a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)
Week: 531.5 Guest: Dr. Margaret Swain, RN/Attorney, Creative Family Options Topic: Egg Donor Program and the In-Vitro Process Producer/Host: Steve Girard
NEMA: Many couples are choosing a process of in-vitro fertilization that involves using another woman's egg to conceive a child. Today, we talk with Margaret Swain, a nurse and attorney who owns Creative Family Options.
SWAIN: What we do is recruit young women who are interested in participating as egg donors on behalf of couples who have been unable to have children on their own. We look for young women, generally through advertisements in community newspapers...when someone calls in response to one of our ads, we give them information about the process, being sure to include the fact that its a significant commitment, both time wise and from an emotional standpoint. We work with the donors and the couples throughout the IVF process, and hopefully provide support to both parties as they go through the procedures. I have a number of years of experience as a registered nurse, so I do have that background, and also a legal background that better enables me to understand the process from a legal standpoint.
NEMA: Margaret, give us the outline of the process after a women decides to be a donor....
SWAIN: A psychological consultation will be undergone by the donor, once she's been approved from that perspective, then she'll have preliminary testing to assess her suitability from a physical standpoint, to participate as a donor. Once that's been completed, and she's been chosen by a couple, and entered into an agreement to participate as their donor, she's then ready to begin the medical process...what will happen is the donor will undergo a series of medical treatments to suppress her natural hormone surges. The second part of the protocol involves the administration of medication to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs than they would during a regular menstrual cycle. Then the donor is given an injection of a medication to mature the eggs that have formed, and approximately 33 to 34 hours after that final medication injection, she is then asked to undergo a surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs. The donor's participation is concluded after she has had the procedure.
NEMA: How do follow up with the donor to assure the process was a positive one for her?
SWAIN: Admittedly, there may be some psychological implications to this type of process. As they go through it, again, we offer our support to them, and encourage them to give us feedback if there's a problem that they're having while they're participating. We can refer them back to the counselor that they originally saw for some additional support as they go through the process...and also send them a survey, so they can tell us how they felt. Did they feel prepared, were there any surprises? Were they comfortable with the process...and, what did they get out of it from an emotional standpoint. Of the surveys that have been returned to us, overwhelming majority of them state," this has been a very good experience for me."
NEMA: What advice do you have for infertile couples who feel IVF is the right thing for them.....
SWAIN: The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is a professional organization of physicians, nurses, psychologists, scientists, lawyers...who are interested and are working in this field...there is a group of ASRAM called the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, and that organization will let an interested couple know which physicians in their area have a practice that concentrates on IVF and possibly on donor egg as well.
NEMA: Our thanks to Margaret Swain of Creative Family Options. She emphasizes that the amount of money paid to the donor is not the impetus for her actions...its the wish to help someone else that motivates her. I'm Steve Girard.