What is egg donation?
Egg Donation is a process in which a fertile woman donates an egg or oocyte to another woman to help her conceive. This is part of assisted reproductive technology (ART). For some women, the gift of donated eggs is their only chance to have a baby. However, there’s an acute shortage of egg donors
If you’re 18-35 years and healthy, it may be possible for you to help another woman in this way. You should have no history of mental disorders, and no family history of genetic or inheritable diseases. If you’ve had a hysterectomy or have been sterilized, you could still be a suitable egg donor.
Who benefits from egg donation?
Donated eggs are needed by women who may have:
- Premature menopause – this affects 1-2% of women under the age of 40 years.
- Ovaries damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
- Been born without functioning ovaries (e.g. Turner’s syndrome).
- Ovaries resistant to stimulation by the pituitary hormones.
- A high risk of passing on genetic disorders to their offspring.
- Poorly functioning ovaries as they get older
Egg donors often remark that knowing they’ve given a couple the chance to have a family is one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives.
What happens during egg donation?
Donors are screened to ensure they’re free of infections, diseases or genetic conditions that might be transmitted. We ask them about their medical and family history, and perform a medical examination and blood tests.
A consultant will explain the treatment process, potential risks and possible side effects to prospective donors. Before embarking on treatment, prospective donors will also receive implications counselling from an independent counsellor.
The treatment is similar as it is for a woman going through an IVF cycle, although in the case of egg donation, the treatment ends after the collection of the donor’s eggs. The donated eggs are fertilized using the sperm of the recipient’s partner, and the resulting embryos transferred to the recipient’s womb.