What is Egg Donation or Oocyte donation?

Egg donation is the process by which a woman donates eggs to enable another woman to conceive as part of an assisted reproduction treatment . For assisted reproduction purposes, egg donation typically involves in vitro fertilization technology, with the eggs being fertilized in the laboratory; more rarely, unfertilized eggs may be frozen and stored for later use. Egg donation is a third party reproduction as part of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

In Simple Terms : Egg donation, also referred to as oocyte donation, makes pregnancy possible for women who might not otherwise be able to get pregnant using their own eggs.

Who Are Candidates To Use Donor Eggs? - The reality is that any woman desiring to become pregnant has the option of pursuing donor eggs. Unfortunately, the majority of women who use donor eggs have significantly diminished egg quality.

Women with the following conditions or situations are typical candidates for donor eggs:

  • Early menopause or premature ovarian failure (POF)
  • Extremely poor egg quality
  • History of genetic disease
  • Ovaries do not respond to stimulation
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Over the age of 40

What Is The Process For Selecting An Egg Donor?

The first step is to decide the characteristics you prefer in an egg donor.  The egg donor could be a family member, friend, or someone anonymous.

Any potential egg donor should be screened as follows:

  • History of birth defects or hereditary diseases
  • Medical and social history
  • Physical examination
  • Psychological screening
  • Testing for sexually transmitted diseases

What Is The Process For The Egg Donor?

  • The egg donor will experience ovary stimulation using the same medications that a woman would use to stimulate her own egg development in planning for in vitro fertilization. Ovulation induction will be done using a combination of drugs.
  • These medications will help prevent ovulation from occurring too early and also help stimulate the production of multiple eggs in the ovary.
  • The donor will be monitored through ultrasound and blood work to determine when her follicles have developed.
  • The hormone hCG is then administered and the eggs are retrieved about two days later.

What Is The Process For The Recipient Couple?

  • Ideally, the recipient’s cycle will be synchronized with the donor’s cycle. This is accomplished by administering a combination of two or three hormonal medications. Lupron® is administered shortly before the period is expected to start in order to suppress the natural cycle.
  • Estrogen is added shortly after the period starts and changed daily until the recipient’s and donor’s cycles match.
  • Hormonal medications will be used to manipulate a regular 28-day menstrual cycle and keep the recipient and donor on the same cycle.
  • Being on the identical cycle offers the best chance of having the lining of the recipient’s uterus prepared to support the embryo.
  • The male partner will provide a semen sample on the same day that eggs are retrieved from the donor.
  • The semen and eggs are fertilized in a laboratory using in vitro fertilization.
  • Progesterone treatment begins on the day after eggs are retrieved from the donor, and Lupron® injections are discontinued the day before the embryo transfer.
  • The embryo transfer normally occurs two-five days after the eggs were initially retrieved.
  • A blood test will be performed 10 days later to determine if pregnancy has occurred.
  • The recipient should also be aware of early signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
  • Most donor recipients will also stay on both progesterone and estrogen until about 10 weeks into the pregnancy when the placenta can provide these hormonal needs on its own

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