Introduction to Egg Donation
Egg donation is a procedure whereby a woman donates her eggs for the purposes of assisted reproduction. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology is used.
What is an Egg Donation?
Egg donation is a procedure whereby a woman donates her eggs for the purposes of assisted reproduction. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology is used, whereby the egg is either fertilised by the intended father in a laboratory or frozen for later use. Egg donation is one of many methods whereby infertile couples can have a child using modern day technology. In the UK, this process is strictly regulated, and compensation for egg donation is fixed at £750 per cycle of donation.
How is an Egg Donation performed?
Egg donations are performed in treatment cycles, and involves 4 stages. The first stage, or Suppression stage, involves suppressing your ovaries using a daily nasal spray or daily injection. This stage will last between 2-4 weeks depending on the clinic’s medical protocol, and you will have regular blood tests and scans to ensure the body is responding to medication appropriately. The second stage, or Stimulation stage, involves daily injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) for 10-14 days which stimulates your ovaries to produce egg follicles. Again you will be regularly monitored with blood tests and scans to ensure you are responding appropriately to the medication. The third stage is the HCG Trigger Injection, which is a single injection 36 hours before egg collection. This stage will happen once the blood tests and scans indicate the egg follicles are appropriately developed. The final stage is Egg Collection, which takes 15-20 mins, and is performed under general anaesthetic, heavy sedation or local anaesthetic depending on personal preference and circumstance.
How to prepare for an Egg Donation?
Before a woman can become an egg donor she must first meet strict eligibility criteria. These include being aged between 18 and 35, not smoke, have a BMI between 20-30 and have healthy, functional ovaries. This is important in ensuring there is a maximum chance of a successful egg donation. To assess ovarian function, you will have a blood test, urine test and a transvaginal scan. If you are deemed to meet all of the eligibility criteria, you will meet with a clinic counsellor to discuss all of the considerations of the process and what implication it will have on you and your family. You will then need to sign the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) egg donation consent forms, to legally acknowledge you have considered the implications of this process. Once this is complete, you will be matched with a recipient, you will be registered with the HFEA and treatment begins.
What happens after an Egg Donation?
Usually you will be able to go home a few hours after the procedure. There will be some abdominal discomfort and can be treated with pain relief as directed by the clinic. It is important to keep rested for a few days after the procedure as you may have some abdominal tenderness, and it will take time for the anaesthetic to wear off.
Once the eggs are collected, they are mixed with the intended father’s or donor sperm in the laboratory. Once fertilised, 2 or 3 embryos will be transferred into the female recipient. It will take a couple of weeks to know if the recipient has become pregnant, and you can ask your clinic for the outcome of your donation.