Egg donation is a form of fertility treatment in which a donor anonymously gives her eggs to an infertile patient in order to help her become a parent. Once donated, the eggs are fertilised with the recipient partner's sperm (or donor sperm if required) as in conventional IVF, and then transferred to the recipient for pregnancy. Egg donation, therefore, unlike adoption, means that the recipient couple still has a strong genetic link with the child.
There are several reasons why a woman might need donor eggs:
She does not produce eggs of her own, often because of older maternal age
She may have experienced a premature menopause
She may have had treatment for cancer and as a result has lost the normal function of her ovaries
She may be at risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder
Requirements to become an Egg donor?
In order to become an egg donor there are specific requirements set out by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology. Egg donors, therefore, need to meet the following criteria:
Please review the following minimum qualifications to become an egg donor.
Be between the ages of 18 and 35 years
Be fit and healthy with a BMI between 20 and 30
Have regular, monthly menstrual periods
Not using contraceptive implants or birth control
Be a non-smoker
Have measurements of ovarian reserve (an indication of egg supply) within the normal range
Have no previous history of low ovarian response to ovarian stimulation for IVF
Have both ovaries in place
Have no personal history of transmissible diseases
Have no personal or family history of inheritable diseases
Have no untreated polycystic ovarian disease
No current use of psychoactive drugs
No family history of inheritable genetic disorders
Willing to take injections
Process for the Recipient Couple:
Ideally, the recipient’s cycle will be synchronized with the donor’s cycle. This is accomplished by administering a combination of two or three hormonal medications. Estrogen is added shortly after the period starts and changed daily until the recipient’s and donor’s cycles match.
Hormonal medications will be used to manipulate a regular 28-day menstrual cycle and keep the recipient and donor on the same cycle.
Being on the identical cycle offers the best chance of having the lining of the recipient’s uterus prepared to support the embryo.
The male partner will provide a semen sample on the same day that eggs are retrieved from the donor.
The semen and eggs are fertilized in a laboratory using in vitro fertilization.
Progesterone treatment begins on the day after eggs are retrieved from the donor.
The embryo transfer normally occurs two-five days after the eggs were initially retrieved.
A blood test will be performed 14 days later to determine if pregnancy has occurred.
The recipient should also be aware of early signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Most donor recipients will also stay on both progesterone and estrogen until about 10 weeks into the pregnancy, when the placenta can provide these hormonal needs on its own.
Success rate of Pregnancy Using Donor Eggs:
The success rate will vary depending upon age of eggs, retrieval process, quality of semen, and the overall health of the women involved. In most cases, younger eggs are preferable. Egg donation carries the same risks as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer and there is a 20-25% chance that the pregnancy will involve multiples. Pregnancies from donor eggs carry the same 3-5% risk of birth defect as natural pregnancy.