What Is Egg Donation?

egg donation for older women
Can You Explain Egg Donation?

Egg donation is where a woman (the egg donor) has her eggs surgically removed to assist another woman (the recipient) who has fertility problems. The eggs are fertilized in a laboratory at a fertility clinic using the recipients partner's sperm. Then, using IVF treatment, the resulting embryos are implanted into the host mother. It is perfectly legal and clinics which perform the procedure are regulated by the FDA in the United States (what is an egg donation clinic?). Unlike sperm donation, which has been around for decades, egg donation is a relatively new infertility treatment (the first baby born via donor eggs came along in 1984). It has steadily become popular with about 30,000 babies being conceived as a result of donor eggs every year in the United States. The reason it is considered by the recipient is either she can't produce her own eggs or the eggs she produces are not of good enough quality to produce a baby. The donor, if she is found through an egg donor clinic, is paid a significant fee for her help. So who is a candidate for receiving donor eggs? Women:

1. Aged over 40. Egg donation has dramatically improved the fertility chances of women over 40.
2. Who have poor egg quality.
3. Who suffer premature ovarian failure, so they no longer produce eggs.
4. Who have not responded to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
5. Who carry a lethal genetic gene or chromosome disorder that they don't want to pass on.

The Procedure
Your doctor will prepare your womb for receiving the baby by giving you high doses of estrogen and progesterone hormone injections. Similarly the donor will be given infertility injections for several weeks to boost her egg production. The donor will also undergo several blood draws, ultrasounds and some blood donor clinics also perform psychological testing. The eggs are removed from the donor with a long needle guided by ultrasound. They are delivered to the lab for fertilization by your partner’s sperm. The resulting embryos are incubated for 3 days and graded. Only the best of the embryos (the ones most likely to survive) are implanted in your womb. A pregnancy test will be carried out 9 to 11 days later. This is considered one egg donation cycle. Patients typically pay per cycle. According to a study presented at the IVF World Congress, the success rate of pregnancy after egg donation is 80 percent after 4 cycles. It also reduces the risks of miscarriage and Down syndrome making a healthy baby much more likely. For more details, see also, how does egg donation work?.

The UPSIDE
It allows a woman who could not otherwise have a child to carry a baby with her husband's genes. If she is worried about a genetic defect on her side, this will not be passed on. Even though her genes are not part of the baby, she is still able to experience the enjoyment of pregnancy.
The DOWNSIDE
The baby has no genetic ties to the recipient mother, and the procedure is quite expensive. There may also be unknown or unreported problems with the donor.
The BOTTOM LINE
It is a wonderful development in the area of infertility that has provided many couples the chance of natural parenting. So if you're still interested, check our article: How can I find an egg donation clinic?

Related Questions
What is the cost of egg donation?
What are the pros and cons of egg donation?
Questions Asked By Potential Donors
What type of egg donors do clinics want?

• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT QUESTIONS ON FEMALE HEALTH
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