Oocyte or Egg Donation

Egg donation is a process where a woman provides one or several (usually around 10-15) eggs or ova for the purpose of assisted reproduction or biomedical research. In the case of assisted reproduction, the donated egg is fertilized using the method of in-vitro fertilization.

Types of Donors

  • Donors, who are not related to the recipients and primarily donate for altruistic or monetary gain. These donors usually remain anonymous and are used by IVF centers/clinics
  • Designated Donors are those who are known to the recipients and are brought by them specifically


Prior to egg donation, the donor will have to usually undergo a series of medical checks. Some of them include, a pelvic scan, hormone level checks, test for infectious diseases and an ultrasound to examine the ovaries, pelvic organs and the uterus. These tests are mandatory to ensure that the donor is capable and is fully aware and prepared for the egg-donation cycle.

Once the screening is complete, the donor will have to sign a contract. The procedure is then started off and typically takes around three to six weeks. The egg retrieval procedure consists of the Egg donors Cycle and the recipient’s cycle. Birth Control Pills are administered during the first few weeks of egg donation, primarily to synchronize the donor’s cycle with the recipient’s. This may be followed by a series of injections to the donor to halt the normal functionality of the ovaries. The injections can be self-administered and are continued for a period of one to three weeks. Next, follicle stimulating hormones are administered to the donor to help stimulate egg production and also increase the number of mature eggs.

Throughout the whole cycle, the donor is monitored by a physician and an ultrasound scan to determine the reaction of the body to the hormones and progress of follicle growth.

Once the doctor finds that the follicles are mature enough a date and time is fixed for the removal of the eggs. One last injection has to be administered to the donor around 36 hours before retrieval. This is done to ensure that the eggs are ready to be harvested.

The process for egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure and lasts for about 20-30 minutes. This could be performed with the help of a light general anesthetic. A small needle is inserted into the vagina and guided with the help of ultrasound. This is done to aspirate the follicles in both ovaries to extract the eggs.


The egg donor can suffer complications like:

  • Bleeding from the oocyte recovery procedure
  • Reaction to hormones used
  • Rarely, liver failure


After the procedure is completed, the donor is asked to rest in a recovery room for a couple of hours. Normal activity can be resumed the next day after the procedure.

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