Egg Donation Process
Women are born with all the eggs they will have throughout their lives. As they age, so do their eggs. This makes the eggs vulnerable to abnormalities that can impact the ability to conceive and produce a healthy baby. Couples and/or individuals struggling with infertility, for whom treatment will not help, may consider egg donation. Same-sex couples desiring to create a family may also need donated eggs. Egg donation can allow an infertile woman to carry a pregnancy and give birth.
Women Who May Choose Egg Donation
- Women with early menopause or premature ovarian failure. This is a condition where menopause starts before the age of 40. It affects about 1% of women.
- Women with reduced ovarian reserves may have eggs of low quality, often due to an age-related decline in fertility.
- Women with a history of genetic disease that could be transmitted to offspring.
- Women who do not respond to ovarian stimulation.
- Women who have had removal of their ovaries.
- A woman who has failed IVF, likely due to problems with her eggs.
The reproductive specialists at Ohio reproductive Medicine are board-certified experts who have the compassion and expertise to help future parents, and donors through every step of the process to assure a good experience for both intended parents and donors.
The Egg Donation Process
To optimize the chances of a successful pregnancy, the recipient will receive a medical evaluation and physical exam. The risks of pregnancy increase as a woman ages, so older women will receive testing to identify and correct issues that could interfere with fertilization and implantation; and include a semen analysis of the partner, a sonogram of the uterus, and basic blood tests. The goal is for the recipient to enter pregnancy in the healthiest state possible.
- A potential egg donor can be a friend or relative (designated donor), or an unknown woman. Characteristics of the ideal egg donor include a woman under the age of 34, who has a normal ovarian reserve and no infertility. The most ideal are young donors between ages 20 and 30. The potential donor is tested for communicable diseases including STDs, Hepatitis, HIV, etc. They may also be screened for certain common genetic disorders. They will meet with our counselor and undergo a psychological evaluation.
Choosing a donor is a personal decision. The recipient will have access to the donor’s background, medical history, educational level, and family history. The intended parent(s) may also choose personal characteristics and physical qualities.
- Legal Issues. The law on third-party reproduction varies by state. A contract with the egg donor should spell out the donor’s legal rights as well as the rights of intended parents. Issues should be addressed in a written agreement, including who has the right to control or dispose of frozen embryos. Also, the compensation of the donor accounts for their time, inconvenience, discomfort, and risks. The medical costs are borne by the intended parent(s).
Once chosen, the process begins.
- Cycle Synchronization. The key to success is synchronization between the recipient’s and the donor’s menstrual cycles, so the recipient is ready for implantation when the donor eggs are retrieved and fertilized. Birth control pills are used to accomplish synchronization. Other medications will be used to maintain a regular cycle and keep the donor and recipient in sync.
- Donor Suppression and ovarian stimulation. Once synchronization is achieved, the donor will receive injected medications to suppress the donor’s normal ovarian function. Then, the donor will receive a series of hormones to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The donor is monitored by ultrasound and blood tests for 10 days to two weeks until the eggs are ready to be retrieved. The intended parent is also taking medications to prepare her uterine lining for implantation.
- Egg retrieval. When the donor eggs are mature, egg harvesting will be scheduled. On the day of harvesting, the sperm donor or partner will provide a sperm sample, for insemination of the eggs. The eggs are retrieved through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration of the eggs from the ovaries. This procedure occurs under sedation and usually takes about 30 minutes.
- This occurs in the lab where the mature eggs and sperm are united for fertilization. This is how the embryos for transfer are created. The intended parents can decide on how many embryos are to be transferred. A single embryo transfer eliminates the possibility of multiples. Good quality embryos that are not transferred may be frozen for future use.
- Embryo Transfer. Transfer of the embryo(s) into the intended mother’s uterus occurs 2-5 days after the eggs were fertilized. Ten days later, the intended mother will receive a blood test to determine if she is pregnant.
At Ohio Reproductive Medicine in Columbus, Ohio we understand this is an emotional time, filled with excitement, frustration, anxiety, and anticipation. We humbly offer to you the assistance you need in your journey to parenthood. Our friendly office staff will make you feel at home. When considering egg donation, call Ohio Reproductive Medicine. You are in good hands with our experts, and state-of-the-art facilities and services, to give you peace of mind.