Egg Donation Program
Egg Donor Program Introduction
A need for egg donation may arise for a number of reasons. Couples may resort to egg donation when the female partner cannot have genetic children because her own eggs cannot generate a viable pregnancy, or because they could generate a viable pregnancy but the chances are so low that it is not advisable or not financially feasible to do IVF with her own eggs. This situation is often, but not always based on advanced reproductive age. It is also due to multiple medical reasons that a woman is unable to conceive. Many women do not have any of these medical issues, but continue to be unsuccessful using their own eggs–in other words, they have undiagnosed infertility–and thus turn to donor eggs or donor embryos. As stated above, egg donation is also helpful for LGBT parenting.
Traditional Egg Donation- Anonymous
In traditional anonymous egg donation, the intended parent (s) is matches with a single egg donor. In this process, donors are recruited either locally through print and online media or through egg donor agencies. Anonymity is created through the separation of the egg donor and recipient. The donor and recipient are synchronized in their menstrual cycles, so that the recipient is hormonally primed and ready to receive the donated eggs after fertilization and embryo transfer. The advantage of this form of egg donation that the recipient has access to a large number of high quality eggs, with the potential for high success with the initial cycle, as well as potential for future success with frozen embryos that are created after the initial cycle. The anonymity between donor and recipient also helps to prevent future entanglements and emotional stress that can result due to knowledge of the donor. This form of egg donation also can be the most expensive, especially if a donor agency is utilized.
Traditional Egg Donation-Known Donor
In egg donation using a known donor, the egg donor is generally a family member or close friend. This has a significant cost advantage, since in this scenario the donor does not received financial compensation for their services. Many individuals and couples want to know their donor. This is especially true if the donor is a family member and they may want some level of genetic connection to the donor. It is imperative, however, that the expectations for future contact and relationships between the donor, intended parents (s) and child created as a result of this treatment be fully defined in order to avoid future difficulties.
In shared donor, two or more egg donor egg recipients share a single donor. This treatment can also significantly decrease the cost of egg donation, since two parties are now splitting the total costs. On occasion a three way split of a single donor cycle can lead to an even great cost savings for the recipient individual or couple. Shared donation has the disadvantage of the recipients having access to fewer eggs, with the potential for decreased current and future success. In cases where the donor produces less than expected number of eggs, the recipients may need to understand the cycle might convert to a single donor / recipient cycle, with the possibility of enhanced cost.
Frozen Egg Banks
With the advent of exciting new technology that has allowed the possibility of freezing and successful thawing of the unfertilized egg, affordable egg donation can be even more widely utilized. In this type of treatment, the unfertilized eggs are produced by egg donors and stored either locally in individual clinics or in commercial egg banks. The recipient would receive generally 6-8 mature frozen eggs that would then be fertilized after thawing with husband, partner or donor sperm. This treatment is extremely cost-effective, since the majority of expense relates to screening and treatment of the cost, which has already been accomplished. Also, the use of commercial egg banks can allow for a large selection egg donors by the potential recipient/ intended parent (s), similar to the currently widely available commercial sperm banks. Due to excellent viability of the eggs and now proven success for initiation for pregnancy, this medical treatment is becoming increasing popular. The recipient, however, does receive fewer eggs, with the potential for decreased success as a result.
Egg Donation Cycle
Once an egg donor is chosen by a recipient from the profiles with an agency or IVF center, evaluations are necessary to ensure that the donor is fully prepared and capable of completing the donation cycle safely and successfully before any intensive medical, psychological or genetic testing is done on a donor. The donor is then required to undergo a thorough medical examination. A family history of approximately the past three generations is also required, meaning that adoptees are usually not accepted because of the lack of past health knowledge. Genetic testing is also usually done on donors to ensure that they do not carry mutations (e.g., cystic fibrosis) that could harm the resulting children.
For Intended Parents
For many people, their only chance of becoming a parent is with the help of eggs, sperm or embryos donated from another person or couple. These altruistic people make it possible for others to fulfill their dreams of parenthood. The decision to have a child using donation is a significant life event. There are many factors that need to be considered, including potential long-term psychosocial, health and legal issues.
In more cases than not, there is no ongoing relationship between the donor and recipient following the cycle. Both the donor and recipient agree in formal legal documents that the donation of the eggs is final at the time of retrieval, and typically both parties would like any “relationship” to conclude at that point; if they prefer continued contact, they may provide for that in the contract. Even if they prefer anonymity, however, it remains theoretically possible that in the future, some children may be able to identify their donor(s)using DNA databanks and/or registries (e.g., if the donor submits her DNA to a genealogy site and a child born from her donation later submits its DNA to the same site).
At the present time, the ASRM recommends that no more than 1 or 2 embryos be transferred in any given cycle. Remaining embryos are frozen, whether for future transfers if the first one fails, for siblings, or for eventual embryo donation.
Please contact the Third Party Reproduction Team for more detailed information and a confidential phone consultation for egg donation.