Understanding the Process of Egg Donation

Egg donation is a type of assisted reproductive technology, where a fertile woman gives away or donates an oocyte or egg to help another woman conceive. The recipient of the egg may be the woman who is of advanced maternal age, with poor egg quality; who has genetic disorders, and does not want to pass on to the child; and who has no ovaries. The egg donation procedure involves the removal of eggs or oocytes from the donor, joining them with the sperm for fertilization, and transferring the embryo or fertilized egg into a recipient’s uterus.

Also, Read: Egg Quality in Your 30’s

Step-By-Step Process of Egg Donation

The ovum donation is considered to be a complicated process, but there are fertility clinics that guide you through the process with the help of experienced medical team.

Consultation

The process starts with the first step of meeting the reproductive endocrinologists, who will explain you the treatment options and their various aspects. The doctor will also help you with the information to prepare if you decide to go for the donor egg cycle. Moreover, you should also undergo a physical examination and medical evaluation to ensure your health during pregnancy.

Tests and Screenings

You may have to undergo some tests and screenings as advised by your doctor to correct any abnormalities that could interfere with implantation or fertilization. The tests include blood tests to confirm the blood type and blood count and thyroid function, a saline sonogram, and semen analysis. The other health screenings include the latest report on Pap smear and mammogram, especially for women above 40.

Other than these, you are required to meet a psychologist, and review your plans for egg donation, and the decisions that you would face in case you would bear a child from egg donation.

Choosing a Donor

Though an important step, choosing a donor is a distinctively personal decision in the process. You can find the donor from a reputed fertility agency or a donor bank. You can also have anyone from your family or acquaintance as a known donor. However, you need to have your doctor or endocrinologist to help you ensure that the known donor is suitable for the process.

While choosing a donor, you may also have a view of the donor’s profile, which includes her medical history, family history and education. After choosing the donor, you need to get a confirmation from the donor coordinator before undergoing the egg donation process. Your doctor and the nurses should also have the information about the donor to help synchronize your cycles.

Also, Read: Egg Donation Myths

Synchronization of Recipient’s and Donor’s Cycles

The next step is to synchronize both the recipient’s and donor’s cycles to have the uterine lining in the recipient ready for implantation when the eggs are retrieved and fertilized.  This part of the process is performed by giving birth control pills. After the synchronization of the cycles, the donor through medications stimulate the growth, as well as maturation of a number of eggs. The donor is closely monitored for two weeks, while ultrasound and blood tests are performed during the time until the time the eggs are ready for retrieval. 

The recipient, on the other hand, is administered different medications for the uterine lining for the embryo implantation.

Embryo Transfer

The egg retrieval process is scheduled when the donor eggs are matured. By then, the sperm sample should be collected from your male partner or sperm donor, who should undergo a sperm donor process, on the day when the eggs are retrieved for insemination. The fertilized egg is incubated and allowed for the embryos to develop, which is generally three days. You are then called for the transfer of embryos into the uterus.

Generally, your doctor would discuss with you the transfer of embryos, which is one or two from the donor cycles. In case there are additional embryos, they will be preferred after freezing.  

Know the Sperm Donor Process

When it comes to the sperm donor process, the sperm donor men are required to undergo screening for various medical conditions to become a donor with a sperm bank. They should also:

  • Provide their complete medical and family history
  • Have undergone testing for genetic conditions
  • Be tested for communicable diseases such as HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis. The anonymous donors are to be retested for these diseases, and should test negative; their sperm would remain quarantined until then, which will take a minimum of six months.
  • Undergo the evaluation of their sperm quality

What Is the Criteria for Egg Donation?

There are a few factors considered essential for egg donation.

  • Egg donors are generally women between 21 and 35 and they are healthy and have high quantity and quality of eggs
  • They should be screened and tested negative of any infectious diseases, as well as any risk of genetic diseases.

Egg donation is a better option for couples who want to become parents, but cannot get pregnant on their own.

Also, Read: Who Are the Right Candidates for Egg Freezing

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