Egg donation is one of the methods of ART aimed at helping women facing infertility-associated diseases to have their biological children. So how does egg donation process work? The procedure of egg donation starts with the fertilization of an egg of a woman selected by a couple as a donor. Afterwards, the sperm of a father or a donor is examined and used for the fertilization in an embryology laboratory, with the embryo being later transferred into the uterus of a woman (recipient).
It is a doctor who decides what type of IVF a couple should undergo, whether it is ICSI, traditional IVF, or egg donation procedure. The choice depends on many factors, including the health condition of the couple. Among the indications for egg donation procedure, the following conditions are the most spread ones:
The entire procedure of egg donation can be divided into following stages:
Keep reading to know how egg donation works and what procedures are performed at each stage.
Egg donation can be anonymous. In this case, a married couple does not have information about the donor other than phenotypic signs. However, the most spread case is when the couple knows/chooses the donor themselves. It can be their friend, relative, or a woman from the donor base of the clinics.
The age of the donor should not exceed 35 years; otherwise, the risk of chromosomal abnormalities increases and the probability of success of the treatment cycle decreases. Also, the donor must have at least one healthy biological child.
Does egg donation procedure work without the synchronization of menstrual cycles of a donor and a future mother? The answer is “no.” Therefore, after selecting the donor and conducting the examination, it is necessary to synchronize the menstrual cycles of the two.
The task is to achieve the necessary maturity of the endometrium of the female embryo recipient at the time it is being transferred into her uterine cavity. To do this, the recipient is prescribed hormonal drugs that cause maturation of the endometrium. Alternatively, the synchronization may be carried out in a natural cycle. During the treatment, the level of hormones in the blood is monitored. Ultrasound is used for monitoring of the endometrium and ovaries.
Simultaneously with the preparation of the recipient endometrium, the donor is stimulated for superovulation. The procedure is necessary to induce maturation of several eggs in the ovaries. Their development is controlled by the study of the level of hormones in the blood and daily ultrasound monitoring from 4-5 days of stimulation. When the follicles reach a certain size, their puncture is performed by piercing the follicles with a special needle through the vaginal vaults and suctioning their contents.
Obtained eggs are fertilized by the sperm, which has been previously examined. At the request of the couple, the remaining embryos can be frozen for their future usage. The embryos are transferred into the uterus of the recipient on the 17th day of the cycle. From the 15th day, progesterone medications are prescribed. With a positive pregnancy test, this treatment lasts up to 12-14 weeks (further the development of own hormones supports pregnancy). This is how egg donation works and the way you can get prepared for it.
Thus, egg donation is a curative program that has certain indications and makes it possible for fertility-challenged couples to deal with the problem of infertility.