Donor eggs (oocytes) provide women who cannot use their own eggs, the opportunity to experience a pregnancy and raise a child.
Egg donation may be necessary if you:
- do not produce your own eggs
- have a known genetic disorder, which may be passed onto your own children
- if you have had several failed IVF cycles, when the problem can be attributed to their own eggs.
Known donation vs. anonymous donation
You can choose a relative or friend as a donor. This is called a known donor. The advantages of using a known donor mean you know the genetic origin and the waiting time for treatment can often be reduced.
Females can also voluntarily donate their eggs where they don't know the recipient. This is called anonymous or altruistic donation. Care Fertility recognises the right of the children to know their genetic origins and therefore only facilitates the use of donated sperm and eggs where the donors and recipients have exchanged identifying information about each other. This means that the parents of the child or children have the opportunity to communicate with the donor and give that information to the child or children at the appropriate time.
What does it mean to be a donor?
As a donor, you are entitled to know that your eggs have been successful in a pregnancy and live birth, and to know the gender of the child (as well as any birth abnormalities). Just because you’ve donated your eggs, does not mean it will result in a pregnancy, even if you have previously had children. The recipients become the legal parents of any children born and have financial and legal responsibility for those children.
Care Fertility provides medical consultation, counselling and IVF services required to use donated eggs from known donors. These procedures are similar to IVF and ICSI procedures and the success rate per cycle depends on the age of the egg donor.
Next steps if you are thinking about becoming a donor
The first step to becoming an egg donor is to check whether you meet some strict eligibility criteria.
- you must be aged between 18 and 41 years
- be fit and healthy
- know your genetic family history
- have no family history of genetic disorders
- have a lifestyle which does not place you at high risk of HIV (AIDS virus) and hepatitis virus infection.
If you believe that you fulfil the criteria and are interested in finding out more about donation, the next step is to contact Care Fertility. You will meet with a fertility specialist, a nurse and a counsellor, and undergo a range of blood tests. You will be required to complete a declaration of a healthy lifestyle, consent forms and meet your recipient family. If you, decide that becoming a donor is right for you, you may be well on the way to having a starring role in someone’s dream of pregnancy success.