Donor eggs for fertility treatments
If a couple finds that they cannot be helped by procedures such as IVF, they may consider using donor eggs. The donation of eggs and sometimes donation of embryos allows a woman with fertility issues to carry the child in her uterus and give birth to it.
Donor eggs – You can be a candidate for egg donation if you meet one of the following conditions:
- Ovarian insufficiency: This syndrome causes the ovaries to produce small eggs. This condition indicates that menopause has started much earlier than usual, usually before 40. Now and again, ovarian insufficiency occurs as a result of treatments (such as chemotherapy treatments), or it has a genetic cause (for example, the Fragile X syndrome).
- A significantly diminished ovarian reserve means that you have a small number of eggs, which are also not of good quality. This is often the result of age because there is a dramatic drop in fertility after 40.
- Genetically transmitted diseases can be transmitted to your child.
- A previous history of IVF failure, especially if your doctor suspects that the quality of your eggs could be the source of the problem.
Using an egg donation is becoming very common, especially among women over the age of 40. In combination with an egg donation, IVF has the highest rate of success of all fertility procedures. In addition, women who use fresh embryos (not frozen embryos) have a 43.4% chance of falling pregnant in any cycle.
Donor eggs – Finding and choosing an egg donor
Most egg donations are made anonymously.
If you decide to use donor eggs, you need to ask the clinic if they have available donors and have already been tested and screened. For the most part, it’s best to find a donor through an agency that has multiple egg donors.
The main disadvantage of finding a donor by yourself is that you need to interview the donor yourself. It’s essential that donors be also tested for all genetic disorders or diseases such as AIDS. This is the right thing to do also for women who use a sperm donor.
Egg donor programs have different requirements but most of them do comprehensive screening and provide you with detailed information of the donor’s medical history, background, and educational level. Some programs include stringent age limitations; they don’t accept any donors older than 20, for example, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that egg donors be under the age of 34.
Donor eggs -What can you expect from the egg donation process?
The donor must be ready: Getting the donor of the eggs ready includes performing a series of tests to detect any diseases, performing genetic testing, and doing a thorough check of the donor’s and her family’s medical history.
In addition, details regarding the donor’s physical appearance (height, weight, hair colour, eye colour) and their ethnicity and education are highly relevant and vital for the process of matching. (According to the laws in Israel, the donor’s identity will remain anonymous.)
The donor will receive hormonal treatment to induce ovulation so that the maximum possible number of mature eggs can be extracted from her ovaries.
The egg donation procedure is similar to standard IVF treatment. The donor will undergo blood tests to detect infectious diseases and other tests.
The donor’s partner will also be required to undergo all the tests for infections as well as all the genetic tests to rule out being a genetic carrier of any disease. If sperm donation is used, some sperm banks perform genetic carrier screening of the donated sperm. The donor will need to undergo hormonal treatments to prepare her body for the fertilized egg/embryo. She will receive hormonal treatment that makes sure that her endometrium is sufficiently thick by the time the formed embryos are transferred.
When the eggs are ready, the eggs are then aspirated and fertilized with the sperm of the partner or the sperm donor. A few days later, the embryo or embryos are transplanted back into the donator’s uterus. The donor will continue to take hormones for about 10 weeks after this. It’s possible to also freeze the donor’s eggs for future use.
In cases where the treatment is done overseas, the sperm dose of the partner or the donor is transferred to that location (in this case, the sperm is frozen). In the overseas lab, fertilization between the sperm that was received and the donated eggs is carried out. The embryos are then returned to the donor’s uterus within two to six days of the fertilization. The reimplantation can be done in the overseas clinic or in a clinic near the recipient’s home to which the embryos have been transferred fresh or frozen under the appropriate conditions (if they are fresh, in a portable incubator or if they are frozen, in a liquid nitrogen container).
* Please note that the information on this page does not constitute advice of any kind or a recommendation to follow a procedure or not to follow a procedure. Anyone who relies on the information does so at their own risk. The accuracy of the information may change from time to time.