What is ovarian stimulation during the egg retrieval process?
When does ovarian stimulation start?
Generally, for an egg donor, ovarian stimulation begins with a period. Most egg donors are then put onto a birth control pill for a period of two to three weeks. what that does is disconnect the brain from the ovaries and quiets the ovaries and gets them ready for stimulation. After those two weeks, they come off birth control and have a period.
Then they start on stimulation medications. Those medications are injectable medications of the same hormones that their brain naturally produces throughout the month to make an egg ovulate. We give them much higher doses of these medications to get all available eggs to grow together so that we can then take them out at the end. Generally during the stimulation period, normally 10 days, the egg donor is in the office every other day for ultrasound and blood work. This is to make sure those follicles are growing together, as well as that the estrogen level is rising appropriately.
After the eggs look big enough or those follicles look big enough, generally at least three that are 18 millimeters, we give them a final injection to make those eggs mature. 36 hours after the injection they begin their egg retrieval. They're generally asleep for this process. The donor's ovaries get enlarged and they sit down next to the vagina. The surgeon will then go with a long needle through the ultrasound probe into the ovary through the vaginal wall. from there they will then be able to suck out the eggs. At that point, the egg owner is done. They get up, go home and feel back to normal by the next day.