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.
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:
Women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds can donate their eggs if they meet these criteria:
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.
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.
You (and your partner, if applicable) will need to attend an initial medical consultation with our specialist. Here you will have your medical details assessed and any required screening tests, such as blood tests, will be arranged.
Before beginning treatment, you will be required to partake in our routine screening process. You (and your partner) will have your blood tested, and the results will be sent to your specialist.
Prior to commencing treatment, you will also be required to attend an interview with one of our nurse coordinators. Here you will learn about the process of cycle treatment, medications and their side effects, and discuss the day-to-day requirements. You (and your partner) will also be given consent forms to fill in and sign.
It is compulsory for all women who are considering using donated eggs, and their partners, to attend a counselling session. This provides the chance to discuss your treatment on a more personal level. It also gives you the opportunity to raise issues that are more private, such as individual concerns, relationship difficulties or current circumstances that may affect your treatment experience.
A “cooling off” period of a minimum of 14 days (between the first and the second counselling session) is required prior to commencing treatment. This ensures that you have had enough time to consider all facets of the donation program.
Before the treatment begins, our specialist and nurse coordinator will perform a final review of the counselling reports, blood tests and consent forms to ensure everything is organised.
A healthy lifestyle is advised prior to and during the donation of eggs. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and a sensible approach to alcohol. You will be directed to stop smoking and restrict your alcohol consumption before treatment. The nurse coordinator will notify you of the starting dates for you and the egg donor.
*The order of these steps/requirements may vary depending on your circumstances.
Egg donors are required to undergo an IVF cycle to retrieve the 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This procedure can be performed if:
Here are some questions you may wish to consider before committing yourself to treatment:
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.