For a woman to get pregnant, she needs to be able to produce a healthy egg. Some women, unfortunately, produce eggs that aren’t very healthy, and some even fail to produce any eggs at all. That means it’s difficult for these women to become pregnant, or carry a full term pregnancy. Adoption is one route to go when you can’t get pregnant, however, another route many people are taking lately is using donor eggs.
Every year, around 100,000 women have their eggs “harvested”. Around 10 percent of those 10,000 women do it to become egg donors. The other 90% of women have their eggs harvested to use in their own fertility treatment.
Assistive reproductive technology is used and the eggs are surgically removed from the woman’s ovaries. They are then taken to a laboratory where they are combined with sperm, and placed back in the woman’s uterus, or taken away for egg donation. Methods such as this have been used for many years, and the first baby that was conceived from a donor egg was born in 1984.
Most women can choose to use an egg donor, however; most women who do so are unable to produce their own eggs due to menopause, poor egg quality, genetic disorders, age, and more. The majority of women who try using donor eggs are over the age of 39. Women who have had radiation therapy, chemo therapy and ovarian surgery are also good candidates to use donor eggs.
The egg donation process will begin with various tests such as; medical screenings, blood tests, cultures, a pap smear, and uterine evaluation. Recipients of the egg donation must have a normal uterus in order for the treatment to work.
Egg donation is quite costly. The price of a treatment varies from clinic to clinic, but you’re looking at anything from £15,000 to over £50,000. Medical fees will be listed separately too.
After making the decision to use an egg donor, recipients will work with the clinic to choose the possible candidates. This selection process is usually done through an anonymous donor database. These can be searched by race, ethnic origin, religion, hair and eye colour, height and education. The recipients will also make a personal profile letter that will be shared with the donor. The personal profiles won’t identify the recipients, but they will contain some details, information about the couple and the couples struggle with infertility. Once the recipient has chosen a few desirable donors, the clinic contacts the donors and shares the recipient profile and confirm their availability. If the donor and the recipient both agree, they are matched.
Some egg donors donate their eggs because of their financial situation, but there are others who donate because of the feeling they get from helping a struggling couple. The egg donor should be totally healthy and on no medication, with a good history of family health.
There are now even ways that egg donors can search for their genetic offspring and children born from egg donation can search for any half siblings/genetic parents, using the Donor Sibling Registry.
Egg donation is just one other route that couples struggling for a baby can choose to take.