Egg, Sperm or Embryo Donation
Egg donation is a process in which a fertile woman donates an egg, or oocyte, to another woman to help her conceive. It is a part of assisted reproductive technology, or ART.
The procedure typically involves a doctor removing an egg or eggs from the donor, fertilizing them in a laboratory, and then transferring the resulting embryos into the recipient’s uterus. Doctors do this using an implantation procedure, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Egg donation frequently benefits women who cannot use their own eggs for various reasons, including ovarian failure, avoiding congenital anomalies in the fetus, or advanced age. Egg donation is often used for women whose ovaries have either been surgically removed or are functioning poorly. Poor function can be due to premature menopause, severe diminished ovarian reserve, medical disorders, or exposure to toxins like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Egg donation also is appropriate for women who were born without ovaries.
Other uses for egg donation have emerged in recent years. It is sometimes used to avoid passing down inherited diseases to a woman’s children. Egg donation also is used for women who have normal ovulation, but who have poor-quality eggs, for instance, women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, women of advanced reproductive age (over age 38), and women with low response to medications for ovarian stimulation.
Currently, Donor Insemination (DI) is appropriate when the male partner has severe abnormalities in his semen and/or reproductive system, which may be present at birth (congenital) or develop later (acquired) and in other situations. For instance:
Azoospermia (absence of sperm) can be due to a blockage (obstructive azoospermia), such as congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD) or previous vasectomy. Alternatively, azoospermia can be due to testicular failure (nonobstructive azoospermia) resulting from exposure to toxins like pesticides, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy.
Severe oligozoospermia (decreased sperm count) or other significant sperm or seminal fluid abnormalities also are indications for DI.
Ejaculatory dysfunction, such as inability to achieve or maintain an erection or to ejaculate, is a scenario where DI can be helpful.
DI in place of an affected male’s sperm can help bypass significant genetic defects that can be passed to children.
When there is no male partner, such as with single women who wish to become parents or lesbian couples who desire a pregnancy, but who lack a male partner, DI is needed for pregnancy.
Embryo donation is a procedure that enables embryos that were created by individuals undergoing fertility treatment to be transferred to other infertile patients to help them achieve a pregnancy. Reasons to have embryo donation include untreatable infertility that involves both partners, untreatable infertility in a single woman or woman without a male partner, recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to embryonic factors, and genetic disorders affecting one or both partners.
Embryo donation is a form of third-party reproduction in which unused embryos remaining from one person/couple’s in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment are donated to another person or couple. If embryos are donated to another individual or couple, the donor couple is giving someone else the potential to experience pregnancy and the birth of a child. The donor embryo(s) will be transferred into the uterus with the hope that it will implant and become a successful pregnancy. The resulting child is the recipient of the embryo—however the offspring’s genetic traits are those of the embryo donors.
Egg, sperm or embryo donations can be a difficult journey to navigate by yourself or as a couple. Please reach out to me so we can explore this together.