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City FertilityCity Fertility Centre operates an Embryo Donor Program to give women who do not produce eggs, or cannot use the eggs they produce, the opportunity to experience a pregnancy and to bear a child.

Your decision to use donated embryos is extremely important, and for this reason we aim to provide you with as much information as you require. Our nurse coordinators are available to discuss any questions you may have about our Embryo Donor Program.


Who Requires Donor Embryos?

The use of donated embryos may be considered in cases of untreatable infertility that involves both partners, untreatable infertility in a single woman, recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to the embryo, and genetic disorders affecting one or both of the partners.


Who can be an Embryo Donor?

Individuals of all ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds can become embryo donors. This includes individuals of all different heights, shapes and sizes, as long as they meet these prerequisites:

  • The female donor must be under the age of 35 and the male donor under 49 (ages at the time the embryos were created).
  • The female donor must be in good health, with no history of hereditary disease. Donors will not be accepted if they suffer from an illness, disease or genetic condition that poses an unacceptable risk of being passed on to any child conceived from the donation.
  • The couple must have completed their family.
  • If the couple has a child, she/he must reach 12 months of age before the donation is made.
  • The embryos must be less than 10 years old and stored at an IVF unit.
  • Unknown donors must have a permanent address and be contactable for follow-up screening. They must be able to provide three identifiers and proof of a permanent address, e.g. driver’s licence, photo ID and passport.

For more information about our Embryo Donor Program, please contact us or visit our Embryo Donor page.


Types of Donors

There are two main types of embryo donation:

Known Donation

This is where the donor and recipient personally know each other and there is an existing relationship between them.


Clinic-recruited Donation

In the case of a clinic-recruited donation, the recipient does not know the donor, and the donor’s identity may remain unknown to the recipient. However, a donor must agree to release identifying information (name, date of birth, address) to a donor-conceived child.


What is Required to Become an Embryo Donor?

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


Quarantine Period for Embryos

It is compulsory that the donated embryos remain stored for a quarantine period of six months before they are transferred. At the end of the quarantine period, embryo donors are rechecked that they do not have one of the following transmissible viruses: HIV (AIDS), hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

Pre-Treatment for the Embryo 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. The endometrium (lining of the womb) needs to be prepared before a fertilised egg or embryo will implant in the womb and a pregnancy occurs.

The two female hormones estrogen and progesterone act on the endometrium to prepare it for implantation. If you take these two hormones in the correct amounts and in the correct order, it is possible to mimic what happens in a normal cycle and the endometrium will become prepared even though you do not have functioning ovaries.

You will be given instructions from your specialist as to when to start taking the medications, the dosage and when to increase it. You will also be instructed on when to make an appointment for an ultrasound scan to measure the thickness or your endometrium.


Women with Normal Ovarian Cycles

Monitoring starts 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) instead of their natural cycles.

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

Embryo Transfer (ET)

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

Embryo transfer is a simple procedure and no general anaesthetic is required. However, you may find it helpful for your partner to be present for this procedure, to support you and to 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.

After Transfer

You will be able to go home very soon after transfer and spend the rest of the day relaxing. The following day, we suggest you resume your normal lifestyle. However, you should avoid strenuous physical activities and anything that may make you overheated, such as saunas, hot spas and sunbaking. You should also refrain from smoking and having alcoholic drinks during this period, until pregnancy is not confirmed.

A pregnancy test is performed 14-16 days after embryo transfer. You will then be given specific instructions by the nurse co-ordinator.

Questions for Consideration

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

  • What are your feelings about parenting a child without a genetic link?
  • 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 embryos?
  • What are your feelings 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 encourages all individuals/couples to seek independent legal advice before attending the donor program. Please visit our Legalities and Requirements page for more information.


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