About Our Donor Egg Program
The first pregnancy resulting from egg donation was achieved in 1984. ‘ Due to its high success rate, it has become a commonly utilized treatment option. ‘This is an excellent treatment alternative for women who for a variety of reasons are unable to use their own eggs. ‘This may be a result of surgical removal of the ovaries, sterilization by chemotherapy or menopause, or for women whose existing eggs are of poor quality. ‘The procedure involves selecting an egg donor who ideally is under the age of 30. The donor’s ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs while simultaneously preparing the recipient’s uterus for embryo implantation. ‘Once the donor eggs are retrieved, they are fertilized with the husband or partner’s sperm and the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus of the recipient. ‘Often there are enough remaining embryos to freeze for future use. See also our information on Age and Fertility.
Pre-screening Egg Donors
It is important to carefully pre-screen the potential egg donors prior to allowing participation in the egg donor process. Screening should be comprehensive and include a complete medical history of the potential egg donor and her family. ‘The donor candidate will be excluded if any genetically transmissible diseases or significant medical problems are identified. ‘A physical examination will be performed which will include a pelvic ultrasound to insure that the potential egg donor has an abundant supply of eggs in her ovaries. In addition, each potential candidate is evaluated by a licensed psychotherapist or psychologist specializing in third party reproduction to determine their psychological and emotional suitability. The donors are evaluated for level of maturity, personal integrity, personality traits, lifestyle choices, interest, goals, values, accomplishments, motivation and commitment.
If the potential egg donor is determined to be acceptable based on these initial steps, she will have blood drawn to screen for infectious diseases in compliance with FDA regulations and the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). ‘ A random urine drug screen will also performed at this time as well as any genetic testing appropriate to the Intended Parents ethnic backgrounds. ‘ The donor will provide multiple photos of themselves and their family and complete an extensive personal questionnaire. ‘ When the screening has been successfully completed, the potential egg donor’s complete profile is made available to the intended parents.
Egg Donor Treatment Cycle
Currently, the majority of egg donor IVF cycles are conducted anonymously. ‘That means that the egg donor and Intended Parents do not meet and both party’s privacy is protected. ‘ The state of California currently provides a favorable legal climate for donor eggs. ‘Due to the complexity of the egg donation process, a binding legal agreement between the Intended Parents and their chosen donor should carefully and thoroughly executed. ‘ That agreement specifies that in the future, the egg donor cannot try to locate the children that have been born from the eggs that she donated. ‘In fact, she is not provided with any information about the recipient couple. ‘In some select cases, if the egg donor and recipient couple choose to meet, the treatment can be conducted in a non-anonymous fashion. ‘This would obviously also be the case whenever a recipient chooses a family member or other acquaintance to be the egg donor.
Because the egg donors are young, they have a large number of genetically normal eggs, usually about 10-20 eggs per donation. ‘As a result, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with egg donation is the most successful form of IVF. ‘We have achieved IVF success rates of 80% or higher in our program from the transfer of only two embryos per cycle. ‘Although theoretically women of any age could become pregnant by using an egg donor, our program, like most others, sets the age limit at 55 years of age. ‘Egg donor IVF has become an excellent alternative to adoption for many Intended Parents who are not able to get pregnant using their own eggs. ‘They are able to experience the sensations of pregnancy, have complete control over the prenatal care, retain a genetic link to the child through the sperm and are assured that the child cannot be taken from them at a later time.
Elite Fertility Solutions (www.elitefertility.com)’is one of the donor egg agencies SCCRM recommends due to their prescreening methodology, but we will be happy to work with any other donor egg agency you choose.
Our Donor Embryo Program
Some couples that have undergone IVF successfully have embryos left that they do not plan to use. One of the options they have is donation of these embryos to another infertile couple for their use. We have a program of embryo donation established from these embryos. In contrast to egg (oocyte) donation, these are embryos that have resulted from fertilization of the donor’s eggs by the donor’s sperm. They have been obtained from women of any age and have been frozen at various developmental stages. Although there is no genetic link to the recipient couple, all the other advantages over adoption may be realized. The embryos are available free of charge so the expense incurred is that of a frozen embryo treatment cycle.
Embryo Donation Procedure
In order to use donated embryos, the recipient only needs to take oral medication to prepare the uterus for embryo implantation starting at the beginning of her menstrual cycle. This process usually takes about 2 weeks. The development of the uterine lining is monitored by ultrasound until it reaches the appropriate thickness and composition. Then, progesterone is started and the embryos are transferred into the uterus 2 to 4 days later depending on the stage of development they were at when frozen. After this, the woman is treated just as she would if she had used her own embryos.
Embryo Donation vs. Egg Donation
There are several differences between embryo donation and egg donation. Unlike egg donors, embryo donors may be of any age. There are most often fewer embryos available than in an egg donation cycle since many of the embryos have already been used by the couple who donated them. The screening process of the embryo donor is not the same as it is for the egg donor. The couples have all been screened for infectious diseases but are free to disclose as much or as little else about themselves as they choose. This means that relatively little may be known about the couple donating the embryos other than their ages in some cases. However, embryo donation is done without a charge for the embryos. The costs are only those related to the actual treatment that the recipient undergoes along with the corresponding laboratory fees.
Legal Issues with Embryo Donation
Just like egg donation, there are many places where embryo donation is not permitted by law. In California, we are not restricted by law from providing embryo donation to our patients. We have successfully treated women from all over the world with this procedure for many years. Contact us to receive more information about our Embryo Donation Program.