What is egg donation, who is suitable?
Egg donation is a process where egg cells taken from a donor are used to fulfill a woman’s desire to be a mother. The oocytes taken from the donor are combined with spermatozoa from the recipient couple to produce embryos and are transferred to the recipient when they reach the embryo stage. The donation of egg cells is an important medical development for women who cannot have children by other methods.
Who is suitable for egg donation?
- Women of advanced age,
- Women with ovarian insufficiency due to menopause, premature ovarian insufficiency, or ovarian surgery,
- Women who cannot use their own egg cells due to inherited diseases that cannot be detected by PGD techniques or poor quality,
- Women who have received IVF treatment several times but whose own egg cells have been found to be unfit for pregnancy,
- Women whose ovaries are not accessible to obtain egg cells,
- Women who experienced repeated miscarriages,
- Women with detected chromosomal abnormalities in embryos formed by their own egg cells,
- Women who cannot become pregnant due to the immune system,
- Women who have problems causing damage to the ovaries,
- For women receiving cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, egg donation may be performed.
How are egg donors selected?
Women who donate egg cells undergo a number of careful examinations before donation. The donor’s fertility, health status, medical history, and psychological condition should be carefully evaluated. In addition, a very comprehensive gynecological examination should be performed to detect the presence of cysts, myomas, polyps, and other irregularities in the reproductive organs. A chromosome study will also be performed to minimize the possibility of any future defects in babies born. Blood group and Rh factor should be checked along with the detection of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, and syphilis. The identity of donors or recipients shall not be shared in the egg donation processes. Only information such as blood type and age of the donor, which will allow the pregnancy to progress healthily, can be given.
How is egg retrieval performed?
The donor is matched with a suitable recipient after passing all examinations successfully. Some hormonal supplements are given to progress simultaneously with the recipient’s menstrual cycle and to get more efficiency from egg cells. In the meantime, the condition of the eggs is monitored through tests and ultrasound imaging. A surgical procedure is performed on the donor for retrieval when the time is right for the retrieval of mature egg cells. Using mild anesthesia, oocytes are retrieved through the vagina via a retrieval tool and ultrasound.
What are the steps of the egg donation procedure?
Egg donation takes place through three basic applications after matching recipients and donors.
· Pharmacological treatment:
The recipient woman is given a number of medications to prepare the uterus for the healthy transplantation of the embryos.
· Preparing Sperm
A few days of sexual abstinence is requested before the sperm sample is taken from the male. Egg and sperm samples from donors should be obtained on the same day. Studies are carried out in the laboratory to remove some of the components in the sperm and to separate the most appropriate spermatozoa for fertilization of the donated egg cell. Semen can also be frozen and preserved prior to donation, and a pre-frozen sample can be used when there is a compatible donor.
· Fertilization and transfer:
After sperm and egg cells are ready, the fertilization stage, whether IVF or microinjection method, begins. Embryos are kept in the laboratory environment until the day of transfer after they are formed. The healthiest of the mature embryos are selected to be transferred to the uterus. In addition to the number of embryos to be transferred, specialist physicians decide the most appropriate moment for this transfer based on the medical history of the couple, the number of embryos obtained, their characteristics, and the individual conditions of the current treatment and then, the egg donation process is completed.