Innovations in reproductive technology have provided alternative ways to become a parent — one method involves egg donation. Through egg donation services, the woman becomes pregnant using the donated eggs. The pregnancy may be hers, or she could be a surrogate mother for another couple.
According to Forbes, egg donors’ pay ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 per cycle, depending on the clinic. But the compensation is seen more as compensation for their time and effort, not payment.
Why Do People Opt for Egg Donation?
Egg donation is highly effective and achieves high pregnancy rates. One main advantage is that ovarian stimulation is not necessary. And after a successful donor cycle yields healthy eggs, it often results in a successful pregnancy.
So why do egg donors and recipients opt for egg donation for fertility treatment?
Donating your eggs does not affect your fertility.
There’s no medical evidence that donating eggs will affect your fertility. Each ovary recruits multiple follicles during your natural cycle. And only one grows to maturity, releasing an egg. This cycle remains consistent in a healthy woman.
Donors feel they want to help families in need.
In-vitro fertilization helps families to raise kids, especially when they cannot conceive naturally. And sometimes, donors show empathy by helping them with an egg donation.
Sex selection and genetic testing are possible.
Prospective parents can take advantage of genetic testing to screen for abnormalities in genes that may cause an inherited medical condition while also selecting the sex of the child. While some express an interest in one gender over the other, other couples desire a healthy baby during birth.
You can preserve the eggs for future family planning.
The donor releases extra healthy eggs each cycle and more than you need to conceive. The recipient couple can have these eggs frozen for future use when they want biologically related siblings.
The donor and recipient agreement is binding.
Most egg donations remain anonymous. But the practice also allows the donor and recipient to sign a legal agreement. If the donor wishes to visit the child or receive updates, a legal document can spell out the details of such visitations. These terms guide any future relationship between the recipient couple and the donor, even if they are close friends or relatives.
Who Is the Perfect Candidate for an Egg Donation?
The highest population of egg recipients are women over 40. In 2018, over 40% of reproduction through donor eggs resulted in a birth. You are the ideal patient to receive eggs from a donor if you have any of these signs.
- You have premature menopause (premature ovarian failure), which can occur before you are 40 years.
- You have a diminished ovarian reserve, so your eggs are low quality. This condition occurs after 40 when fertility starts to drop steeply.
- You have genetically transmitted diseases.
- Past IVF attempts have failed due to the low quality of your eggs.
How Does Fertilization Happen With a Donor Egg?
The donated egg can be from an anonymous source or a known source. The process starts with the initial consultation with the provider, including complete psychological counseling. Donors also undergo a medical screening.
During fertilization, the doctor fertilizes the donated egg with the sperm to create an embryo.
Then through in-vitro fertilization, the doctor transfers the embryo(s) into the uterus, where one of them implants. After a successful transfer, the pregnancy advances as usual, just like it would naturally. The woman will need to take hormones for about ten weeks after the embryo transfer.
Egg Donation Fertility Treatment FAQs
Q: Who bears the costs of egg donation?
A: The couple using the donor eggs for fertility treatment bears all the associated egg donation costs, including those of the donor.
Q: Are there complications that arise after egg donation?
A: Sometimes complications may arise, and the donor may experience bleeding, injury to abdominal organs or the bladder, and infection.
Q: Is it a good idea to talk to other couples that have tried this fertility treatment?
A: Yes, network with other couples who may share helpful tips for a successful conception.
Q: What are the main risks to a child conceived using a donated egg?
A: Sometimes, genetic screening misses to spot genetic problems that pass to the child. The couple also has to prepare to reveal the conception details of their child in the future.
Q: Why should a recipient couple request a second egg donation?
A: The first treatment may fail to implant successfully, and a second attempt may be necessary.
Q: What is the ideal age for egg donors?
A: The potential egg donors should be between 21 and 30 years. Success diminishes after that.
Q: How long does an egg retrieval cycle take?
A: The donor commits four to six weeks to make about seven clinic visits for egg retrieval.
Q: How long does the egg retrieval process take?
A: Egg retrieval takes about 30 minutes, with a recovery downtime of about 1 hour.