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Format: 04/16/2014
Format: 04/16/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Egg donation protocol gets easier

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

By Pohla Smith

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"How do you feel this morning?" Dr. Anthony Wakim asked the young woman waiting to donate eggs for a childless couple or two.

"I'm ready to rock," Ashley, a pretty 27-year-old from Westmoreland County, responded.

Dr. Wakim smiled. That was what he was hoping to hear: a confirmation that she had easily weathered the protocol of hormone shots used at the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Fertility & Reproductive Endocrinology at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.



The protocol to prepare a donor's body for the harvesting of eggs, put in use five years ago, comprises 10 shots over nine days. The hormones given are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and a single shot of Lupron (leuprolide acetate), which suppresses the normal menstrual cycle.

It replaced a classic, widely used long protocol that included anywhere from 10 to 20 days of Lupron shots plus a course of FSH and then an injection of HCG.

At the Jones Institute of Reproductive Medicine of West Penn Allegheny Health System, an affiliate of the famed Jones Institute fertility clinic in Norfolk, Va., director Dr. Scott Kauma and his staff also use a different protocol than the classic procedure.

"In the past we maybe gave shots twice a day, now maybe once a day, the follicle stimulating hormone," he said. "That's usually given somewhere between eight and 10 days on average; it kind of depends on how a person responds. ...

"We don't use Lupron; we use ganirelix. That's only given for three to five days during the last days of stimulation." Ganirelix acetate is a newer drug.

The classic long course of Lupron, which shuts down the part of the pituitary gland that is responsible for the release of eggs from the ovaries, causes a kind of mini-menopause in the woman donor. Hot flashes are possible, but more worrisome is another possible complication called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome


To read more, visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette web site.

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