Our Egg Donor Program
Egg Donation can help intended parents in need of an embryo as part of their surrogacy process, or an intended mother who needs an embryo to carry the pregnancy to term herself. The egg donation process has its own set of tasks and legalities separate from surrogacy that are important to understand.
From finding the perfect egg donor to providing tailored guidance, First Step Surrogacy and Egg Donation is here to support you through every step of the donation process and beyond.
Recruitment and screening of potential donors including in-depth applications and consults, criminal background checks medical record reviews, insurance pre-approvals, labs and medical screenings, and psychological evaluations
Donor selection and matching as well as support with donor fees
Monitoring your egg donor to ensure she is attending all required appointments
Facilitate communication between egg donor and recipient
Providing referrals to trusted and vetted resources you may need throughout the egg donation process, including:
Reproductive endocrinologists and fertility centers for you and your egg donor
Financial, escrow and trust fund managers to help establish escrow (where funds for the donation process are held and paid out)
Legal counsel specializing in reproductive law for support throughout the legal process
Insurance experts for obtaining short term health insurance for the donor if she does not have an existing plan
Continuous support and contact throughout process so you know what to expect at every phase
With First Step Surrogacy and Egg Donation, you’ll get the luxury of a personal experience and customized support without the VIP price tag.
When you’re ready, we encourage you to take your first step and contact us. During your initial consultation, we will walk you through the egg donation process in detail and/or answer any questions you may have.
Your Guide to Choosing Egg Donation
The length of the egg donation process can vary and there could be minor differences in your journey. Below is a common outline of how the donation process works as well as the different types of egg donation you can choose.
Types of Egg Donation
This donation allows donors and intended parents to share contact information and communicate. This opens up the opportunity to get to know each other and enables contact in the future.
With this type of donation, only the donor's first name and location of residence are shared with the parents. The intended parent(s) can choose to stay anonymous or if both parties agree, there is the possibility for some limited contact with each other.
Parents that prefer anonymity can choose to remain unknown and have no contact with the egg donor. This means they will never meet the donor and all identifying information will be kept private.
How the Egg Donation Process Works
THE FIRST STEP
1. Your initial consultation
The egg donation process, while not as complex as the surrogacy process, can still feel overwhelming on its own. Although it's not required, we offer a free 60-minute consultation where we will happily answer any of your questions so you feel confident before applying. This is a chance to learn more about our egg donation program and your options so you understand what to expect throughout the entire process. Our consultations are currently held through video conferencing and are offered in either English or Spanish.
2. Getting started
This is the official first step of the egg donation process! In order to match you with the perfect donor, we need to get to know you. To do this, we’ll have you fill out a detailed questionnaire that will include your preferences on things like population groups you feel comfortable working with and the type of donation you wish to accept. This will all be important for finding a compatible donor match. If you are also embarking on a surrogacy journey, you will likely already have a Case Manager assigned to you. If not, at this point, we’ll schedule a meeting with your Case Manager who will walk you through expectations, next steps, and will provide you with support throughout the remainder of your egg donation journey. You’ll sign an agency agreement and return it with an initial agency fee to continue with our program. Accepted payments include secure online transactions with PayPal or bank wire transfer. Financial assistance resources can also be provided if needed.
At this stage, we also will help you understand the legalities of egg donation and provide guidance in selecting a reproductive lawyer if you don't already have one.
3. The matching process
Our donors are extensively pre-screened to be sure they are physically and emotionally ready and able for donation before any matches are ever made. You will only be matched with an egg donor after she has passed the high standards of our screening process which at a minimum require her to:
Application and Background
Complete an in-depth application with First Step that includes details about family life and medical history
Reside in the United States and be between the ages of 21-30
Have reliable transportation and flexible schedule for appointments and travel as needed
Be in overall good health with a BMI of 28 or less
Have both ovaries and regular menstrual cycles
Have had a pap-smear within the last two years with normal results
Have no history of genetic disorders and be able to obtain up-to-date family health history
NOT have taken depo-provera or had a hormonal IUD in the last month
Not be on Nor-Plant
Be to use injectable medications
Complete and pass a drug screening of drugs and nicotine
Complete psychological evaluations and not have any psychiatric illness
At First Step, we put a lot of effort into finding the best match possible for the intended parent(s) and the egg donor. Unlike many agencies, we don’t just share a database of egg donor profiles for intended parents to look through on their own but rather, we personally review and hand-select potential matches that fit the predetermined preferences and criteria for both parties. We never want a match to feel forced thus we match based on the following criteria:
Type of egg donation preferred: Whether you can agree with all 3 types or have a specific preference.
Personality fit: Compatibility matters particularly for those who want a known or semi-known donation because we want you to have a comfortable and natural relationship with your egg donor throughout the entire process.
Geographic fit: You may prefer someone who resides closer or further from you depending on the type of donation you choose.
Once both parties agree to a match, if it's a known or semi-known donation, we will set up a meeting to meet your egg donor through a video conference, with the assistance of your case manager, if applicable.
3. Donor medical screening and legal contracts
After being matched, your egg donor will begin the medical screening. While the pre-screening exists to ensure donors are in healthy condition and a candidate for egg donation, the medical screening is a more in-depth evaluation of her fertility health that includes vaginal ultrasounds, testing for genetic diseases, and other illnesses as required by the FDA. Additionally, she will complete a psychological evaluation. First Step can help guide you to coordinate health insurance policies for your donor if necessary.
If the medical screenings come back clear, each party will work with their legal representative to discuss risks and responsibilities, negotiate legal contracts, and draft up an agreement to be reviewed and approved by both parties. This is the time to discuss and mutually agree on any issues regarding the donation. An escrow account will be established for your donor's compensation. The escrow or trust account must be funded before the donation cycle can begin.
THE MEDICAL PROCESS
4. The egg donation cycle
Once everyone is in agreement and the contracts are signed, your donor will start to be prepped for the egg retrieval process at the IVF clinic of your choice. From this point on, the general donation cycle will look something like this:
First Step will review all of the information provided by your physician to ensure your egg donor understands the medication instructions.
With the start of a fresh menstrual cycle, your donor will be given birth control pills to regulate hormones. At the end of the birth control cycle, she will begin taking FSH, which stimulates the ovaries to produce several eggs. Once ready, she will be given an HCG shot which signals the eggs to mature fully and prepares them for retrieval 36 hours later.
The egg retrieval process is done at the IVF clinic of your choice and can take anywhere from 20-60 minutes.
At this point, one or two embryos will be drawn up into a thin, flexible catheter and then transferred into either yours or your surrogate’s uterus, depending on which route you are taking. Embryo transfer will take approximately 30 minutes. The transfer tends to be a quick and painless process. The first pregnancy test can be taken around 9 days after the embryo transfer.