Donor Egg-IVF

What is Donor Egg-IVF?

A donor egg recipient is a woman who is unable to conceive, for a variety of reasons.

Poor ovarian function is commonly due to natural reproductive aging or surgery affecting one or both ovaries. More rarely, women undergo cessation of their ovarian function before the age 40, a condition called premature ovarian failure. Egg donation is also a family building option for same-sex male couples. Frequently, the recipient woman has tried other fertility treatments that have not been successful. When it is difficult to establish pregnancy using the woman’s own eggs, treatment with donor egg –IVF provides a family building option.

In donor egg-IVF the eggs are from a young woman who will undergo ovarian stimulation and an egg retrieval procedure. Once the eggs are harvested and in the laboratory, they will be inseminated using semen from the recipient’s partner or a donor. The created embryos are then transferred to woman’s uterus with the hope that a pregnancy will be established. The treatment with donor egg –IVF allows the recipient woman to carry the pregnancy and deliver her child.

Who can be egg donor?

Egg donors are young women who donate their eggs to recipients purposely to help women/couples with infertility and desire to have a child. Egg donors are usually anonymous and less commonly they can be known to the recipient. Anonymous egg donors can be chosen from frozen egg banks or from agencies. Egg donors are thoroughly screened to ensure that they are healthy to donate their eggs. The known egg donor, on the other hand, is a woman who is known to you as a relative, friend or through introduction. A known egg donor will be evaluated by one of our physicians and will undergo screening similar to the anonymous donors.

If the embryo is free of any genetic defects, it is placed in the uterus so that it can be implanted. Any additional embryo that has no genetic defects can be frozen for its further use. Meanwhile, the ones that show genetic defects, will be destroyed.

Becoming a recipient

The recipient woman is evaluated for fitness to carry a healthy pregnancy. She will meet with our physician to review medical history and past medical records and infertility treatment cycles if applicable. The recipient woman will also have a physical exam. A special pelvic ultrasound is performed to evaluate the uterine cavity for its fitness for pregnancy. Additional testing will include bloodwork for preconception screening. We recommend all recipient women/couples to undergo psychological evaluation and consultation to help with this potentially stressful treatment. Women who are >45 need additional testing including cardiology clearance and a pre-pregnancy evaluation by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

3 Parts of the Donor Egg - IVF cycle

PART 1: When you are ready to start, you will first meet with our donor egg nurse who will assist you in selecting an egg donor. Additionally, the donor egg nurse will plan your treatment cycle and explain the medications that you will need to take and when to take them. She/he will plan and review a treatment calendar indicating all required appointments and office visits. During your treatment cycle, we will draw blood and perform ultrasound exams to determine uterine receptivity. It is important to ensure that your uterus is hormonally prepared to receive the embryo(s) when they have developed to the optimal stage. The key role of your donor egg nurse is to synchronize yours and the egg donor’s treatment cycles. When frozen eggs are used, the process for the recipient is similar. Hormonal treatment is used to prepare the uterus to receive the embryo(s) and the uterine receptivity is monitored through blood tests and ultrasound exams. The thaw of frozen donor eggs and their insemination with sperm is synchronized to the recipient’s treatment cycle in order for the transfer to take place during the optimal time of the uterine receptivity.

PART 2: Once you have selected an egg donor, she will undergo ovarian stimulation with fertility medications to stimulate the simultaneous growth of multiple egg-follicles in her ovaries and then the eggs will be harvested through a minor surgical procedure called egg retrieval. Following the egg retrieval procedure, the donated fresh eggs are inseminated with either sperm from the recipient’s partner or a sperm donor and grown in the lab as embryos. In some cases, additional eggs are frozen for future use. If preimplantation genetic testing (PGD or PGS) is used, the embryos are grown to the blastocyst stage (day 5 or day 6), biopsied and then frozen. The embryo transfer is planned in a future cycle after the genetic test results are available. When frozen donor eggs are used, the frozen eggs will be transported from the donor egg bank to our facility where they are stored until they are ready to be thawed and inseminated with sperm from a partner or a sperm donor to create embryos.

PART 3: The last step involves a transfer of the embryo(s) into the recipient’s uterus that is synchronized with hormone treatment to receive the embryo(s). Embryos that are not transferred can be frozen for future use. Following the embryo transfer, the recipient will continue on hormonal treatment to support the uterus for implantation, and if the transfer is successful, during early pregnancy.

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