Egg donation is the process whereby a woman uses oocytes from a donor to fulfil her desire of becoming a mother. The oocytes from the donor will be combined with spermatozoa from the recipient couple or a donor to produce embryos; the best one will be transferred to the recipient in order to achieve the longed-for pregnancy. As such, oocyte donation makes the miracle of life possible for women who would not be able to have children any other way.
Egg donation can be performed with a sperm sample from a donor or the partner. This treatment is recommended for:
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There are two ways to access this treatment at IVI. Our specialists can advise you on the different options to find the one that best suits your preferences and needs:
In the UK, assisted reproduction is regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which specifies that all donations are compulsorily non-anonymous and altruistic. Donors must be between the ages of 18 and 35, fit and healthy, and have no history in the family of inherited diseases or genetic disorders.
Under UK law, egg donors have no legal rights or responsibilities for children born as a result of their donation. Women who wish to receive donor eggs have counselling about the desirability of telling their child about their genetic origins, but there is no legal obligation to do so.
As provided by law, some donor’s non-identifiable information (height, eye colour, hair colour, year and country of birth, marital status, etc.) will be available to the parent at the time of the donation and to any children conceived with such donation when they turn 16. At 18, the child (and not the parents) can access the donor’s full identity and contact details. They may contact the donor if they wish, but this doesn’t change the legal status of the donor.
Most of our patients want to know as much as possible about their donor, so we make sure our donor profiles are as detailed as possible, including how they describe themselves, how their friends see them, what their hobbies are, etc. In addition, many of our donors write a goodwill message for any children born from their donation – which can also be read by the parents.
Donor from egg bank
As a patient, you can choose to use donated eggs from our egg bank. These gametes have been donated by women who meet HFEA requirements, as the regulatory agency for assisted reproduction in the United Kingdom.
A patient may choose to use an oocyte donated from a relative or another known person. There are of course restrictions on mixing the eggs and sperm of close family members such as brother and sister (including half brothers and sisters) or uncles and nieces. In any case, the donor must meet the donation criteria established by the HFEA and counselling will be necessary to ensure that both parties understand the implications of the process.
Law 14/2006 on assisted human reproduction techniques regulates egg donation in Spain and establishes that it is compulsorily anonymous, meaning there can be no links or contact between donor and recipient and they can only know very basic data such as the complexion, height, eye colour, etc. of the donor. Spanish donors must be between 18 and 35 years of age, they must be healthy and have no family history of genetic diseases. In addition, the legal framework guarantees that all donations are voluntary and altruistic, thus avoiding any lucrative or commercial motivation.
To learn more about donation in Spain and the donor allocation process, you can visit our international website.
On the first visit, our specialists will review your case, in order to be able to recommend the treatment that best suits your situation. For this, reports of any previous reproduction treatment will be reviewed, if any, and a gynaecological study of the patient will be carried out, as well as an analysis of the semen sample, in the case of a heterosexual couple. During this visit, you can discuss the different treatment options with our specialists, depending on whether you prefer an anonymous or non-anonymous donation.
On the second visit the patient will have a consultation with our egg donation coordinator, who will explain the treatment and give you the opportunity to ask any questions about how the donor and matching process is carried out. After this, you will then be required to have a counselling session with one of our psychologists, who will make sure you understand all the implications and legal aspects of the treatment, whether you opt for a UK non-anonymous egg donation or choose to go abroad for anonymous treatment.
Our specialists will carry out the most appropriate donor allocation process for you. To do this, they will take into account medical factors such as Rh compatibility and, if desired, physical characteristics such as complexion, height and eye and hair colour.
To maximise the implantation chances of the embryo to be transferred, the patient is medicated for approximately 10 days to prepare the uterus. Our specialists monitor the correct evolution of this stimulation by ultrasound and blood tests.
The sperm preparation is performed in the laboratory, and can come from a donor or partner. In this case, the semen can be obtained on the same day as the oocyte donation, following a period of sexual abstinence. Semen can also be cryopreserved in advance of donation, and on the day when there is a compatible oocyte donor the previously frozen sample is used. The sperm sample is prepared in the laboratory in order to remove certain components and to select the most suitable spermatozoa for fertilising the donated oocytes.
In the IVF lab, the spermatozoa and oocytes are brought into contact through the technique of in vitro fertilisation or sperm microinjection (ICSI). Once the embryos have been fertilised, they stay in the laboratory, where our embryologists observe and classify them according to their morphology and their ability to divide. Not every embryo will carry on developing, so the decision about when to complete the embryo transfer will depend on the number and quality of the embryos.
During the transfer, our specialists insert the best embryo into the uterus using a catheter. This procedure is performed with no anaesthetic, and is painless. The patient can carry on with their normal life after resting for just a few minutes.
11 days after the embryo transfer, the patient undergoes a blood pregnancy test. If it is positive, 20 days later our specialists will perform a control ultrasound and the patient will be discharged from IVI. The patient’s regular gynaecologist will monitor the pregnancy from that moment.