Every day the assisted reproduction techniques are improving for many reasons. One of these reasons is that, worldwide, many women are delaying the age at which they want to become pregnant, especially for professional reasons.
The problem with this situation is that, with the aging process, a woman loses her fertility potential, especially after 35 years, which may difficult achieving pregnancy with her own eggs. Likewise, many women have congenital or genetic disorders that do not allow them to become pregnant with their own eggs.
So, many experts have developed new and effective techniques to achieve pregnancy with eggs from another woman, which is called egg donation.
WHAT IS EGG DONATION?
The experts of Growing Generations define egg donation, or ovodonation, as an assisted reproduction technique which consists in obtaining the eggs from an anonymous donor to be used during the In Vitro Fertilization technique and implant them in another woman uterus.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR EGG DONATION?
A good candidate for an egg donation is a woman with any condition or pathology that alters the normal function of the eggs, including the inability to produce healthy oocytes, which are necessary to achieve both natural and artificial fecundation.
Likewise, as it was commented before, an egg donation is an excellent option for those women who have significantly loss their reproductive potential due to advanced age, menopause, or diseases that cause primary or early ovarian failure. Women that underwent an extensive ovarian surgery can be also be excellent candidates for the procedure.
On the other hand, women that have a proper number of oocytes but these do not have a good quality, women with genetic diseases that can’t be detected through pre-implantation genetic studies or those women that have genetic diseases that will be transmitted to all the children, can benefit from this assisted reproduction method.
Regarding women with ovaries inaccessible for puncture, or with recurrent abortions, it has been demonstrated that they can achieve pregnancy after undergoing an egg donation. Finally, couples that have tried other assisted fertilization techniques with their own eggs and sperm can also achieve pregnancy by using egg donation.
WHO CAN BE AN EGG DONOR?
In general terms, women between 18 and 35 years old, with regular menstrual cycles and ovulations, and a good general health and psychologic condition, can be egg donors. However, they must undergo certain blood tests to discard both infections and genetic diseases to demonstrate that their eggs will be able to develop properly and produce a successful pregnancy.
Finally, the donor must accept to maintain her donation anonymous, and it must be voluntarily. As donation is anonymous, the woman must understand that the children born from the fecundation of her eggs will not be considered her children, so the psychologic test is very important.
HOW IS AN EGG DONATION PERFORMED?
Once a woman is accepted as an egg donor, she must undergo a hormonal treatment to produce the ovarian stimulation. When ovarian follicles have reached the degree of maturation needed to produce the fecundation, the doctor performs an ovarian puncture. This procedure consists in sedating the patient (to avoid discomfort during the procedure) and subsequently reaching the ovary through the vagina to obtain the oocytes with a special needle.
The oocytes can be obtained from the donor woman immediately before producing the fertilization (fresh donation) or a long time before the fertilization process is completed, in which case the oocytes must be frozen until it's time to use them (cryopreservation).
In both cases, it is important to be sure that the blood types of the donor and the receiver are compatible and, in fresh donation, the menstrual cycles of both women must be coordinated through hormonal therapy.
After the oocytes are fertilized, they must be maintained in a culture plate until they reach the desired degree of maturation. After that, the oocytes with more potential are transferred to the uterus of the receiver to continue the natural process of pregnancy.
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF AN EGG DONATION?
Although the rate of success of this procedure can vary, most experts say that approximately 69% of couples achieve a successful pregnancy even after the first cycle of treatment. In fact, egg donation is considered the assisted reproduction technique with the higher rates of success nowadays by most fertility experts.
HOW MUCH DOES AN EGG DONATION COST?
The cost of an egg donation will vary according to the assisted reproduction technique that will be used to both fertilize the egg and implant them in the uterus. So, only a qualified specialist in fertility can determine the final cost of the procedure.