Egg donors are an option for many patients. It is recommended for women who have age-related infertility, reduced egg quality, premature menopause, or diminished ovarian reserve. Women who have certain genetic diseases are also candidates for using donor eggs. Eggs can come from a fresh donor cycle or from an egg bank.
Choosing a Donor
Patients may identify their own donor, often a close friend or relative. More commonly, however, the egg recipient does not know the egg donor’s identity. Anonymous donors are between 21 and 30 years of age, in good health, with normal ovarian reserve. Each prospective donor undergoes screening for genetic diseases and infectious diseases, hormonal testing, a physical exam, and an ultrasound. Each donor also has a psychological consult and a consult with a genetic counselor.
For anonymous egg donors, we maintain strict confidentiality of the donor’s and the recipient’s identity; however, the egg recipient will have access to all of the donor’s extensive medical and family history.
RMA of Philadelphia also works with various national egg banks that offer pre-screened eggs which have already been retrieved and frozen. These eggs may be purchased and shipped to RMA. We are then able to store the eggs until the patient is ready to thaw them. This option may decrease wait time and removes the need to synchronize a woman’s cycle with a present egg donor. The recipient for a frozen donor egg cycle is given estrogen and progesterone to ready her uterus, similar to what takes place in a fresh donor egg cycle.
What to Expect
We synchronize the cycles for both the recipient and donor, so that the recipient’s uterus is fully prepared for the embryos created with the donor’s eggs. The recipient is treated with estrogen and progesterone, to prepare her uterus. The donor is stimulated with medication that will help her body to produce multiple eggs. Typically, this takes between nine and 12 days. The donor will then have a transvaginal egg retrieval to remove the eggs. During a frozen egg donor cycle, the eggs are thawed and fertilized at the appropriate time and the woman’s uterus undergoes uterine preparation with estrogen and progesterone to mimic a natural cycle.
On the day of the egg retrieval or thaw of cryopreserved eggs, the recipient’s partner (if applicable) will produce a fresh semen sample, typically by masturbation either on-site or at home. If semen is collected at home it should be brought into the office within about an hour. Donor sperm is available, if needed. The sperm is then combined with the donor eggs. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be indicated if the semen analysis is abnormal.
Embryo transfer is typically performed five days after donor egg retrieval. Because donated eggs come from young women, we typically transfer one embryo.
For more information on donor eggs, please contact us today.