Oocyte (egg) donation
For certain medical reasons (in cases of premature ovarian failure, absence of ovaries, premature menopause, genetic disorder, women over 40 years of age with elevated FSH, or for women with little or no response to ovarian stimulation), there are women who have to find an egg donor because their follicles are not able to grow anymore and they cannot produce eggs.
As it was mentioned above, in such cases eggs are retrieved from another, healthy woman (donor) and then fertilized with a donor’s sperm/or the patient’s husband’s sperm, and the embryos conceived are then transferred into the infertile woman’s uterus. It is this procedure that is called an egg donation.
This method can also be used in cases when the ovaries have been removed and when there is a high risk of transmitting genetic diseases to the child. Egg donation can only be prescribed by specialists.
When can it be prescribed?
Indications for egg donation can be absolute and relative.
Absolute indications include such diagnoses as:
- undeveloped ovaries;
- absence of ovaries;
- disfunction of ovaries.
- premature menopause;
- inefficient early IVF attempts.
Who can become a donor?
Donors can be conventionally divided into four groups:
- Occasional donors;
- Patients going through a standard IVF programme and having spare eggs after the hormonal stimulation would sometimes wish to give their eggs to women unable to produce oocytes. Due to the development of embryo cryoconservation, this group of donors is becoming much smaller, as in case of an IVF failure, the patient has a chance of getting pregnant after a frozen embryo transfer attempt;
- Professional donors: healthy women with functioning reproductive system before the age of 35, ready to undergo a hormonal stimulation and a transvaginal punction for certain remuneration;
- Donors-volunteers. In most cases, these are the couple’s close friends and relatives.
Are there contra-indications?
Somatic and psychic disturbances, certain oncologic problems can become an obstacle to become an egg-donor.
Besides these medical factors, a number of countries (Germany, Israel) condemn egg donation for ethic and religious reasons, that is why it is forbidden there. The Russian legislation does not prohibit it, still, there is no law that would stipulate all the ethical and legal aspects of this issue.
Egg donation is quite a successful medical procedure. However, this method has fallen victim to its own success: the demand on oocytes is quite high today, and clinics that are unable to meet all their clients’ demand would sometimes venture to do inappropriate things.
In accordance with the order issued by the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, in order to contain infections, medical institutions are allowed to use only cryoconserved sperm samples that have been kept for more than six months and are sure to be clear of sexually transmitted diseases.
As not any sperm sample can withstand freezing/thawing without quality deterioration, only cryotolerant sperm samples can be admitted to the bank of sperm. Hence, not every man, even being a healthy one, can become a sperm donor.
All anonymous donors are examined for all sexually transmitted diseases, they must be physically and mentally healthy, too.
Other requirements to anonymous donors are to be set by this or that particular clinic: some more rigid standards for sperm donors are genetic pathology tests, necessity to be a father of at least 2 children and some others.
Clinics hire anonymous donors on their own. Different sperm banks count different numbers of sperm donors: there may be three or four of them, or dozens of them. The client is usually provided with general data on the donor’s appearance, ethnic origin, blood group, his children, educational background and work.
When using the sperm of a donor that you have found on your own, you can avoid cryoconserving it and use it fresh. Thus, you reduce your financial expenses, waiting time and increase the chance of getting pregnant.
However, the selected donor must be carefully examined for sexually transmitted and other diseases.