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Using Donated Eggs

Egg donor selection

Once you decide to use donated eggs, you must be matched with a donor. You can pick from a list of donors. You will be able to review their biographical information and make stipulations regarding height, eye and hair color, skin tone, ethnicity, and other criteria.

Please log in to view and select egg donors.

After you pick the person who is offering you donated eggs, she will undergo testing (including infectious disease and genetic testing) to ensure it is safe for her to donate, and for you to receive their eggs.

You will need prenatal lab testing, and a hydrosonogram (SHG) to make sure there are no uterine abnormalities that would diminish the chances of pregnancy.

Unless you have already had an embryo transfer, you will also get a trial transfer (with an empty catheter) to investigate how we will be able to return the embryos to your uterus.

You will go through a mock cycle (where we use various medications and hormones to prepare your uterus for a baby.) This mock cycle is very similar to a frozen embryo transfer. We can maximize your chances of success if we can stimulate the endometrium (uterine lining) to grow.

It takes some women longer to grow a suitable lining, so the mock cycle will help us determine how long it will take you to do this. This helps us know when to start preparing your uterus in relation to when we start the donor’s medications to stimulate her eggs.

Baby conceived from donated eggs crawling up steps | Tennessee Reproductive Medicine | Chattanooga, TNMock cycle before receiving donated eggs

The mock cycle is similar to going through a frozen embryo transfer. You will receive birth control pills so that we can manipulate the timing of your menstrual cycle and the start of your next medication.

You will then start Lupron injections and discontinue the birth control pills several days later. You will have a period.

At this point we will instruct you to start estrogen patches to promote the uterine lining to grow. We will evaluate how you respond to estrogen via ultrasound and blood work.

Once we see that your uterine lining can be grown to an appropriate thickness, you will discontinue all medicines and have another menses. You are now ready to go through the real cycle.

Donor stimulation

The donor will go through a Long Agonist Protocol or Agonist Protocol stimulation. She will receive drugs to cause multiple egg follicles to grow. We will follow her progress via ultrasounds and blood work.

When the egg development meets criteria, we administer a final injection of hCG to complete the maturation of the eggs. Thirty-six hours later we will retrieve her eggs. At this point, the donor’s participation in the process is over.


The eggs will be inseminated with the male partner’s sperm. We will monitor the oocytes (eggs) to see how many fertilize the day after the retrieval, and then observe them in the lab for three to five days.

Typically, the best one to two embryos will be transferred back to you three to five days after the egg retrieval. The number of embryos to transfer depends on the risk you are willing to accept, your reproductive history, and to some extent, the grade of the embryos.

Donor recipient stimulation

This is similar to the mock cycle, except at the end we add additional medications to maximize your chance of pregnancy.

    • Start with birth control pills.
    • Overlap birth control pills with Lupron for several days.
    • Stop the birth control pills and have a menstrual period.
    • Begin estrogen patches.

On the day that the donor receives hCG, you will start injections of progesterone. Progesterone completes the final maturation process of the uterine lining and makes it possible for an embryo to attach.

Three to five days after the eggs are received in the lab, you will get an embryo transfer. Fourteen days after egg insemination, you will take a pregnancy test.

If the test is positive, you will continue your progesterone and will be followed closely to monitor the status of your pregnancy. Your first ultrasound will occur 2 weeks later. If you are not pregnant, you will discontinue all medications.