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A step-by-step IVF timeline with an egg donor and a surrogate

PFCLA
20 Oct 2021

Oftentimes when a new intended parent or parents begin to research and explore their options for their upcoming IVF journey, it can sometimes be confusing in regards to what a potential timeline may look like. 

This blog will act as a guide for what to expect as you go through one of the various paths that you can take with us at PFCLA.

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Who needs IVF with an egg donor and gestational carrier (aka ‘surrogate’)?

The first part of every journey begins with identifying the intended parent(s) needs. While some intended parents will continue on the conventional path of IVF, many will need to supplement their IVF cycle with additional services for one reason or another. 

Some of the more common scenarios where an egg donor and/or a surrogate may be preferred or even required include:

  • Women who have low ovarian reserve and are medically unable to carry a pregnancy
  • Single men who want to have children
  • Members of the LGBTQ+ community  who wish to become parents 
  • Women or transgender men who have had a hysterectomy, including removal of ovaries and uterus
  • People with certain genetic conditions who need third-party help to have a baby

Once you have decided on what type of path you prefer or require for your particular journey, PFCLA can help you better understand what to anticipate for a timeline. The next following sections will provide a high-level overview of some of the more common timelines.

General IVF timeline when using an egg donor:

When an intended parent decides to use an egg donor, a number of steps must be taken. On average, it can take about three to six months from choosing an egg donor to the creation of embryos. 

Step 1: Choose an egg donor 

Finding the right egg donor can be intimidating. Fortunately, our in-house egg donor agency Hatch will assist you in finding the perfect match.  All the donor candidates are pre-approved by our IVF specialists. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE 4 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN EGG DONOR. 

Step 2: Semen collection

Typically, once an Egg Donor has been selected, PFCLA will work with you to acquire semen to create your embryos. We can freeze semen samples for the use of your IVF cycle at a later date or we can use fresh semen on the day of egg retrieval. 

(Note that because semen cryopreservation is an option, this step can be done at any time during the process).

Step 3: Egg donor medical screening

Once you are matched with an egg donor, our clinical coordinator will reach out to the donor and schedule her in-person medical screening appointment with our IVF specialist. 

The donor screening process involves:

  1. Review of the donor's profile and medical records, psychological assessment, and genetic risk evaluation
  2. A detailed medical history
  3. A physical/pelvic examination
  4. A specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her ovaries
  5. Comprehensive blood tests including infectious panel and genetic carrier screening 
  6. A urine drug screen

It will typically take 14-21 days to get all the results back. If all the results are normal, the donor will be considered a strong candidate ready to start treatment.

Step 4: Egg donor legal contract  

Your donor agency will connect you with an attorney that specializes in reproductive law to initiate the legal contract. This process could take as quick as a couple weeks to a few months, depending on the legal requirements of both parties. 

Step 5: Egg retrieval stimulation cycle 

The average time for the egg retrieval stimulation cycle ranges from 10-14 days, but each case can vary depending on the donor. This timeframe starts when the donor begins medication used for ovarian stimulation to the egg retrieval procedure.

Step 6:  Fertilization and PGT testing 

The day after the eggs have been fertilized, we will provide a fertilization report.  The fertilized embryos will be cultured for five to seven days, and then be biopsied and sent for PGT (preimplantation genetic testing).  It takes one to two weeks for the final embryos results to be provided.  

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT PGT TESTING, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

General timeline when using a surrogate:

Step 1: Choose a surrogate 

Finding the right surrogate can be a lengthy process. We recommend looking for your surrogate as soon as possible, or at least while also looking for an egg donor, if needed. 

Our in-house surrogacy agency Hatch will assist you in finding a surrogate, and you can start your application by clicking here.

Step 2: Surrogate medical screening

The surrogate screening process involves:

  1. Review of pregnancy records
  2. A detailed medical history
  3. A physical/pelvic examination
  4. A specific pelvic ultrasound examination of her uterus
  5. A battery of blood tests including infectious panel
  6. A urine drug screen

It will typically take 10-14 days to get all the results back. If all is normal, we will approve her as a strong surrogate candidate and consider her ready to start treatment.

Step 3: Surrogate legal contract 

Your surrogacy agency will connect you with an attorney that specializes in reproductive law to initiate the legal contract. This process could take as quick as a couple weeks to a few months, depending on the legal requirements of both parties. 

Step 4: Preparing surrogate’s FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) Cycle 

When it comes to a surrogate’s FET cycle, each case can vary due to several factors. In a typical scenario, the embryo transfer procedure usually takes place between days 19 and 21 of the surrogate’s menstrual cycle. This is followed by a pregnancy blood test approximately 10 days post-implantation. We will continue to follow up with the surrogate until the 10 weeks OB ultrasound. After 10 week’s OB ultrasound, the surrogate will be discharged to her OB’s care. 

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE ABOUT THE FROZEN EMBRYO TRANSFER CYCLE, YOU MAY DO SO HERE.

Need more information about the timeline and expectations of an IVF cycle using a donor and surrogate?

As an intended parent, navigating IVF with a donor and surrogate can feel like an intimidating process, especially when you consider that it’s expensive and your future family depends on its success. 

However, it’s your unique path to parenthood and it can be the positive, beautiful experience you deserve! An experienced fertility clinic and egg donor & surrogacy agency will break the journey down into easy, manageable steps, and help you understand the timeline so there are never any surprises. Want to learn more about navigating this process? Contact our team of fertility experts today.

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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