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 the use of 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
- Single male or gay couples
What Is The Process For The Recipient Couple?
Fresh Cycle- 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 14 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 10-12 weeks into the pregnancy, when the placenta can provide these hormonal needs on its own.
What Is The Success Rate Of Pregnancy Using Donor Eggs?
The success rate will vary depending upon age of eggs, retrieval process, quality of semen, and the overall health of the women involved. In most cases, younger eggs are preferable. Up to 48% of women using donor eggs will experience pregnancy. Unfortunately, approximately 15-20% of women will miscarry.
What Are The Risks Related To Egg Donation?
Egg donation carries the same risks as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer and there is a 20-25% chance that the pregnancy will involve multiples. Pregnancies from donor eggs carry the same 3-5% risk of birth defect as natural pregnancy. The medications involved may have side-effects. Some women experience hot flashes, feelings of depression, headaches, and sleeplessness.
In rare cases, donors may experience ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome which involves a painful swelling of the ovaries. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and shortness of breath. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
How much does the process cost?
Total costs typically range from $12,000 to $20,000. It is important to find out what is included and what is not included in the fee structure: donor fees, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer, medications, embryo freezing, etc.
Spring Creek Fertility currently works with outside egg banks and can walk you through the process and get you in contact with the egg banks.
What are the legal concerns?
Laws tend to vary from state to state, but there should be little concern about parental rights. No matter whether the donor is known or anonymous, legal contracts can be written that remove all parental rights of the donor.
Source: American Pregnancy Association
SpringCreek Fertility works with several Ohio fertility attorneys and can get you in contact with them. The World Egg Bank, Compassionate Beginnings, Fairfax Egg Bank, and Reproductive Assistance, Inc. are partners of ours for couples to obtain donated eggs.