Using Eggs from an Egg Donor

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City Fertility operates an  egg donor program to give recipients  (and their partners if applicable) who cannot produce eggs, or are unable to use the eggs they produce, the opportunity to fall pregnant and have a baby. Donated eggs can also be used in surrogacy for gay couples or single men.

The decision to use donated eggs is life-changing, and we strive to share as much information about the process as possible. Our fertility nurses 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?

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

  • Premature menopause.
  • Unable to use their own eggs due to genetic causes.
  • Repeatedly unsuccessful using an IVF program.
  • Born without ovaries.
  • Undertaken treatment for cancer.
  • Donated eggs can also be used in surrogacy for gay couples or single men.

 

Who can be an Egg Donor?

Donors   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.
  • Donors  who can provide their family medical history. If married or in a de facto relationship, the partner must consent to the donation.
  • 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 medical issues, including miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities 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 donor makes the decision to provide eggs ton individual or a couple not known to them, this is known as a clinic-recruited egg 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 once the child turns 18 or younger with counsellor approval.

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?

For use of donated eggs in surrogacy, please refer to the surrogacy section.

IVF Cycle for the Egg Donor

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

 

Quarantine Period for Eggs

Six-month quarantine period applies to all clinic recruited donated eggs.

All egg donors are screened for infectious diseases before the donation. It is recommended (but not compulsory) that the known donated eggs are fertilised and then stored for a quarantine period of six months before they are transferred to the recipient. 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.

At the end of the quarantine period, all egg donors are rechecked  for the following transmissible viruses:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C.
  • Syphilis
  • HTLV 1+2
  • CMV
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia

Pre-Treatment for the Egg Recipient

For use of donated eggs in surrogacy, please refer to surrogacy section

Egg Recipients who do not Have Normal Ovarian Cycles

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

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 fertility 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.

 

Egg Recipients with Normal Ovarian Cycles

Monitoring begins two or three days before we estimate you would normally ovulate. This can be done by  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.

Egg recipients  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

Embryo may be transferred from the culture dish into the uterus  at different stages of embryo development.

The embryo transfer is a simple procedure that does not require a general anaesthetic.  However, you may find it helpful for your partner or a support person 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 embryo is passed through the cervix and into the uterus to place the embryo  inside.

After Embryo Transfer

You will be able to go home shortly after the embryo transfer . You will be encouraged to limit strenuous activity for 24 hours.  Your activity can be gradually increased over the next following days, provided it is non-strenuous and non-aerobic. You should avoid 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 fertility nurse  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  the one 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.
  • You are unwell or unavailable for the embryo transfer on the day.
  • Quarantine of embryos

Questions for Consideration

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

  • If you are in a relationship, what are your feelings about creating a family where only one partner will be a genetic parent?
  • How do you feel about parenting a child with 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?
  • If you are in a relationship, 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 treatment outcome is unsuccessful – what impact will it have on you (and your partner if applicable)?
  • 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 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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