When is oocyte donation recommended?
Oocyte donation is a viable option for women that wish to achieve a pregnancy, but for various reasons they no longer produce good quality oocytes or produce no oocytes at all.
Such reasons are the following:
- early menopause
- surgical removal of the ovaries
- radiation treatment or chemotherapy
- advanced maternal age
- poor responders to medication
Oocyte donors are women between the age of 21 and 35 with normal fertility, healthy medical, psychological and family backgrounds. Our center provides a very successful oocyte donation program following the official published guidelines of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
The donation program involves the following stages:
- Every donation cycle must be planned 1-2 months in advance. The program begins with the donor’s assessment and involves consultation and counselling of the donor regarding the program itself as well as its procedures and regulations. During this appointment we record her personal, medical and demographic information, followed by the completion of a detailed medical questionnaire.
- Clinical examination of the donor by a gynaecologist.
- Laboratory examinations as suggested by official international organizations: Hepatitis B HbsAg and anti-HBC; Hepatitis C; HIV 1 antibody; HIV 2 antibody; Syphilis VDRL; Thalassemia; Full Blood Count; ABO system. All examinations are carried out 2-4 weeks before the egg collection. Specific genetic disorders or genetic mutations are not routinely tested, unless there is a family history link.
- When the donor completes all examinations and is approved by the centre to anonymously donate her oocytes in the program, she must sign the appropriate consent form to initiate ovulation induction.
- Once an oocyte donor has been approved by the center, a potential recipient is contacted and upon approval of the oocyte donor, preparation of the recipient begins. The center will always try to match the external characteristics of the female partner to those of the oocyte donor.
- Synchronization of the donor’s and recipient’s cycles requires careful planning by the center, which for the recipient involves a specific treatment regime to prepare the lining of the uterus for the embryo replacement.
- On the day of the egg collection, the oocytes collected from the donor are fertilized with the sperm of the recipient’s partner or in some cases, a chosen sperm donor. The embryos are further cultured and transferred in the recipient’s uterus.