Should you decide to journey into parenthood at a later age, lack the necessary quality of eggs or had fertility affected by a medical condition, IVF using donor eggs could potentially be an assisted human reproduction treatment worth considering.
This variant of in vitro fertilisation is characterised by the use of anonymous donor eggs which have been fertilised in the laboratory by your partner’s sperm, and is a method yielding high success rates and subject to both rigorous quality checks, in addition to the upmost safety.
What is in vitro fertilisation (IVF) using donor eggs?
Exceeding the age of 40 can make conceiving difficult as the quality and quantity of eggs are affected, in addition to an increased risk of chromosomal alteration.
However, this treatment is often recommended when:
- Traditional IVF has failed and ovarian stimulation has previously administered.
- Primary or premature ovarian failure has been diagnosed creating a null or low ovarian reserve.
- Menopausal women
- Ovarian surgery has previously been performed.
- Genetic disease or chromosomal alteration has been detected in the mother.
Who is in vitro fertilisation (IVF) using donor eggs for?
The levels of effectiveness assisted human reproduction treatments have reached in recent years cannot be overemphasised. Couples who have previously been unable to conceive can today realise parenthood opting for IVF treatment with donor eggs and sperm. However, such approach is not limited to just couples and has helped:
- Single women who have been diagnosed with abnormal quality and quantity of egg production and are therefore infertile.
- Homosexual women who are unable to provide the required quality or quantity of eggs required to fall pregnant.
- Heterosexual couples where both partners have diagnosed infertility conditions, examples being azoospermia or ovarian failure.
- Heterosexual couples where both partners are diagnosed as carriers or transmitters of genetic diseases.
- Couples who are past the age of fertility and are unable to obtain sperm and eggs with the capability to conceive.
- Couples who have undergone failed IVF processes with their own gametes.
Phases of in vitro fertilisation using donor eggs
If you are already familiar with the procedure of conventional in vitro fertilisation, it will become apparent the processes are very similar. Should this be the first time you sought to find out more about assisted human reproduction treatments, this makes for important reading.
1. Donor selection
Adhering to the previously outlined legal requirements of an egg donor, a phenotypic analysis is conducted to ensure donor and recipient genetics and physical traits are as similar as possible such as race, hair and eye colour. While the aforementioned will be as alike as can be, blood group and Rhesus Factor must be a match.
2. Donor preparation
The selected donor will then undergo in vitro fertilisation treatment: ovarian stimulation – usually administered by subcutaneous injections – followed by follicular puncture. The latter is a simple intervention which takes around 15 minutes and requires little sedation.
3. Embryo cultures and in vitro fertilisation
The extracted eggs are fertilised in the laboratory with semen provided by the recipient’s male partner. An intracytoplasmic injection is the common manner of administration in which a singular pre-selected sperm is introduced to the egg. A cultivation lasts two to six days depending on each case.
4. Recipient preparation
The donor and recipient will have synchronized their menstrual cycles to ensure the endometrium of the latter is developed for the embryo implantation at the right time. In reference to the recipient, hormonal treatment may be given orally, vaginally or using patches.
An ultrasound will also be needed in order to monitor the endometrium’s condition and if it has produced the required thickness.
5. Embryo Transfer
Fertilised embryos with the highest quality are then selected to be implanted into the recipient’s uterus. In accordance with Spanish legislation, no more than three embryos can be transferred. However, when provided by a donor, that number is lower as, given the quality of the produced embryos using this method, there is a greater chance of a multiple pregnancy which we tend to avoid.
Fertilised eggs are not lost and are frozen in the event a first attempt is not successful.
6. Post Embryo Transfer
Fourteen to 15 days following the implantation and you should have either one of the following outcomes:
- OPTION 1. You’re pregnant. This is likelier possibility in IVF procedures using donated eggs because donors are healthy and fertile women.
- OPTION 2. You are not pregnant.
- Should there be frozen embryos available, it is important to recover from that initial disappointment and look to endeavour once again as soon as possible. If aforementioned embryos are vitrified, the process is also quicker as both the stimulation and donor puncture phases can be skipped.
- Should there be no frozen embryos, the second attempt may suffer a delay if the donor does not ovulate during the primary hormonal stimulation.
How many cycles with donor eggs can you have?
This is among the foremost questions asked by women who are considering undergoing IVF treatment with donor eggs. How many chances will I get to fall pregnant? It is important to take into account medicine is not an exact science and that many personal variables can affect matters.
However, objective statistics after years of practice suggest success rates exceed 55% on the first attempt. However, this variant also complies with principle of accumulated gestation rate which puts the total between 80-90% for women who fall pregnant between the third and fourth cycle.
A trend in national data has shown increasingly mature women are having success with assisted human reproduction treatments. While the decision of undergoing any fertility procedure is entirely up to you, techniques such as IVF using egg donations has meant sterility is no longer definitive for women.