What is Egg Donation?
Egg/Sperm/Embryo Donation are the types in IVF procedure.Egg donation- With the consent of the donor, who is a woman of age below 33 years the patient borrows the egg from the donor. Then the fertilization of the egg with the woman’s husband’s sperm is done, and the doctors insert the resultant embryo in the womb of the receiver. The probability of success of the process is between 30-40%. There are several cases in which women of age 50 to 55 have got pregnant with this method. And the oldest women in the world to receive this treatment successfully was of 69 years old from Italy. In Dr. Manjunath’s clinic, the oldest lady to conceive the technique is 62 years old. And also probably the most senior women in India.
Women with the following conditions qualify for the egg donation.
The women who had the treatment of test tube baby in multiple cycles and still failed to become pregnant can get the egg donation. Young women who have prematurely failed ovaries or those who had the chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer are also eligible for the egg donation. The chemotherapy and radiation results in the destruction of the eggs. The women who have severe chromosomal defects receive the treatment so that the genetic defects does not occur in the next generation. The quality of eggs might get poor in case of patients suffering from severe Endometriosis and Tuberculosis. Hence, the egg donation is useful in such cases as well.
- In this day and age more and more career oriented women are getting married late in life. By the time they start planning to have children, they are nearing the fourth decade of their life (40 years). Fortunately, at this age, many women can conceive naturally. However nearly 10 to 15% women fail to conceive within a year’s time. These women who are more than 37-40 years of age then resort to treatment of infertility by their gynecologist. If they still do not become pregnant they take help of newer technologies like IVF – In Vitro Fertilization (test-tube baby) orICSI – Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection.
- Women after the age of 40 tend to have fewer eggs in their ovaries or the quality of the eggs they produce may be poor. Thus, even new technologies like IVF and ICSI may not ensure a successful pregnancy. Furthermore, after the age of 40 to 42, many women stop producing eggs as they enter the stage of Perimenopause (decreased periods) or menopause (stoppage of periods). Till now, such women could only have a baby through the wonderful route of adoption. However, in the last ten years, a new technique of egg donation has come as a blessing to many such women.
- In India, preference is given to younger couples to adopt children. Couples over the age of 45 can adopt, but find it difficult to do so, because of Governmental preference for younger parents. Such couples can tremendously benefit by egg donation.
- Egg donation can also be perfomed on women who have had multiple cycles of test-tube baby (IVF or ICSI) and have still failed to conceive and become pregnant.
- Besides elderly or menopausal women, egg donation can be done in younger women whose ovaries have prematurely failed or in young women who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Radiation or chemotherapy destroys the eggs and hence these women have a failure of their ovaries.
- Egg donation is also used in patients who are carrying major chromosomal defects so that they do not pass the genetic defect to their children.
- Patients suffering from severe Tuberculosis and severe Endometriosis may also produce poor quality eggs and hence can be treated by egg donation.
Incase the recipient’s husband’s sperm is of poor quality; the eggs can be fertilized by the technique of Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Two days later, a four-celled embryo is formed. Three days later, a eight-celled embryo is formed or five days later a multi-celled Blastocyst is formed. This embryo (small baby) is then transferred back to the womb either at the four cell, eight cell or the Blastocyst stage.
30 to 40% of such women will become pregnant. Incase they fail to become pregnant they can have a repeat egg donation cycle. Many women undergo two to four cycles and achieve their goal of a child.
- As easy as the method may sound, the biggest problem faced by both doctors and patients is the availability and source of egg donors. Ideally, the best donor would be her own sister or near relative from her side (not from husband’s blood relative). We have done such cases successfully in Lilavati Hospital. However, in this day and age of small nuclear families many times it is difficult to get such donors.
- Further more, it is very important that if there is a sister donating eggs, there should be a very good mental understanding between the sisters. The donor is not anonymous in this case, and thus many a time there are possibilities of inter-personal conflicts arising when the child becomes older.
- We also accept recipients who have identified their own non-anonymous donors.
- The other and the most acceptable donor would be a voluntary unrelated donor. There are a lot of women who may just out of altruistic (philosophical) reasons donate eggs to women who are suffering from the trauma of infertility. It is important to popularize such egg donation. However, even in an advanced society like Britain’s, there is a great dearth of voluntary egg donors, in spite of extensive advertisement in the press.
- By voluntary egg donation, we mean donation of the eggs by the donor without expecting any monetary or other reward in return.
