During pregnancy, embryo formation involves the fertilization of a healthy oocyte by a healthy sperm. If either the egg or the sperm has an anomaly, successful fertilization does not occur. However, using a donor egg or sperm can help couples achieve pregnancy.
A woman unable to get pregnant with her oocytes can use an egg that is donated by another woman to achieve pregnancy. The ideal candidate for the egg donation process should be between 23 and 33 years of age. The donor should be able to understand the procedure and knowingly give consent. Additionally, the donor should be free from medical or genetic illnesses.
• Initial interview: The donor is interviewed to make sure she understands the legal, ethical, physical & social aspects of the donation process. Subsequently, a complete medical checkup is performed to make sure there are no medical problems that might complicate the procedure.
• Hormonal therapy: The intended mother is treated with hormonal therapy to ensure the uterus is ready to accept the embryo
• Egg harvesting: This procedure consists of harvesting and fertilizing the eggs or preserving them. Ovulation induction is used to stimulate the release of a healthy egg which is then harvested under ultrasound guidance using special instruments.
• Semen testing: Semen samples are tested for STDs, and the quality of the spermatozoa is assessed before being made ready for fertilization.
• Egg fertilization: The donor eggs are fertilized with the partner’s sperm in vitro, and are transferred to the uterus. If the fertilization and implantation process is not performed immediately, the egg is frozen in liquid nitrogen and preserved.
• Medical tests: Donors undergo a thorough gynecological workup to rule out cysts, myomas, polyps, and other abnormalities in the reproductive organs. A detailed genetic screening is performed to rule out the possibility of any congenital defects in the donor’s babies or babies born via their oocytes. The donor is also tested to confirm that they are free of transmissible diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. Their blood group and Rh factor are also checked.
Donor egg IVF success rates are similar to that of the standard IVF procedure and at times even higher. Donor egg IVF and egg donation is useful in the following cases
Apart from regular IVF procedure costs, there is an additional cost to the egg donor as well. This cost caters to the expenses of the donor who has to undergo rigorous testing and possibly, certain rounds of medication and drugs.