Home Health & Fitness Donating Eggs – An Introduction

Donating Eggs – An Introduction

by Erica Farmer
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Many couples have a difficult time conceiving for various reasons. For some women, their ovaries cannot produce enough eggs to be able to conceive. In these cases, they can use donated eggs from another woman to become pregnant. These donated eggs can be obtained from an OVOGENE Donor Bank from a donor or can be a relative or friend that you ask personally. Because egg donation is a lot more complex than sperm donation, there are a lot more restrictions that come with it as well.

 

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Eggs generally can be donated by women between the ages of 21-35. 21 for legal reasons and 35 because any older than that, the less fertile the donor women are. There are other medical and legal restrictions as well, depending on the clinic. Some places prefer to receive donations from women who have successfully donated before or women who have a track record of fertility. Because the process of donating eggs is so involved, medical professionals want to allow for the best outcome.

The Process

Again, egg donation is very complicated and involved. It involves multiple preliminary visits to the infertility clinic for physical and psychological examinations. Various tests will be done to ensure viability. Additionally, the doctor and other medical personnel will go over extensively the legal and medical ramifications of the entire process. This process of informing the donor has not always been up to par. Recent government regulations have provided every opportunity for the donor and the recipient to be adequately informed.

Once the donor is approved medically, psychologically, and legally, the egg donor will go through a 40-minute surgery to remove her eggs. Then the donated egg will be fertilized in vitro, i.e. in a test tube until fertilization into an embryo is successful.

Once the egg is successfully fertilized, the embryo or embryos will be surgically transplanted into the recipient woman. Once the process is complete and the recipient woman gives birth to the child, the child becomes legally her child.

Donor Eggs & Donor Embryos

The quality of a woman’s eggs is directly related to fertility and is crucial to conception. Some of a woman’s eggs will be so-called good eggs while some will not. Age is among one of the biggest factors affecting egg quality in a woman. Egg Quality, as well as quantity, declines significantly with age. A woman In her late 30s and 40s has a greater proportion of bad eggs. Poor egg quality can result in an egg not being properly implanted in the uterus even though it has been fertilized. Eggs that are successfully implanted may not be healthy enough to survive and result in miscarriage. Possible solutions for poor egg quantity or quality include IVF, using donor eggs or embryos.

Egg donation is the process by which a woman provides one or several for purposes of ART.

Similarly, embryo donation is the process by which a woman who has undergone IVF provides one or several of her unused frozen embryos for ART. In both cases, the donor may be known or anonymous.

Donor Eggs: An infertile female may seek donor eggs, usually up to 15 eggs (ova, oocytes), when she does not have eggs that can be successfully fertilized, often due to advanced reproductive age. Alternatively, a female may seek donor eggs if she has an early onset of menopause, or was born without ovaries.

First, the couple needs to decide whether to use the eggs from a friend/family member or an anonymous donor. Egg donors are usually anonymous and non-anonymous donors at OVOGENE Egg Bank. When the donor is anonymous, the recipient typically has access to her ethnic background, physical characteristics, educational record, and occupation. The couple receiving the egg donation may choose to meet with the egg donor if she agrees. Most donors are under 30 years of age (21-29) and have undergone medical, genetic, and psychological screening. Once the eggs have been obtained, the role of the egg donor is complete, as the eggs are then fertilized in the laboratory. Couples who undergo IVF with donor eggs have about a 30 to 50 percent chance of having a baby per IVF cycle.

Donor Embryos: An infertile couple may see donor embryos, which are the combined sperm and eggs of a 3rd party.

The donor may be known or anonymous. Typically the donor is a woman, who has successfully or unsuccessfully undergone IVF treatment and has frozen embryos she does not plan to use for herself. Not all women who have undergone IVF treatment give away their unused embryos. Some may, alternatively, choose to keep them frozen indefinitely, donate them for use in embryonic stem cell research or discard them.

Usually, embryo donations are handled by an embryo bank or fertility clinic. The embryo bank or fertility clinic will keep the embryos cryogenically preserved until they are a match is made between the embryo with the embryo recipient. When a woman donates one of her embryos, the newborn child is considered the woman carrier, the same as occurs with sperm donation. Each donor embryo will have undergone some testing and screening but this depends on the genetic parents’ IVF process and clinic. The embryo recipient may opt for having her embryologist conduct further screening and testing of the embryo.

Couples seeking donor eggs or embryos are should ask their clinic how the donor eggs or donor embryos were screened to ensure adequate testing and background checks were conducted.

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