Egg Donation is an IVF procedure that helps women who cannot conceive with their own eggs, conceive with eggs from a young and fertile egg donor. The IVF procedure will be the donor beginning the stimulation injections and in line the recipient will begin medication to develop uterus. On the day of the donor egg collection a sperm sample of the recipient`s partner will be provided and processed and then injected into the donor eggs. Then the transfer of the developed embryos will take place 3 or 5 days post egg collection.
Who is a candidate for Egg Donation?
Egg Donation is a treatment process that is not to be taken lightly and we recommend that all women when faced with this option to seek counselling, there are many reasons Egg donation maybe the only option to conceive:
- Low egg reserve;
- Poor egg quality;
- Early menopause (before the age of 40);
- Repeated failed IVF attempts and embryo quality is poor because of the eggs;
- Genetic problems which mean own eggs cannot be used to carry a healthy pregnancy.
How is the Egg Donation procedure carried out?
When considering donation treatment, it is very important that you seek advice from an experienced IVF doctor who specialises in donation procedures, as they will be able to asses and guide you in the process.
The reasons above are just some of the reasons that women seek donor egg treatment but the end goal is ultimately the same, to have the best chance of falling pregnant. We feel that we can do this and help you have the best chance for a healthy pregnancy.
The tests involved for the treatment are the same as the testing for IVF procedure but the ultrasound is not for the Egg reserve but to monitor the Endometrium thickness and the hormone levels checked are TSH, Prolactin and sexually transmitted diseases. Depending on the results, we can begin the treatment process in 6-12 weeks.
How are the donors chosen?
Our donors are mainly university students looking to fund their education and are aged between 20-28 years of age. Not every women can qualify to be a donor, there are many factors to consider when adding a donor to our donor pool.
Our donors are fully screened for sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV, HBSAG, Syphilis, Anti HCV etc.
Genetic tests are also carried out on the donors to ensure they are not carriers of Cystic Fibrosis, Thalassemia or Sickle Cell Anaemia and we also ensure they have a normal Karyotype.
They undergo psychological screening to make sure they are happy with their decision to donate and understand the process in which they are helping in and the consequences.
How do I choose the right donor for me?
When choosing a donor, we will guide you and offer you as much information as possible, our donors are anonymous so their identity cannot be revealed and they are protected under the Cyprus Law. In turn your identity is also not revealed to the donors and so patients are protected too from the confidentiality law.
When selecting a donor, we will ask for main characteristics i.e. Blood group, Eye colour, Hair, Skin tone etc. and of course if you have any specific requests these will be taken into consideration also. We also encourage you to provide your partners details and also a picture of you both so that a donor can be matched by our donor coordinator as accurate as possible.
We will first offer you a choice from two donors and if you feel the profile is not exactly what you are looking for then we will offer you a further two donors until you are happy with your selection.
I have my chosen donor, now what do we do?
Now that you have selected your donor we will plan to sync your bleed or induce a bleed depending on what Doctor Zehra feels is best. Our donors are asked to take the birth control pill or down regulate with medication such as a Nasal Spray or Buseralin daily injections to suppress ovulation, so this will give us more control to synchronise the donor`s cycle with yours and treatment can be planned accordingly.
How does the treatment process work?
Now you have had your pre-tests and have successfully chosen your donor, treatment can begin. The treatment process is technically IVF, the donor will begin the stimulation to develop the follicles and you will look to begin medication to thicken the endometrium lining ready for a pregnancy.
When the donor begins the injection for stimulation, you will on day 2 or 3 of your menstrual cycle need a scan to monitor your ovaries are quiet or an Estradiol blood test to monitor they are low. When the results confirm all is well you will then begin oral Oestrogen tablets and/or patches. The Oestrogen tablets and/or patches for the first 12-14 days will be taken along with Aspirin and Pre natal vitamins and ultrasound checks will be required to monitor your endometrium is thickening.
The donor egg collection will take place and on this day you will have your final scan to make sure the endometrium is ready for transfer and have a blood test to monitor Estradiol and Progesterone hormone levels, once the results are back medication such as Progesterone (In the form of a Gel, pessaries or injections) will be added to your protocol. Most importantly your partner`s sperm sample will be collected in a sterile environment and then processed in the laboratory by our embryologists. The sperm will then be injected into the donor eggs and left in the incubator. The eggs are checked 16-18 hours after microinjection to monitor if fertilisation has taken place.
Ideally embryo transfer will take place 5 days post Egg collection (blastocyst) and the transfer procedure is straight forward and painless, it does not require any anaesthesia or sedation. Patients who are sensitive maybe sedated for the transfer if needed. The transfer is carried out with a full bladder, so you are requested to drink plenty of water before the procedure. Once the bladder is full the endometrium can be clearly identified with the aid of ultrasound guidance. The embryologist draws the embryo into a catheter and passes it to the doctor and with the aid of the ultrasound the catheter is guided by a nurse the catheter is placed on to the endometrium and the embryo(s) are released. After the transfer, you are taken to the room and are asked to rest for approximately 1 hour. After the transfer, and resting for one hour, medication protocol will be adjusted and you will be discharged from the Centre as you will be treatment as an outpatient.
On the transfer day, the date of when the pregnancy test should be carried out will be advised, it is usually 12 days post transfer when a beta HcG blood test is advised to be carried out.
How successful is Egg Donation?
The success of egg donation is based on the donor eggs and the uterus of the recipient, our donors have either proven fertility, egg quality or a previous successful donation cycle, so we are confident that we can help you to achieve a viable pregnancy. The chances of success is 75-80% and this is applicable to women with a healthy uterus regardless of age, of course when women of the age of or older than 45 are seeking Egg donation we do specify that we require a full doctors report to state they are healthy and their heart can carry a viable pregnancy with no risk to them or the baby.
Donors are usually aged in their early twenties (ladies in their 30`s are not accepted as donors as this reduces the chances of pregnancy). Donors in their 20`S have a higher chance for pregnancy success.
The rate of egg donation pregnancy in respectable centers around the world is around 65-70%. In our center, the chance of pregnancy with egg donation is 75-80%, the reason is that we use a greater number of fresh donor eggs, care for our young and healthy donors, and have a successful team with advanced equipment in our laboratory.