Egg donation began in 1983. It is not widely available because eggs cannot be easily obtained (as compared to sperm), and cannot be frozen successfully in the unfertilized state. In the last few years however, the development of non-surgical egg retrieval techniques and embryo freezing have opened the doors for egg donation.
The first egg donor pregnancy occurred in 1984. Since then, over 8,000 babies have been born in the U.S. as a result of donor eggs. Experience and studies have shown that offspring of donor eggs are generally healthy children with no greater risk of birth defect than all children in the general population.
The criteria for egg donation is understandably strict. In order to donate, a woman must be between the ages of 19 and 30. She must have two normal ovaries and regular menstrual cycles. She must not smoke or use other drugs. The donor must be comfortable with injections, as the ovulation medications are by injection. The donor must agree to physical and psychological screening provided at no cost to her.
There are two types of egg donors, anonymous and known (related.) Anonymous egg donors wish to keep their identity confidential. The anonymous egg donor is comfortable with the understanding that her donation is totally anonymous. She will not know the outcome of her donation nor will she meet or learn the names of the recipient of her eggs.
Known donors are women known by or related to the recipient. This type of egg donation involves free exchange of information between the donor and the recipient couple. A psychological consultation is required due to the emotional issues that may arise when donor and recipient are acquainted.
The recipients of donated eggs are married couples with little or no chance of having their own child. The most common reason a couple seeks an egg donor is because the woman's ovaries have stopped producing eggs too soon. She may have had her ovaries removed as a result of disease like endometriosis, cancer, benign tumors or pain. The recipient woman may carry a genetic trait that she does not want to risk passing on to a child.
Male factor infertility does not rule out the use of an egg donor. Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (TESA) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), two of the newest treatments for male infertility may be used in combination with a donated egg. TESA involves taking sperm from the epididymis or testicle of the man and injecting the sperm (ICSI) into the egg of the woman. This procedure is done in the laboratory. Even when donated sperm is required, an egg donor may be useful.
In the past, couples with severe egg or sperm dysfunction had only two options: adoption or remaining childless. Today, egg donation, TESA and ICSI provide a third option: an opportunity for the couple to experience pregnancy and childbirth together.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: "I've had my tubes tied. Can I still
be an egg donor?"
Q: "How can I expect to feel when I take
Q: "Does it hurt when the eggs are taken?"
Q: "Will I use up all my eggs if I donate
Q: "Will donating eggs reduce the chance
of me getting pregnant later in my life?"
Q: Will I get paid for my eggs?"
Q: "How much time does being an egg donor
information about donating or receiving eggs or other infertility or in
vitro fertilization questions, contact the
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