Egg donation is a variant of IVF treatment in which an egg donor provides eggs which are fertilised with sperm either from the woman’s partner or from a sperm donor. The donated eggs are fertilised in a laboratory and the resultant embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus where it develops normally. The great attraction of egg donation is that the eggs may be donated by someone else but the recipient is the real mother in almost every sense.
Who is the Egg Donation Experience Suitable For?
There are a number of reasons why couples trying to conceive opt for egg donation. There may be an infertility problem with either partner, but the most common reasons tend to be:
- Poor egg quality because of advanced maternal age. Egg quality decreases as a woman ages, particularly after the age of 37
- Women without ovaries but a fully functioning uterus
- Women with negative genetic factors they want to avoid passing on to their children
What Does the Egg Donation Procedure Involve?
- Synchronisation: The initial stage is the process of bringing the recipient’s menstrual cycle into coordination with that of the donor’s. This is usually accomplished through the use of oral contraceptives and helps ensure that the recipient’s reproductive system is fully prepared to receive the fertilised embryo at the right moment.
- Ovarian Stimulation: once the menstrual cycles are synchronised the donor receives hormone injections to increase her production of eggs. Women naturally produce one egg per month but the injections allow the donor to produce and mature many more simultaneously.
- Ultrasound check: on the 10th day of the joint menstrual cycle the recipient’s uterus is checked to ensure the lining is sufficiently thick to accommodate the embryo.
- Egg Retrieval: around the 15th day of the cycle the egg donor is put under sedation and an ultrasound guided needle is inserted into the mature follicles to retrieve the eggs. On the same day sperm from the recipient’s partner, or a selected donor, is collected and used to fertilise the retrieved eggs in the laboratory, following standard IVF procedure.
- Embryo Cultivation: the embryos, closely watched, are allowed to mature for 3 to 5 days before transfer to the recipient’s uterus.
- Embryo Transfer: after cultivation, usually around the 20th day of the cycle, one to two embryos are transferred to the recipient’s uterus where they will be expected to develop through the stages of a normal pregnancy. Any unused embryos can be preserved by freezing for later use.
After the recipient has returned home prescribed hormonal medications are taken to encourage pregnancy. Two weeks after the embryo transfer a pregnancy test is taken. If the result is positive the medications are continued up to the 12th week of pregnancy, and thereafter discontinued.
Chances of Success
The chances of a successful pregnancy resulting from egg donation will depend on many factors including the age of the egg donor, the retrieval process, the quality of the sperm used and the general health of the recipient.
The chances of success are of course increased with treatment at a reliable, accredited clinic such as the Gynem Fertility Clinic in Prague, Czech Republic. Gynem is a family-run clinic headed by Dr Milan Mrázek who has 37 years experience as an obstetrician and 24 years experience in assisted reproduction. With its consistently top-of-the-range technology, and top-flight IVF specialists the Gynem Clinic is one of Europe’s most visited clinics for Egg Donation and other IVF treatments.