Egg Donation

By (embryologist), (gynecologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 07/05/2019

In a surrogacy process, egg donation must sometimes be used so that IVF can take place and the embryos be formed. Single men, gay couples as well as women with problems producing quality eggs should turn to an egg donor.

In some countries, like in Spain for example, the gametes donation is an altruistic and anonymous act, in no way can the identity of the donor be known, the choice is made by the clinic staff and it is only verified that they share blood type and general physical characteristics with the future mother.

Requirements to donate

Surrogacy egg donors meet the same requirements as any other donor, and these women are young enough (21-30 years) to obtain many good quality eggs and to respond well to the medication received for the stimulation process.

They also undergo psychological testing, infectious disease testing, and genetic evaluations to ensure that the future baby has the healthiest genetic material. They will follow the same procedure that is used in any donor. The success rate they have in gestational surrogacy with donor eggs is around 70%.

Choosing a donor

Legislation is different in each country, so conditions for oocyte donation should be taken into account. For example:

  • Most countries do not allow the surrogate to donate her eggs, so there is no genetic link with the baby.
  • There are countries where the donor can be selected, is not anonymous and can even arrange an interview with her.
  • In the U.S., parents are allowed to contribute to the donor, so she may be a family member, friend...

The donor should always be tested to verify that she is a healthy woman and does not have any inherited diseases. Donors should be young women, as the quality of eggs decreases with age. Among the tests, an interview is also necessary to check that you are aware of what an egg donation means and wish to participate in the process on a voluntary basis.

Each country has its peculiarities, and it is also important to keep in mind that the cost of this technique will be added to the price of surrogacy. The price will vary depending on the destination but is a costly process, for example in the United States, it can mean an increase of 10,000 dollars.

Anonymous Donor

Most egg donation programs work with anonymous donors, but there are also some programs that offer a catalog of available donors, each with a profile, family medical history, ethnicity, weight, height, build, skin type, eye color, and hair color and texture. One of the most important characteristics is the age of the donor, as young donors (20 -30 years) respond much better to fertility treatments and provide a greater number of healthy eggs.

Thus, oocyte donors may be patients who have surplus oocytes after ovarian stimulation and who voluntarily give their consent for their remaining oocytes to be donated to women who need them, healthy women up to the age of 35 with normal reproductive function who are willing to undergo the donation process in exchange for financial compensation.

Usually, the choice of the donor is made by a medical team based on the physical characteristics of the recipient, ensuring the maximum possible phenotypic similarity with the recipient woman to promote the integration of the future child in the family nucleus.

Known Donor

In other cases, donors may be known, usually friends or relatives of the prospective parents, provided that the country's legislation permits this. For some parents the genetic inheritance is very important for that reason there are several couples who use the eggs of a sister to carry out this treatment.

Egg donation process

Regardless of the situation of the egg donor in a given country, the medical process is the same. Once the donor has been included in the donation program, ensuring that she is a healthy woman, we proceed with:

  • Administration of hormonal injections for 10-12 days to stimulate the ovarian cycle.
  • Periodic and analytical ultrasounds to check the development of ovarian follicles.
  • When the follicles acquire an adequate size, the folicular puncture is programmed.
  • Extraction of the eggs by ovarian puncture.

Once the eggs have been extracted by ovarian puncture, the donor can live a normal life and ends her intervention in the process.

After puncture, the eggs are transferred to the IVF laboratory where their state of maturity is observed. After a few hours, patients are informed of how many quality eggs and at the required stage of maturity have been obtained. Subsequently, the insemination of each egg is performed, the specialist chooses the best spermatozoa and introduces it into the interior of the egg. From this moment on, the embryos will be formed.

Success rates

The gestation rates obtained through oocyte donation are the highest in the field of assisted reproduction, reaching 60% gestation by embryo transfer.

FAQs from users

When is egg donation required?

By Dr. Joel G. Brasch (gynecologist).

Egg donation is required for decreased ovarian reserve with advanced maternal age or with premature ovarian insufficiency. Donor oocytes treatment does not have an age limitation.

In case I need donor eggs for surrogacy, can I get to know my egg donor as well?

By Dr. Joel G. Brasch (gynecologist).

There are two types of egg donation – anonymous donation and know donation. You will not be given your donor’s contact information if it’s anonymous donation, but you will see their pictures and detailed background information. You can contact and get to know your donor if it’s known donation, but the cost may be a bit higher. Both options are available, but anonymous donation is more common.

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Authors and contributors

 Cristina  Mestre
Cristina Mestre
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Dr. Joel Brasch is the Medical Director of Chicago IVF, founded in 2005. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and has over 25 years of direct experience in fertility treatment and reproductive care. He is also the Director of Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. More information about Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Adapted into english by:
 Marie Tusseau
Marie Tusseau
Babygest Staff
Editorial Director of Babygest magazine in French and English. More information about Marie Tusseau

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