Egg donation is the process of donating a female egg cell to help an intended mother with pregnancy. With the rise of promising medical technologies, it is possible today to have a child and start a family, even if the woman is unable to produce an egg or has other reproductive issues. Receiving an egg from another female can solve the problem of infertility and facilitate conception.
When is egg donation required?
Egg donation is the medical process where a female reproductive cell, commonly referred to as an egg, is donated to a woman with reproductive issues. There can be several issues that can interfere with a conventional pregnancy.
- The woman is born without ovaries.
- The woman is in menopause.
- The woman has complications regarding her ovaries.
- The woman has poor-quality eggs.
- The woman has a genetic disease or has had cancer or chlamydia in the past, which they do not want their children to get.
- The woman has some genetic or psychological issues she does not want to pass on to the child.
- The woman has tried conceiving in the traditional way, and it has not worked out.
Terms to Know Before Getting an Egg Donation
Before getting an egg donated, one should familiarise oneself with the terms one will often hear.
An egg, also called an ovum, is a reproductive cell produced by the female body. When an egg comes in contact with the sperm cell, it forms a zygote, which then makes the human baby.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a laboratory technique to fertilise eggs with sperm cells externally or outside the human body. This medical procedure is performed in special medical facilities known as IVF laboratories.
Mature ovum or eggs are retrieved from a female donor through a small surgery, and sperm cells are introduced to the egg. Once fertilisation has taken place, it forms an embryo.
Although an IVF procedure can take several months to show results, it is one of the most effective ways available.
An embryo is the final product of the IVF process. It forms after the sperm has united with the egg, forming a zygote. The embryo is transplanted into the recipient female, who carries on the pregnancy.
Who can donate an egg?
There are rules about who can donate an egg or apply for an egg donation program in India.
- A female with ovaries.
- Must be between 21 and 35 years of age.
- The donor must have a healthy lifestyle—a healthy body and higher education are preferred.
- The donor should not smoke or use recreational drugs.
- The donor should not have a genetic ailment.
- The donor should pass the psychological evaluation tests.
- Must be willing and can go through the medical procedures required for the donation.
- Must have a regular menstrual cycle.
What is the egg donation process?
The intended donor is tested on various criteria, such as whether they have HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, or if they are carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene. Donors are also checked for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, gonorrhoea, and ethnicity.
After a donor is selected, she is put under medication so that her cycle and the recipient's menstrual cycle are synced. Medicines are given to suppress the donor's menstrual cycle. Moreover, the medications help produce multiple immature eggs called oocytes. Up to seven oocytes can be retrieved from the donor.
Once the cycle is synced and eggs are retrieved from the donor, mature eggs are fertilised with sperm cells in an IVF laboratory. When an egg is successfully fertilised, it is transferred into the recipient's uterus for the embryo to develop into a human baby.
What are the rules for egg donation in India?
India follows a set of rules for egg donation, which, if violated, can result in severe punishment.
- A married woman with a child of at least three years of age can donate eggs.
- The IVF laboratory must have a license to perform such procedures and share all information with the National Registry.
- The donor should be between 21 to 35 years of age.
- The donor will not have parental and legal rights over the child.
- Clinics are barred from performing any sex-determining services.
- It is illegal to sell gametes, and if violated, this will cost a huge fine.
- All parties should provide written consent before the beginning of the procedure.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) is a technique to proceed with non-traditional pregnancies for people who want children but cannot physically produce them. In these cases, gamete (egg or sperm) donors help intended parents have a child and start a family.
Anyone who meets the criteria for donating an egg like age, tests, etc, can donate eggs.
Egg donation costs in India can range from Rs. 30000 to Rs. 60000.
Like all medical treatments, egg donation carries mild side effects.
Visit your local IVF centre to find egg donors of your choice.
Egg donation has a success rate ranging from 50 - 90% from the first to third tries, respectively.