✔ Fact checked
Author: Dra. Natalia Szlarb
Egg Donation and the 8 most
frequently asked questions
Egg Donation and the 8 most frequently asked questions
What is Egg donation?
Egg Donation is a very popular fertility treatment in fertility clinics. This is due to the increasing number of cases of women who decide to be a mother after the age of 40, an age that comes with a decrease in the ovarian reserve and the worsening of egg quality.
That makes many of these women have undergo Egg Donation treatment, that is, using a donor’s egg to achieve a pregnancy.
When we are about to start an Egg Donation cycle, emotions play a very important role and are key in the management of expectations. In Vida Fertility Institute we are asked many questions by our patients about the whole process, both in the stage prior to starting the treatment with donated eggs as well as in subsequent satages, once pregnancy has been achieved. In this article we have collected the most frequent ones in order help you with your decision to undergo IVF treatment with Egg Donation.
When is it advised to resort to Egg Donation?
As a general rule, age is one of the most common factors of patients who resort to egg donation treatment.
We know that, from the age of 38, not only does the quantity decrease, but also the egg quality; and it is from the age of 40 when the problem gets worse.
But there are other reasons: premature ovarian failure, absence of ovaries, previous failed fertility treatments, loss of ovarian function due to oncological treatment or the possibility of transmitting genetic alterations to the offspring when using your own eggs. All of these are indicators of the convenience to undergo a fertility treatment using Egg Donation.
How is the egg donor selected?
The egg donor is chosen by her physical characteristics and blood type. In Vida, our Donor Unit is in charge of allocating the ideal match between recipient and donor, which we commonly know as donor matching.
Before making this allocation, the donor candidates have been assessed by our fertility specialists, since we must carry out several medical and gynaecological screening tests through blood tests and ultrasounds scans.
Those tests help us study any genetic alterationthat could be transmitted from the donor to the future baby, as well as infectious diseases (HIV, different types of hepatitis). Besides we peform an assessment of their ovarian reserve and fertility level. All this is necessary to guarantee that the donor is a suitable candidate for egg donation.
Additionally, we carry out apsychological assessment in order to rule out any mental disorders and make sure the donor is perfectly aware about the process and its implications. Once the preliminary evaluation is completed, the candidate becomes a donor of our clinic Vida.
Will I get to know their identity?
The Spanish law requires the Egg Donation process to be anonymous, therefore, it is not possible to know the identity of the egg donor. Likewise, the donor will not have information about the recipient or the future baby, nor will she even know the result of the egg donation.
How long should I wait to start treatment?
Technically, there is no waiting list to start treatment, neither for starting egg donation treatment nor for the allocation of the donor.
In Vida Fertility Institute, everything is adapted to your dates and times, your availability to start your preparation and the medication to be ready for the embryo transfer. From there, we adjust everything syncrhonise recipient and donor.
How will my Egg Donation treatment be?
The treatment is simple, since it consists of preparing the recipient’s uterus to receive the embryo and thus increase the chances of implantation.
It has a duration of approximately 10 days. For those patients that do not live in Spain, the Egg Donation treatment can be followed from their home country without having to travel to our clinic during their preparation.
At Vida we have a Patient Care Unit fully dedicated in international patients who do not live in Spain. They will be the ones in charge of supervising the result of all ultrasound scans and blood tests so that everything is ready for the day of the embryo transfer; thus avoiding unnecessary trips to our clinic and therefore making the treatment as easy to manage as possible.
What is the success rate of my Egg Donation?
In our fertility clinic Vida we achieved a success rate in treatments using Egg Donation over 72% on the first attempt.
We only transfer embryos at blastocyst stage. This means we only transfer embryos on the 5th or 6th day of embryo development, which allows us to monitor the embryos’ development for a reasonable period of time.
That is how we can collect valuable information about their morphology and other characteristics with a single goal: to select the best embryo. For this reason, we guarantee blastocyst embryos in all our egg donation programmes. Only this way can we ensure that we are offering real chances of achieving pregnancy.
When will I know if I am pregnant?
Approximately 10 days after your embryo transfer, you will be able to get a blood pregnancy test. As a general rule, we recommend taking a blood test, also known as “beta”, because it is the best way to check the hCGlevels.
This hormone is responsible for the development of the pregnancy. The hCG levels give us an indication on the viability of the pregnancy, since its presence will exponentially increase as the days after the embryo transfer progress.
Physical resemblance: will I feel it mine? Will it look like me?
As we discussed earlier in this article, doubts arise not only in the initial phases of the treatment, but also during gestation. It is totally normal to question everything that is to come, imagine situations that have not yet occurred and project feelings in that regard.
However, our experience has taught us that all moms minimize these emotions with the birth of the baby. It is then that doubts take a back seat and we focus on the experience of motherhood.
Still, we are aware that the weight of genetics is there. Not providing part of the mother’s genetics could lead you to question how your future child may be, what will you provide for him and how will that heritage be.
Here is where epigenetics plays a big role since it does not speak only of genes themselves, but also of how these genes are expressed given the environmental and cultural influence they are subjected to.
Epigenetics is a Greek word and its meaning is clear: literally means being above (epi) the genome. Therefore, we cannot explain who we are based only on a sequence of our DNA. There are some epigenetic markers that are very relevant in the early stages of human development, such as pregnancy and childhood.
To this we must add the influence family quality will have and, especially, maternal bonding.
Throughout your baby’s life there will be many factors that will shape his/her appearance, character and values. And you will be a part of each one of these stages and he/she will resemble you in so many ways.
If you have any more questions or want to speak directly to a fertility specialist, contact us and we will be pleased to help you.