- The third area, which can be a source of donors can be a paid donor. You may be surprised that this is legal in USA and young college girls are paid as much as US$6,000 for donating their eggs. But in a protestant society like Britain’s, this form of donation is considered illegal and unethical. Even in the Indian society, where there is no law on egg donation at present, such kind of paid donation may not be socially and culturally acceptable. Clinics in India do not practice paid donation.
- Recently the Govt of India has appointed Indian Council of Medical Research to legalize infertility practice in this country including that of egg donation, embryo donation, semen donation & surrogacy. The ICMR has legalised paid egg donation and surrogacy. Our unit at BabiesAndUs fertility IVF ICSI centre has just started doing some degree of paid egg donation based on the ICMR draft.
- In all the groups of related, voluntary or paid donors, there is a certain degree of risk the donor is exposed to. The donor is given multiple injections to produce eggs, as well as a shot anesthetic. She is also exposed to the risk of surgical egg removal.
- Hence, there evolved a new concept of shared egg donation which started in Britain but is now popular in the USA and also in India. There are many young women who are infertile due to other reasons and who also need the procedure of IVF or ICSI.
- However, they cannot afford to spend money for these procedures. Many of these women produce 8 to 10 eggs during their treatment. These patients are asked to share some of their extra eggs with the recipient. This is done by taking the informed consent of the young woman. In return, a part of the expense of medical treatment of the young woman is borne by the recipient. Thus, both the donor as well as the recipient who need IVF, are benefited, without any extra amount of risk to the donor. The anonymity of both-the donor and the recipient- is maintained so that they don’t know each other. With the help of this technique, many young women who cannot afford IVF can mother a child. The same goes for elderly women who can afford IVF and can have a child.
- The process of egg sharing is an excellent example of symbiotic relationship between women, one with a physical need and one with a monetary need, with the ultimate common goal of bearing a child. It is a safe, effective, successful, legal, ethical and socially acceptable method of advanced reproductive technology.
- We at the Fertility, IVF & ICSI Centre generally indulge in family related donors or egg sharing.
- We hope that more and more voluntary donors will come forth, to help needy infertile patients become pregnant.
How Is Embryo Donation Different From Egg Donation?
The embryo donation is different from the egg donation. In the embryo donation, the donor donates a naturally fertilized embryo which gets transplanted in the womb of the recipient. The donor signs a consent form that states her willingness to make the donation. It is the right of the donor to stop the process anytime before using the embryo in the treatment. Later, the donor cannot get involved in the procedures.
How Can I Be Sure Of The Legality Of It?
The embryo donor will sign a consent form which will make state her willingness to donate the embryo. The donor has the right to stop the procedures at any time until the embryo is actually used in a treatment. Afterward, the donor legally exempts herself from any involvement.
Is It A Paid Transaction?
As of now in India Embryo Donation is done completely without payment as per the law. Certain legal developments are underfoot that may change the status quo in the near future. In some countries like the United states of America, it is usual to receive payment for embryo donation.
What About The Possible Genetic Problems For The Child In Future?
All the donors are rigorously tested for any hereditary conditions using latest genetic analysis techniques before the embryo is used for implantation in the recipient’s uterus.
Why Should I Use This Technique?
If you are of an advanced age, if other IVF techniques have failed to give positive results for you and you are unable to adopt due to the preference is given to younger couples you should give this technique some serious thought.
Are The Success Rates Good?
The success rates have been found to be quite high. As long as your body is in a state to go through a pregnancy you may depend upon Dr. Nandita Palshetkar and her IVF Clinics in India to give you the little bundle of joy you so desire.
It is a good option for the couples in which the males are incapable of producing healthy sperm, or they don’t want their kids to inherit any disease. The fertilization of egg takes place with the donor’s sperm inside the body of the recipient. And this process is known as the DI (donor insemination). The sperm passes through the plastic tube which passes in the cervix and into the womb. The treatment takes place when the patient ovulates for better chances of getting pregnant. The fertilization can be done in the laboratory as well with the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The egg gets removed surgically and fertilized in the lab. After that, the egg is placed back in the womb for the natural development of the embryo.
Dr. C S Manjunath is a fertility specialist in Bangalore, India, who combines a high level of medical expertise with the latest IVF treatment-related medical technology to offer high success rates among Infertility treatments. For more information or consultation please write to firstname.lastname@example.org