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City Fertility Centre operates a comprehensive egg donor program to give women who cannot produce eggs, or are unable to use the eggs they produce, the opportunity to fall pregnant and have a baby.

The decision to use donated eggs is life-changing, and we strive to share as much information about the process as possible. Our nurse coordinators provide ongoing support throughout the process, and are available to discuss any issues or answer any questions you may have about our egg donor program and the procedures involved.

 

Who Requires Donor Eggs?

Women and couples who experience infertility turn to donor eggs in the hopes of achieving pregnancy. Women may require donor eggs due to factors such as:

  • Premature menopause.
  • They are unable to use their own eggs due to genetic causes.
  • They have been repeatedly unsuccessful using an IVF program.
  • They were born without ovaries.
  • They have undertaken treatment for cancer.

 

Who can be an Egg Donor?

Women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds can donate their eggs if they meet these criteria:

  • Aged 21-32 if clinic-recruited. Egg donors over 32 will not be accepted for clinic-recruited donation. The suitable age of a known egg donor must be discussed with your specialist.
  • Healthy with no history of inherited disease. Donors will not be accepted if they suffer from an illness, disease or genetic condition that can be passed on to a child conceived from the donation.
  • Women who are adopted cannot donate unless genetic family history is known.
  • If married or in a de facto relationship, the women’s husband/partner must consent to the donation. Where a married couple is separated but not divorced, it is recommended that the husband agrees to the procedure.
  • Clinic-recruited donors must have a permanent address and be contactable for follow-up medical tests. They are required to provide three identifiers and proof of a permanent address, e.g. driver’s licence, photo ID and passport.
  • Clinic-recruited egg donors must be eligible for full Medicare benefits in Australia.

 

Types of Donors

Known Donation

If the recipient already has a relationship with the donor, whether they are a sister, relative or friend, this is called a known donation. Having someone you know undergo IVF procedures to provide the eggs offers several benefits, including knowing the genetic origin of the eggs and reduced wait times.

When a known donor is over 35 years of age, the recipient is advised of the increased risk of issues, including miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. If the recipient chooses to use an egg from a donor in these circumstances, this will be at the clinician’s discretion.

 

Clinic-recruited Donation

When a woman makes the decision to provide eggs to a woman she does not know, this is known as a clinic-recruited donation. In this situation, the recipient has never met the donor, and the donor has the choice to remain unknown to the recipient. However, it is mandatory for a donor to agree to release identifying information (name, date of birth, address) to a child conceived as a result of her donation.

Due to a decrease in the number of volunteer clinic-recruited donors, we encourage recipients to find a known donor.

 

What is Required to Become an Egg Recipient?

*The order of these steps/requirements may vary depending on your circumstances.

 

IVF Cycle for the Egg Donor

Egg donors are required to undergo an IVF cycle to retrieve the eggs.

 

Quarantine Period for Eggs

It is recommended (but not compulsory) that the donated eggs are fertilised and then stored for a quarantine period of six months before they are transferred to the recipient. At the end of the quarantine period, the egg donor is rechecked that she does not harbour one of the following transmissible viruses:

  • HIV (AIDS)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C.

We understand that some patients regard it as important enough (for their own reasons) to have the embryos transferred immediately and they are willing to accept this risk of infection. Should you decide to have the eggs or embryos transferred “fresh” in this way, you will be required to sign a waiver stating that you accept this risk and responsibility for your own decision.

Pre-Treatment for the Egg Recipient

Women who do not Have Normal Ovarian Cycles

Women who do not have ovaries, or have ovaries that do not produce eggs, will require hormone treatment to prepare the womb (uterus) for a pregnancy. This is because the endometrium (lining of the womb) needs to be prepared before a fertilised egg or embryo will implant in the womb.

The two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, prepare the endometrium for implantation. If you take these two hormones in the correct amounts and in the correct order, it is possible to mimic what would happen in a normal cycle, even if you do not have functioning ovaries.

Your specialist will tell you when to start taking the medications, the required dosage and when to increase it. You will also be advised when to make an appointment for an ultrasound scan to measure the thickness of your endometrium.

 

 

Women with Normal Ovarian Cycles

Monitoring begins two or three days before we estimate you would normally ovulate. This can be done by daily blood tests to measure estrogen, luteinising hormone (LH) and progesterone until one day after ovulation, or by ultrasound scan to measure the size of the follicle and thickness of the endometrium.

Women with apparently normal ovarian function may be advised to have a hormone treatment cycle (as described above).

It is important for you to be aware that treatment will vary from person to person and it can be misleading to compare your treatment with others.

Embryo Transfer (ET) for Egg Recipient

Embryos may be transferred from the culture dish into the uterus (womb) at different stages of development.

Embryo transfer is a simple procedure that does not require a general anaesthetic.  However, you may find it helpful for your partner to be present for this procedure, to support you and be part of the experience. The transfer itself is similar to a pap smear and the same instrument (speculum) is used to open the vagina. A fine tube containing the embryos is passed through the cervix and into the uterus to place them inside.

After Transfer

You will be able to go home shortly after transfer and spend the rest of the day resting. The following day, we suggest you resume your normal lifestyle. However, you should avoid strenuous physical activities or becoming overheated with saunas, hot spas and sunbaking. You will also be required to refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol during this period where pregnancy is not confirmed.

The nurse coordinator will give you specific instructions after the transfer. A pregnancy test is performed 14-16 days after embryo transfer.

Embryo Freezing

This procedure can be performed if:

  • Viable embryos are available in excess of those used for the fresh-embryo transfer
  • Vaginal bleeding makes transfer of the fresh embryos undesirable
  • It has not been possible to synchronise the recipient’s cycle with the donor’s.

Questions for Consideration

Here are some questions you may wish to consider before committing yourself to treatment:

  • What are your feelings about creating a family where only one partner will be a genetic parent?
  • What are your feelings about parenting a child to whom you have no genetic link (if both donors, egg and sperm, are used)?
  • What are your feelings about being a single parent (if you are undergoing treatment as a single woman)?
  • Do both partners agree to use donated eggs?
  • How do you feel about the loss of fertility – has there been enough time to go through the grieving process?
  • What if the outcome is unsuccessful – will it impact on your relationship?
  • What about the possible offspring – do they have the right to know? What if they wish to contact the donor?
  • Who needs to know about this (family, friends, work, etc.)?

Legal Implications

City Fertility Centre encourages all individuals/couples to seek independent legal advice before attending the donor program. Please visit our Legalities and Requirements page for more information.

 

If you would like further information regarding our egg donor program, please contact us.

 

 

 

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