What Is Egg Donation?
Egg donation is a process in which a woman donates eggs to another woman or couple who are unable to produce their own eggs. Egg donation is also known as oocyte donation and embryo donation, depending on the stage of fertility treatment.
Who Is Egg Donation For?
Any woman who wants to have a baby can use egg donation as part of her fertility treatment plan — no matter what her age or sexual orientation is.
Many couples choose to pursue egg donation because they've discovered that the female partner has lower than normal egg quality or quantity and cannot produce enough viable eggs for IVF procedures alone. Because these women still have viable embryos left after IVF treatments, they often select egg donation as an option because it will allow them to increase their chances of having a biological child with their partner through IVF/ICSI procedures.
Egg donation also proves very useful for old couples. Women experience a deterioration in the quality of their eggs.
Egg Donation Process
The egg donation process involves the following steps:
- Filling out an application: It's important to understand that not all women can donate eggs, and not all couples qualify for egg donation. The first step is to fill out an application and get it reviewed by a licensed physician. If you are approved, you will receive a call from the agency asking if you would like to continue with the process.
- Medical testing before treatment begins: Once you decide to continue with egg donation, you will be required to undergo blood tests and screening for infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis B, and C). Egg donors must also have a physical examination with their own doctor before going through in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. This is done so that there are no medical issues that could potentially interfere with the success of your donation cycle or pregnancy.
- Orientation and counseling: Following the medical examination, individuals who are interested in donating their eggs would be asked to attend an orientation session where their family history and medical reports would be reviewed. Once the donor has been approved for donation, she must also go through counseling to determine if she is mentally ready for the procedure.
- Approval: After you have been approved, your information will be entered into the database of egg donors, which can be viewed by couples who are looking for a donor. Most of the time, donors do not receive a match immediately, but once they do, the egg donation process begins.
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a process where the male sperm and the female egg are fertilized together in a test tube. The resultant embryo is then transplanted into the female uterus in other to help her conceive. However, unlike IVF, egg donation is when a woman donates her eggs to another woman who cannot conceive for one reason or another.
Most fertility clinics do not allow an individual to donate eggs more than six times. This is done in order to protect the person from possible health risks.
The risks involved in egg donation include the following: Hormonal imbalances - These can lead to irregular periods or missed periods (amenorrhea). Women who have problems with their menstrual cycle should talk with their doctor or nurse about the possibility of being treated with hormones, so they have regular menstrual cycles before starting the egg donation process. Possible ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) - It is a condition that occurs when there are too many follicles in one ovary. This usually doesn't happen when women take their medications as directed by their doctors, but if you do get OHSS, your ovaries may enlarge and become painful, which could make it hard for you to walk or lift objects. The symptoms of OHSS generally go away within three days of stopping treatment and are treated with bed rest and fluids by your health care provider. Infection of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) - This infection can cause pain in your lower abdomen or back and fever. It's treated with antibiotics by your doctor.
Donating an egg does not reduce a person's chance of getting pregnant because egg donation does not affect one's fertility. If someone has trouble getting pregnant after donating an egg, then it is possible that their partner may be infertile.
A woman who donates her eggs to a clinic is usually in her early 20s and must have both ovaries. She should be physically and psychologically healthy and have a BMI between 19 and 29. She should not be a carrier of inheritable genetic disorders, and she should have regular menstrual cycles.