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How Long Does the IVF Process Take When Using an Egg Donor?

While the entire egg donation process timeline can vary, the IVF cycle itself generally takes around 4 weeks. The full process for recipient parents—from your initial consultation to your first beta hCG test, however—can take up to 4 months. While these are general estimates, the answer to “How long does the IVF process take when using an egg donor?” will depend on personal factors and family-building decisions, such as whether to use fresh or frozen eggs.

In this blog post, we will cover the steps and timeline involved in the egg donation process so you know what to expect during this exciting time.

The First Step: Finding a Clinic

If you are not already working with a fertility clinic, you will want to begin your IVF journey by first establishing yourself with one. We will happily refer you to one of our trusted fertility care partners if desired. 

Whether we recommend a clinic or you already have one, our team here at Everie will closely work with your fertility team throughout your entire process of choosing an egg donor. 

Pre-Cycle Testing: 1 Week

If you intend to carry the baby—as opposed to having a gestational carrier—then once you have found the clinic that is the right fit, you will work with them to have your pre-cycle lab tests conducted. You will have blood tests done to check for any hormonal abnormalities, such as AMH, TSH, and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV and chlamydia. 

If you have a male partner whose sperm will be used to fertilize the donated eggs, he will also undergo blood tests and a semen evaluation.

Medications: 10 to 14 days

Your fertility doctors will prescribe various medications to the intended mothers or gestational carrier (if you are using one) to help prepare the body for embryo transfer. Typically, this includes progesterone and estradiol, though exact medications can vary by doctor.

Fresh or Frozen Egg Donation

Once you have chosen fresh or frozen egg donation, you will have a better idea of the timing for your journey. 

If you choose to work with a fresh egg donor, then the next step in the process is the egg retrieval. Your donor will give herself daily injections of fertility medications to stimulate the production of multiple eggs for retrieval.

If you choose to use frozen eggs, then the donor has already undergone the egg retrieval process and their eggs have been preserved for later use by someone like you! 

The full egg donation process typically takes about 3 months for frozen donations and 4 to 6 months for fresh donations.

Embryo Development: 10 to 12 days

Regardless of egg donation type, the eggs undergo the same fertilization, development, and transfer process. The only difference is that fresh eggs are fertilized immediately after retrieval, while frozen eggs are cryogenically preserved and then thawed when you are ready to use them.

Either way, once the eggs are fertilized with sperm, they are incubated and begin to develop over a 5-day period into blastocysts. In another 5 to 7 days, the inner cells of these blastocysts will develop into embryos.

Embryo Transfer

Although fresh eggs are immediately fertilized after retrieval, they can be vitrified, or frozen, for later use if you (or your gestational surrogate) and the donor have not synchronized your menstrual cycles. 

As such, the timeline for how long after egg retrieval is the frozen embryo transfer can be very flexible. Frozen embryos give you the flexibility to choose your own timeline.

Once the embryos are ready for transfer, your fertility doctor will use an abdominal ultrasound to locate the best placement for the blastocyst. 

While the transfer itself is very quick (between 30 to 45 minutes) and doesn’t often require sedation, this is the beginning of the infamous “two-week wait,” which refers to this time period when the blastocyst hatches and begins attaching itself to the uterus. 

It can take your clinic up to 10 days before they’re able to confirm whether the embryo transfer has resulted in a pregnancy. 

We’re Here to Help

IVF is no easy process to undertake. Choosing to do it with donor eggs can add another layer of planning and preparation, which is exactly why Everie is here to make your experience as smooth and rewarding as possible. When it comes to growing your family through egg donation, asking questions, knowing timelines, and having a good grasp of what to expect are some of the best ways to prepare!

If you’re ready to find your Mutual Match™ with Everie, register your interest online to begin your journey. You can also learn more about what to look for in an egg donor by reading our related blog post.