such that you will be totally comfortable and pain-free. The ultrasound probe with a needle guide is placed in the vagina, which allows an aspiration needle to be inserted through the upper portion of the vagina directly into the ovary. The ultrasound image allows the doctor to accurately guide the needle into each follicle for aspiration or “suction”. As the fluid is aspirated, the egg is released and collected in the laboratory.


The retrieval process takes approximately 15-30 minutes. Following the retrieval you are asked to remain at the clinic for one to two hours to recover from the anaesthetic. You must plan on having someone available to drive you home as you have been under the effects of anaesthetic and cannot (by law) drive yourself home or take public transportation. When you are released from the clinic you may resume light daily activities. It is very common to experience some cramping and spotting following the process and the clinic will prescribe the appropriate pain medication. You should avoid unprotected sexual relations seven days prior to the egg retrieval and for two weeks after the retrieval (until you get your next menstrual period).


Step 5: The Fertilization and Embryo Transfer


Once the eggs are retrieved, the laboratory staff will begin the process of fertilization (the union of the sperm and egg). The retrieved eggs are immediately examined by the embryologist and then placed in a specialized culture medium and allowed to remain there undisturbed for 2-3 hours. A semen sample is then added to the medium containing the eggs. By the following day the eggs will have fertilized. The fertilized egg is now called an embryo. An embryo transfer will usually take place after the embryos have developed in the laboratory for three to five days.


Step 6: What does my body do during and after the donation?


  • The donation process is very similar to your own monthly menstrual cycle.
  • Every month there are a couple of small follicles (bags that contains eggs) made available in each ovary.
  • The FSH level that your ovaries release in response to the pituitary gland in the brain, is only enough to make one of those follicles grow to release a mature egg, which results in ovulation. The other follicles disintegrate after this, which means that they are lost so to speak
  • During the donation process you will inject yourself from day 3 of your period with Gonal F medication (this contains FSH hormones). This increases the amount of FSH, and will let more than one egg grow on each ovary.
  • You will have monitoring scans at the fertility clinic from day 6 of your cycle to see how your body responds to this medication (the response varies from person to person).
  • When the follicles reach a certain size in diameter (about 14mm) you will need to inject yourself with Cetrotide. This is an antagonist injection that will suppress the release of LH (the hormone that triggers ovulation), to prevent natural ovulation. We have to prevent natural ovulation in order to be able to retrieve the eggs from the ovaries.
  • When the follicles are about 20mm in size we know the eggs are ready to be retrieved.
  • You will take a trigger injection (either 1 injection, 36 hours before your egg retrieval; or 2 separate injections; one 36 hours before retrieval, and the other 24 hours before your retrieval) to mature the eggs and make them ready.
  • The eggs are then retrieved from the ovaries.
  • The hormonal process in your body from here onwards is the same as in your natural monthly cycle. Your body will now start producing Progesterone and preparing your uterus for implantation.
  • You are VERY fertile during the donation process and should practice safe sex (or abstain completely from day 6 of your cycle until your next period starts).
  • When your body realises around day 23 that no pregnancy occurred, your progesterone levels will start to drop slowly and you will start your period a few days later.
  • Your cycle would now be back to normal and if you don’t take any contraception the process will start all over again with your own levels of FSH.
  • You should start contraception (active pills) on day 1 of this period to ensure that you are protected against pregnancy straight away.


Step 7: The Donor compensation


You will receive £750 on completion of your donation. Nurture will deposit the compensation into your bank account within 7 days after your retrieval. Where the clinic is responsible for the payment, the clinic will ensure that they obtain your banking details during  your initial visit.


Step 8: Donate again?


The UK regulation stipulates that as an egg donor, a maximum of 10 families can be created with the use of your eggs.  It remains your decision should you wish to donate to this maximum.  Many of the clinics in the UK have stipulated that the maximum times you may donate will be 4. So after your first donation is completed – if you would like to join the gorgeous and divine Nurture team again, please get in touch.

Nurture will also stay in touch with you ………………….and YES it will be fantastic news for us if you decide to donate again.