One small cell - a huge gift. Egg donors
Infertility is a problem that affects the increasing number of couples. Fortunately, modern medicine has at its disposal techniques of assisted reproduction and procedures that offer chances for having a child even if the fertility of one or both partners is seriously reduced. One of these techniques is egg donation.
Egg donation has been functioning in Poland for ten years. Initially, the donors were women who underwent IVF procedures and had some unused egg cells remaining. However, it soon turned out that the demand is much larger, which is why fertility clinics started looking for “external” donors.
Who are egg donors?
Children born as a result of egg donation were frequently mentioned by the written and oral media, so the topic began to gain popularity not only among couples treated for infertility, but also among potential donors. Women who wanted to share their egg cells started to report to fertility clinics. Sometimes, they were women who wanted to help their sister or friend in this way, and sometimes completely foreign individuals.
More and more donors are coming to us - says Patrycja Sodowska, MD, a gynaecologist-obstetrician at the InviMed Fertility Clinic in Katowice. - Donor selection is very thorough and starts with the completion of a detailed questionnaire on the health of the donor and her family. If the first stage of the selection process is successful, the candidate for an egg donor is invited to undergo detailed tests - adds.
Is egg donation safe?
Every woman has about 400 thousand egg cells, 200 thousand in each ovary. From this huge number, during her whole life not more than a few hundred are used in monthly menstrual cycles. And the remaining egg cells? You can share them with women who face the problem of infertility and cannot become mothers because they do not have their own egg cells (e.g. due to premature ovarian failure or after cancer treatment).
Egg donation does not pose a threat to the health of women who donate them and is effective in the case of women who become recipients. The donors are subject to strict verification before the collection of egg cells.
Requirements regarding egg donors
To become an egg donor, a woman must meet some rather stringent conditions, consistent with the guidelines, including those issued by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE):
- First of all, she must be in a perfect health condition and be less than 32 years old. The donors are examined in detail both for viral infections and genetic issues. The aim of all these tests is to exclude diseases with a genetic, neurological, hormonal and even psychological background.
- The potential donor must have a normal Pap smear, regular monthly cycles and two ovaries.
- The candidate for gamete donor must be free of addictions.
How does the egg donation process work?
The whole egg donation process takes about 4-8 weeks. In addition to detailed tests, the future donor undergoes consultations with a gynaecologist and psychologist, and then undergoes hormone treatment, the aim of which is to increase the number of egg cells produced during one menstrual cycle. The very procedure of collecting egg cells is short and is painless (it is performed under anaesthesia). The donor spends only a few hours in the clinic and can go home the same day.
The procedure of both egg donation and subsequent reception of donated eggs is entirely anonymous. Yes, there are situations when a donor wants to help a specific person from her family, such as a sister or cousin. Then the rule of anonymity is not obligatory. On the other hand, in the case of women who are total strangers to each other, the gamete donor never gets to know their recipient.
Effectiveness of Egg Donation programme
The treatment of infertility with the use of donated eggs is not only enjoying the growing popularity, but is also highly effective. For many couples struggling with infertility, egg donation is the only chance for having a child. At InviMed, we take pride in the high effectiveness of IVF with donor eggs - admits Patrycja Sodowska, MD, a gynaecologist-obstetrician at the InviMed Fertility Clinic in Katowice.
Nearly 7 out of 10 patients who in 2017 benefited from the anonymous egg donation programme at InviMed today enjoy being a mother. At InviMed clinics, the effectiveness of a single cycle in which embryos obtained from a set of donor eggs amounts to 68%.
We make every effort to ensure that our patients become parents. The meticulous procedure of the selection of candidates for donors and maintaining the highest medical standards at every stage of the egg donation process, we can effectively help nature. Each pregnancy obtained through IVF means a huge happiness for our patients and a success for the medical team -doctor Sodowska adds.