Inability to conceive no longer means having to go through life without children. Modern science and continued research in this direction has helped millions of couples all over the world become happy parents to a healthy child. Conception problems like infertility, women’s problem in having eggs that were not good quality, or it just lack and not available for fertilisation were once thought to make it impossible to conceive a baby can now be overcome by egg donation and with the primary help from an egg donor.
A woman who have no ovaries or do not produce any eggs, women with premature menopause, a hereditary health problem (Turner’s syndrome), surgery, or treatment for cancer using chemotherapy or radiotherapy need donated egg or embryos to be pregnant. Also women in their forties who have a low chance of success with assisted conception treatments using their own eggs because its quality declines with age. In addition, some couples who are unsuccessful with other treatments such as In Vitro fertilisation may pursue egg or embryo donation.
An egg donor is required to provide basic information about her such as racial origin, height, weight, colour of eyes, and blood type. It is recommended that egg donors ideally be women who are under 35 years old and have already completed their families. This is recommended because if a complication (rare event) occurs during the process, it does not jeopardise the egg donor’s own chances of having her own family. In addition, to make sure that her desire to become a mother has already been met. It is also necessary that recipients of the egg donation are happy with their own egg donor.
There are certain conditions that immediately disqualify a volunteer donor from donating egg and it includes women who have a family history of certain diseases such as (cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anaemia, etc.). The egg donor should undergone certain screening tests in order to prevent the risks of passing on any diseases or abnormalities, and most importantly, has given written consent before donating egg.
In Australia there are different laws regarding identification issues for gamete and embryo donors or children depending on the state that you live in. However, most IVF clinics recommend that the donor be someone you know in order for the child to maintain some level of contact with their genetic ‘parent’.”
After an initial specialist consultation, counselling of both the recipient and donor is the next step. The counselling may discuss legal, social, genetic and moral implications of the donation as well as the medical related health checks and the whole process of the donation. Eggs and sperms are like most human tissues, they can carry diseases.
A screen donor undertakes screening tests such as blood group, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, cystic fibrosis, syphilis, Chlamydia, chromosome analysis and HIV status. A negative test is not conclusive, as some diseases wait many months to show up in blood tests. Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of the Fertility Society of Australia guidelines recommend that embryos created through egg donation is quarantined (cryo-storage) for a 6 month period.
At the end of six months, the donor’s blood is tested again to check for any infectious diseases. If the test proves negative, the gametes are considered ready for use. Although quarantining embryos is not mandatory, it is recommended for medical purposes. However, if the recipient are willing to take the risk and will waive the quarantine in order to proceed with an immediate “fresh” transfer.
The recipient and the donor will be given hormones to get recipient’s fertility cycles matched. She needs to ovulate when the lining of your uterus can support an embryo. If the eggs are now prepared, the donor will be sedated, and a doctor will remove the eggs using a fine hollow needle assisted by an ultrasound. You will follow a standard In vitro fertilisation (IVF) process in which after the eggs are collected from the donor, the recipient’s partner needs to give a semen sample so that the eggs can be mixed with the sperm in a dish and will be placed in a laboratory. After two days, any fertilised eggs each become a ball of cells also known as embryo.
The doctor will then transfer one or two embryos into your uterus through your cervix with a thin catheter. Expectedly, at least one of the embryos will adhere to your uterine wall and will continue to grow and become a foetus. However, you will still need to wait about two weeks and perform a pregnancy test.
For some people the option of donation from a friend or relative is not possible then you can consider having someone that you don’t know. To have a stranger in such an intimate aspect in your life can raise anxiety for you. It is important that you and your partner are comfortable with this. Sydney IVF can not in any way act as an agent for you or young egg donor. It is you who makes the decision; it is a personal one, and you must be prepared to take complete responsibility for it. In Victoria (and in draft legislation in NSW), it’s compulsory that a register is kept that records identifying information of donors and their offspring. There’s no such thing as a truly anonymous donation, and children born from donor eggs may search for their genetic mothers once they turn 18. Further, donors must be (preferably) under 35 years of age (though some clinics will accept donors up to 38), subjected to scrupulous medical screening, and have completed their own families.
The donor has no legal claim on any resulting child. Under NSW law (legal and medical rules differ from state to state), a child born from a donated egg or sperm is deemed to be the child of the birth mother. The donor has no legal claim on any resulting child.