Egg donation is a procedure by which a fertile woman can assist another woman to conceive by donating her egg, or oocyte. It is also known as assisted reproductive technology or ART. An egg or eggs from the donor are normally removed via surgery and fertilized in a lab, and the resulting embryos are subsequently placed in the uterus of the recipient. Doctors accomplish this entire process using an implantation technique like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In some cases, people may also decide to freeze some or all of the embryos for potential fertility use in the future or for implantation in different women. Egg donation frequently helps women who are unable to use their own eggs due to various reasons like ovarian failure, older age, or who want to avoid congenital defects in their fetuses.
How is the egg donation procedure performed?
A woman who wishes to undertake egg donation must follow the following steps:
Eligibility: The woman must satisfy a fertility center's requirements before they can donate.
Screening: Before being approved as a donor, a woman might need to attend a few medical appointments for:
- Psychological evaluation
- Physical evaluation
- Gynecological evaluation
- Blood and urine tests
- Collection of family medical history
Matching: A woman must also match with a family looking for donated eggs. The process of egg donation procedure can start with the donor woman’s approval.
Medications: A woman is given hormonal drugs to help stimulate her ovaries and mature their eggs throughout the first 10 to 12 days of their donation cycle. Blood tests to measure her hormone levels are also performed.
Egg retrieval: Once the eggs are prepared, the physician gives the donor woman an hCG trigger shot. The donor is then instructed to visit the fertility clinic for egg retrieval after 34 to 36 hours. The eggs are then carefully extracted from the ovaries over the course of 15 to 20 minutes. Since retrieval is done while the donor is sedated, she does not feel any discomfort.
Recovery: After the sedation wears off the physician gives the donor guidelines to follow for proper healing. Generally, the donor is advised to relax and get some rest the next day.
What are the steps to prepare for the Egg Donation procedure?
In the first step, throughout the egg donor's menstrual cycle, she is administered a variety of injectable drugs. These drugs encourage the woman’s ovaries to release multiple eggs. Such medications may include:
Lupron (leuprorelin): To control body hormonal balance.
Cetrotide (cetrorelix) and Antagon (ganirelix): To stop the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Follicle stimulating hormone: To help create more eggs/follicles in the ovaries and also help mature them.
Physicians initially give human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to the woman undergoing the process of egg donation, which is also known as a “trigger shot.” Physicians then remove the eggs from the ovaries via the process of egg retrieval. A special needle attached to the transvaginal ultrasound device is passed through the woman’s vaginal wall to her ovary and the eggs are suctioned. The eggs are then sent to an embryologist for its evaluation before it is used for fertilization.
Is there any risk associated with the egg donation procedure?
Egg donation is typically a safe procedure with no long-term health hazards. Nevertheless, there are a few hazards to be aware of:
Pregnancy: During the medication cycle, the donor woman runs the chance of getting pregnant if she engages in sexual activity without using a condom or another barrier.
Weight gain: A temporary weight increase of 3 to 5 pounds is possible while taking medicines for egg donation in this process.
Unwanted effects of medication: A donor woman may suffer the following negative effects from taking injectable medications:
- Chronic headaches
- Mood swings
- Swelling of ovaries
Giving one’s eggs away can be very satisfying and financially liberating. A woman may choose what is best for her and her future after she becomes aware of the complications and also the benefits of egg donation.
A donor woman’s fertility is increased at this time due to the medication they are given to prepare their eggs, which also increases their chances of getting pregnant.
A willing egg donor should contact her nearby reproductive clinic for more information and consider her unique circumstances in addition to conducting her own research.
These drugs are administered via self-injecting injection. Before administering the shots on her own, the egg donor is given hands-on instruction.
The collected eggs are either frozen or fertilized with sperm to create embryos. The uterus of the birth parent or a surrogate is then implanted with the embryo.
Generally, donors must be between the ages of 21 and 34. A woman who has already given birth or successfully donated eggs may receive further remuneration from some facilities.