As we know, not everything in life is guaranteed. When you make the decision to use an egg donor to conceive, it’s good to have a back-up plan in the event you come across a “bump in the road”. Of course, everyone plans and hopes for a smooth process but as we all know nothing in life is a sure thing. What we can do is prepare you and make you aware of the possible hiccups that can arise with egg donation cycles. We have listed a few scenarios that could happen and what back-up options are available to get you back on track quickly.
Egg donors complete pre-screen evaluations prior to starting a cycle to determine eligibility. Donors complete four evaluations: medical evaluation, psychological evaluation, genetic counseling evaluation and legal consultation. We always start with the medical evaluation because generally, if a donor “screens out”, it will happen here. At the medical evaluation, the donor has a full blood panel drawn to ensure she isn’t taking any illegal substances, doesn’t have any STDs, and isn’t a carrier of any genetic abnormalities. Her hormone levels are also checked along with an antral follicle count. If the donor doesn’t receive clearance of this evaluation, she is deemed ineligible to donate. Or if the egg donor is medically cleared and fails one of the remaining evaluations, she will also be deemed ineligible. If this scenario happens, intended parents are able to choose another egg donor, at no additional cost. Or in the even more rare instance, an egg donor decides she is unable to commit to completing a cycle prior to the start of medications, we roll over the cycle fee to another donor of your choosing.
So at the start of your selection process, it’s good to keep a short list of egg donors that you like. In case, your ideal donor doesn’t work out, you have already selected other suitable candidates. Choosing an egg donor takes time so by having a few other options available, we can expedite the process and get the new donor scheduled for prescreens. By keeping a list of alternate donors you are saving yourself days, if not weeks, of time. Yes, you may be broken hearted or frustrated about the fact your ideal donor is no longer available; however, it’s best to keep the end goal in mind and re-group quickly so we can keep to your desired timeline.
In the rare instance that a donor doesn’t produce an adequate number of eggs for fertilization, intended parents should know that they aren’t just “S.O.L”. Frozen eggs are a good alternative to a scenario like this. Since the intended mother/gestational carrier is on medications and transfer is suppose to take place in a few days, it’s best to keep your options open so time and money isn’t wasted. Since frozen eggs are all ready to go and clinics can thaw eggs same day, frozen eggs are a good alternative. This way you get to keep the scheduled transfer date and not lose out on the medications used.
In the very rare event that there are no suitable embryos for transfer, intended parents can decide to use frozen eggs and their transfer will be delayed by 5 to 6 days. If delaying the cycle is not ideal than another option is to use donated embryos. Donated embryos are from patients who have already completed their families and want to give someone else the chance of having a child. Using donated embryos as an alternative helps save time because, just like frozen eggs, the embryo(s) can be thawed same day. This way you get to keep your transfer date and don’t have to prolong the cycle or purchase additional medications.