Become an Egg Donor
Dear Potential Donor,
We want to thank you for your interest in our program. The following contains information of interest to you about our program and the staff.
Since the birth of the first "test tube" baby in 1979, new and safer techniques have been developed with the goal of improving In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services. In 1988 OGA setup its IVF lab, and has performed over 3,000 IVF cycles since that time. In Vitro Fertilization literally means "in glass fertilization." IVF describes a process whereby oocytes (eggs) that are removed from a woman's ovaries are mixed with a man's sperm outside the body, usually in a glass dish. Eggs that are fertilized are called embryos. These embryos are subsequently placed back into the woman's uterus in hopes of achieving a pregnancy. In the Donor Oocyte Program, it is the donor who undergoes treatment to stimulate the ovaries and then has the eggs retrieved. The eggs are then inseminated in the lab with the sperm of the recipient's husband. After fertilization occurs, the resulting embryos are then transferred into the recipient's uterus.
Egg Donor Introduction Letter
With our Donor Oocyte Program, IVF is a "team effort," with everyone working together to achieve a common goal. Dr. Randall C. Dunn, MD, Dr. Leah M. Schenk, MD, and Dr. Subodh Chauhan, MD are all reproductive endocrinologists. A reproductive endocrinologist is a formally trained subspecialist in obstetrics and gynecology who is capable of managing complex clinical problems related to reproductive endocrinology and infertility. To achieve this competency, an obstetrician and gynecologist must complete a separate board approved subspecialty fellowship. The "team" includes the office and laboratory staff of Dr. Randall C. Dunn, MD, Dr. Leah M. Schenk, and Dr. Subodh Chauhan including nurses and medical assistants, an IVF coordinator, and ultrasonographers.
Why do women request egg donation?
Women may choose egg donation for a variety of reasons. Some of these women have tried to become pregnant for years without success, mainly because they do not produce eggs of their own. Previous chemotherapy, ovarian surgery, premature menopause and absence of ovaries from birth are some of the common reasons why ovaries are absent or function poorly. Also, some women carry a genetic disorder and do not want to transmit it to a child.
Who are the women who donate eggs?
As an egg donor you must be between the ages of 20 and 28 years of age. To become an egg donor you must complete the Donor Oocyte Health History form and return it to us with your address and telephone number. Once this information has been reviewed and it has been determined that you are eligible to be an egg donor, you will be contacted by the Program Coordinator to schedule further screening. This would include a review of your past medical history and family history, a physical examination and tests to ensure general health and the absence of infectious disease (AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia). Potential donors also undergo psychological screening which includes a visit to a psychologist and personality testing. Unless you are disqualified during the screening process, you will be paired with a recipient, and a time to begin your egg donation cycle will be determined. You will not meet the recipient and you will not know if a pregnancy occurred from the recipient's cycle.
Egg donors will experience some discomfort, inconvenience, and medical risk during the in vitro fertilization cycle. You will receive up to three hormone shots a day, frequent vaginal ultrasounds, blood tests, and finally a surgical procedure to remove the eggs. Egg donors are compensated financially for their time, discomfort, and risk. Although rare, it is possible that a donor who has not been through IVF before may respond poorly to medications. This could result in cancellation of the cycle before aspiration of the eggs. If this occurs through no fault of your own, your compensation will be prorated as determined by our Program.
Protocol for a Donor Egg Cycle
The actual egg donation cycle will require approximately one month of your time. You will be put on birth control pills (OCPs) for 2-3 weeks, then you will begin a medication called Lupron. Lupron is used to suppress ovarian hormone production and synchronize your cycle with that of the recipient. This injection will be given every day for about 3-4 weeks. You can give these shots to yourself if you would like to do so. You will then begin daily injections of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) for 10 to 14 days. These medicines stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs and help mature them. All injections during this process must be given at the same time every night. It is very important that you not miss or skip a dose. If you are late for a dose, please take it as soon as you remember. After you have been on FSH/LH for four days, you will need to come to our office for a blood test and ultrasound approximately every other day by 11 a.m. when instructed. These blood tests and ultrasounds will determine the proper time for us to retrieve the eggs you will be donating.
The egg retrieval is performed in the IVF laboratory in our office. You will be given light anesthesia to prevent pain. The procedure involves passing a thin needle through the top of the vagina and into the ovary. Light suction is then applied to remove the eggs from the ovary. The procedure is usually over within 20 minutes. Recovery is very quick and the majority of patients are able to leave within two hours after the egg retrieval. You will not be able to drive yourself home, so you must arrange for somebody to take you home. You can expect to feel sleepy for the rest of the day. Most donors can return to their normal activity the following day.
It is very important that you comply with the following restrictions during your treatment. You should use no medications other than Tylenol or that prescribed by the Program physician. The donor should be on one-a-day vitamins. Any medicines required for other illnesses should be discussed with our staff. You cannot smoke or drink alcohol and caffeine should be limited to one or two beverages per day. You must abstain from intercourse or use barrier contraception (condoms) during the time you are on medications and for the month following the egg retrieval. After beginning FSH/LH, exercise should be done in moderation only (walking is preferred).
In Vitro Fertilization with donor eggs is a highly technical and complicated process. We will do everything we can to make this time easy for you. It is important to remember that the couple who will be the fortunate recipient of your eggs is investing a great deal of time, money, and emotion in this process. Please follow instructions very closely, never skip your medicine, and always be at your scheduled appointments at the appropriate time. These steps are critical in order to have a successful cycle.
If you are interested in becoming an egg donor, please fill out these forms and mail it to
Learn more about Egg Donation.
Drs. Randall C. Dunn, MD / Leah M. Schenk, MD / Subodh Chauhan, MD
Egg Donor Coordinator 7900 Fannin
Suite 4400 Houston
You may call or contact the Program with any questions at (713) 512-7553 and leave a message for the Donor Program Coordinator to return your call.