What is the Donor Egg Program?
Egg donation is a procedure where a fertile woman’s eggs are removed, fertilized with sperm, and then implanted into the infertile woman or a surrogate mother.
For the purpose of assisted reproduction , egg donation typically involves the process of In Vitro Fertilization as the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory. Sometimes, unfertilized eggs are frozen and stored for later use by the intended parents.
When is Donor Egg recommended?
Egg donation is needed for patients who either have no or few eggs, or who based on previous failed treatments have eggs that are of poor quality. Most commonly this is due to premature menopause, menopause or advanced maternal age.
The primary indication for egg donation was originally for women with premature ovarian failure (POF), defined as menopause occurring before the age of 40 years. POF affects approximately 1% of the female population; in effect, this condition indicates depletion of a woman’s own eggs and cessation of ovarian function.
Other potential candidates for egg donation include: women who have previously failed multiple IVF attempts, particularly when poor egg quality is suspected, and women carrying transmittable genetic abnormalities which could affect their offspring (this latter indication has declined with the development and use of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD).
How is the Process done?
The egg donation process consists of two phases.
In the first phase, Ovarian Stimulation, donors receive a series of hormonal drugs which cause the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs during one menstrual cycle. Please read more about the Procedure to know more details.
During the second phase, egg retrieval, mature eggs are removed from the donor through a surgical procedure called Transvaginal ultrasound Aspiration. Using a tube attached to an ultrasound probe, a physician guides a suctioning needle into each ovary and removes mature oocytes from the follicles. A medication such as oral promethazine may be used to prevent nausea during the procedure. Following egg retrieval, donors generally remain in the clinic for 1-2 hours and then return home for further recovery. An antibiotic such as oral doxycycline will be prescribed to prevent infection, and donors should undergo a follow-up exam and ultrasound one week after the retrieval.
Advantages of Donor Eggs
Because donor eggs come from young and fertile women, success rates for donor-egg IVF can be as much as two or three times higher than with regular IVF in women ages 40 and older.
Also for females who cannot produce an egg due to Premature Ovarian Failure, Donor eggs give them a chance to become pregnant and breast feed like any other mother would.
Donor Eggs involve fertilization using your Husband’s sperms, hence making the child 50% genetically related to the couple.
The risks to the donor are considered to be minimal and short-term. Risks include the possibility of small amount of bleeding or pelvic infection (less than a 1% chance). Equally, there is a 1% – 2% risk of excessive ovarian stimulation (too many eggs being produced) despite careful monitoring. In such a case, the donation cycle will probably be abandoned and treatment would be commenced to regularize your menstrual cycle.
Success Rate of IVF with Donor Eggs
Using donor eggs and embryos, you’ll have about a 60 percent chance of giving birth to a child.