Egg Donation

Patient Information

We encourage you to read this information carefully before you attend your clinical screening visit.

All information is kept confidential.

The only information you will receive about the eggs donated after retrieval is whether fertilization occurred.

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is a process in which eggs (oocytes) are provided by one woman and given to another woman who wants to become pregnant. The egg donor can be a friend, family member, or an anonymous donor. The technique of egg donation is an extension of the IVF program.

It is important for you to understand the process of IVF. In doing so you will understand how the use of donor eggs is incorporated into a couple’s treatment cycle and what you would undergo to donate your eggs.

In Vitro Fertilization – Embryo Transfer (IVF-ET)

IVF describes fertilization of an egg by sperm outside the body. The egg, once fertilized, is called an embryo. Once fertilization and early cell development has occurred, the embryo is replaced into the uterus. Apart from the initial fertilization procedure (which normally occurs in the fallopian tube), the remaining development of the embryo occurs naturally within the woman’s body.

The birth of Louise Brown in 1978 occurred after years of research by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. This introduced IVF-ET techniques to the world and in 1979 the first IVF baby was born in the U.S.

As the techniques for ovulation induction, egg recovery, laboratory procedures, and embryo replacement are refined, the success rates are increasing steadily.

As an egg donor in our IVF program, you will participate in steps one and two, ovulation induction and egg retrieval. Step three and four refer to the recipient couple.

Who is an Egg Donor?

A woman between the ages of 22 and 33 can be an egg donor. She can be a friend, family member, or an anonymous donor. She can be married or single, and would preferably have children of her own.

Sources of Donors

Although egg donation is similar to sperm donation, it is not easy to maintain a large pool of egg donors.

Eggs are not as easily retrievable as sperm. Since eggs cannot be cryopreserved (frozen), there are no banks as there are sperm banks.

Anonymous donation is similar to sperm donation in that the recipient receives limited social and medical background information.

Egg Donor Requirements

  1. Be age 22 to 33 to minimize risks of chromosomal abnormalities and maximize success rates.
  2. Good health without chronic illness, psychiatric problems or substance abuse.
  3. Complete a satisfactory physical exam.
  4. Complete medical history screening and genetic screening.
  5. Satisfactorily complete psychological evaluation.
  6. Complete screening testing for infectious diseases, including testing for AIDS, hepatitis, syphilis, cultures for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  7. Give informed consent after meeting with physician and psychologist.

Once we receive your donor application, health questionnaire and genetic packet, the doctor will review the information. If you are felt to be a good candidate to be an egg donor, we will schedule you for an information session.

One other factor for potential egg donors to consider is the time committment that must be made.

Who is an Egg Recipient?

Any woman under the age of 45 whom has a uterus but has absent of poorly functioning ovaries.

Criteria in selecting eligible candidates:

  1. Absent or poorly functioning ovaries.
  2. Genetic disease presenting grave consequences to potential biological children.
  3. Ovaries that are inaccessible.
  4. Lack of success with repeated IVF procedures, attributed to ovarian function.
  5. Good health without chronic illness, psychiatric problems or substance abuse.

Synchronization of the Egg Donor and Recipient

To synchronize a donor/recipient for a fresh embryo replacement cycle, the recipient is treated with estrogen and progesterone to mimic the hormonal pattern in a normal cycle.
The length of the recipient’s cycle can be adjusted with the medication estrogen to accommodate the length of the donor stimulation cycle.

Progesterone injections are started around the time of egg retrieval to further prepare the uterus for implantation of a pregnancy.

Embryo Replacement – Recipient

Embryo transfer occurs two days after egg retrieval when the recipient is hormonally prepared and the embryos are appropriately developed.

Up to four embryos are transferred into the uterus to maximize the chance for pregnancy while reducing the risk of multiple gestation. Any excess embryos can be frozen for a later cycle for the recipient’s use.

Embryos are replaced through a small transfer catheter inserted through the cervix and gently placed in the uterus.

For more information on how to become an egg donor, call 273-2077.

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