Who should consider using an egg donor?
Egg donation is used for a woman who wishes to have a child but cannot get pregnant with her own eggs. This may be because:
- She was born without ovaries
- Is in menopause
- Did not respond adequately to hormonal stimulation of her ovaries in the past
- Has had poor egg or embryo quality with previous IVF attempts.
- Women may also choose to use a donor if they have a genetic disease that they do not want to pass on to their children.
What tests are performed on the donor?
- The donor is tested for infections such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.
- All donors should be tested to be sure that they are not carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene.
- Other genetic testing should be performed based on the donor’s history. Some programs perform chromosome analysis and test for Fragile X syndrome.
- Psychometric testing is often done as part of the mental health screening.
How is the donor prepared for the egg transfer?
In order to retrieve multiple eggs from the donor’s ovaries, the donor must be given a combination of hormonal medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs within the ovary. This technique is called ovulation induction. Once the doctor feels that you have reached the criteria to proceed to the egg retrieval, he’ll order some medications. The medications may include a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRH-a) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone, to finalize growth and maturation of the eggs. This injection is very carefully timed so that the egg retrieval will occur at the optimal time just before ovulation occurs.
What happens during egg donation?
Egg retrieval typically takes place under some form of sedation, so you will not feel any pain. A needle is attached to an internal ultrasound probe, which is inserted into the vagina. The doctor uses the ultrasound to see the ovaries and locate the ovarian follicles. The needle punctures each follicle and a gentle suction is applied to remove the egg and fluid within the follicle. The retrieval lasts about 30 minutes.
What happens after donation?
Afterward, you may notice some cramping similar to menstrual cramping. The doctor may prescribe pain medication, although Tylenol is usually sufficient to relieve any discomfort. Many women feel fine the next day, while others need to rest longer. To prevent infection, you will be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection. Also, you might be given a steroid to reduce any inflammation in the reproductive organs, and hormonal supplements to provide extra support to the endometrial lining. It is important to take these medications exactly as prescribed.
What risks are there with egg donation?
Egg donors can expect to feel particularly bloated during the immediate period before and after the retrieval, since the hormone medications they take will cause their ovaries to swell and produce many eggs. Egg Donors may also experience temporary weight gain.
What is the chance that a donor egg cycle will result in pregnancy?
Research has shown that there is about a 48% to 50% chance of conceiving using donor eggs. For women above the age of 40, who in general have a lower quality and quantity of eggs, the chances of conceiving with a donor egg is 5 times more than with their own eggs.