What is Egg Donation and How Does It Work?

Pregnant woman holding belly with image of question markEgg Donation Cyprus is the process in which one woman (egg donor) donated her eggs to another woman (recipient) to help her conceive as part of an assisted reproductive treatment. 

Egg Donation embraces modern technology and advanced knowledge of biology, genetics and fertility in providing infertile couples with family building options. 

As a form of assisted reproduction, egg donation is growing in popularity. This fertility treatment offers an alternative path to parenthood instead of surrogacy. 

Egg donation Cyprus is a viable option for women with hereditary diseases, women who have had multiple failed cycles of IVF, women with ovarian failure, women with endometriosis. Another reason for using donor eggs is diminished ovarian reserve in older women.

How Does Egg Donation Cyprus Work?

All potential donors and recipients must undergo a thorough screening process to ensure that they are good candidates for the procedure. Once an egg donor and recipient have been accepted and matched, the egg donation process can begin.

This is an overview of the egg donation process:

Egg Donor Application & Screening

All potential egg donors fill out an egg donor application form. Candidates are interviewed and provided with further information regarding the egg donation process. At this stage, candidates will have the opportunity to discuss any issues or questions they may have related to the program.

Next, candidates undergo psychological and physical evaluations before moving to the next step. The psychological assessment makes sure that egg donors are completely aware of their role and responsibility in the process. The physical examination, on the other hand, tests the ovarian reserve and the level of fertility in potential egg donors. IVF centers also check the travel history to make sure the egg donor has not been to a Zika-affected country in the past six months.

Up to 10% of potential egg donors move to the second stage of the process. Only 1-4% of all applicants make it to the top. Some of the common reasons for not proceeding with the egg donation procedure are: egg donor’s age, BMI and location of fertility clinics. Other disqualifying criteria for the egg donation program may be a history of infectious diseases. These include: HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, active gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc.

Egg Donor – Recipient Matching

When a couple decides to use donor eggs Cyprus, they can select a candidate from the egg donor database. Anonymity between the egg donor and the recipient is essential. The match is made based on the medical evaluation and physical attributes of both egg donors and recipients. For most patients, it is very important that the egg donor has similar physical attributes.

After the selection is made, the patient coordinator will confirm the availability of the selected egg donor. If this person is available for the time the recipient plans to have their IVF cycle, then an official match will be made.

Ovulation Stimulation

Once all tests are done and a legal contract is signed, the egg donation cycle can begin. The egg donor will take daily doses of Lupron to suppress her natural cycle. That way the egg donor’s and recipient’s cycles are synchronized to ensure positive outcomes.

In addition, the egg donor will receive daily injections of gonadotropin to stimulate her ovaries to produce more eggs. During ovarian stimulation, the egg donors are closely monitored through regular blood tests and ultrasound scan. The blood test results indicate the response of the donor’s ovaries. If needed, an adjustment to the egg donor’s treatment plan will be made.

Uterine Lining Preparation

In the meantime, the recipient will start preparing her womb for the embryo transfer. Creating a favorable uterine environment is crucial for the success of the egg donor cycle. For this purpose, the recipient will take estrogen and progesterone to prepare her uterine lining for implantation. The uterine lining should be thick at least 7 mm. In rare cases, some patients encounter difficulties in reaching the optimal uterine thickness, for which they may require special treatments.

Egg Retrieval

When the ultrasound test shows that the donor’s eggs have sufficiently grown, an egg retrieval will be scheduled at the IVF clinic. Shortly before the retrieval, the donor will receive a final hCG injection. Two days later, the mature eggs will be collected from donor’s ovaries using transvaginal ovarian aspiration. During the procedure, the egg donor will be completely asleep.

Egg Fertilization

The retrieved eggs are fertilized with the partner’s or donor’s sperm via ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). ICSI is an advanced method for fertilization that uses micromanipulation devices to inject a single sperm cell into each egg. If using fresh sperm, the partner or sperm donor will need to provide a sperm sample the same day when the egg retrieval is scheduled. The embryos are incubated and graded based on their quality.

Embryo transfer

Embryos may be transferred into the recipient’s uterus on day 3 or day 5 after fertilization. Embryo transfer on day 5 is also known as blastocyst transfer. Some IVF centers prefer blastocyst transfer as this is known to increase the pregnancy rates and minimizes the risk of multiple pregnancies. Once study demonstrated the discrepancy in terms of success rates in blastocyst and cleavage-stage transfers. The results were as follows: pregnancy rate 44% vs 28% and live birth rate 37% vs 22% in the blastocyst transfer group and the cleavage-stage transfer group, respectively.

Post-Transfer Follow Up

The egg donor will be required to have a post-retrieval follow-up to make sure that she is recovering properly from both the ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. In most cases, egg donors return to normal in a day or two after the egg retrieval. Egg donation takes 3-5 weeks for most of the egg donors.

About two weeks after the embryo transfer, the recipient will need to do a pregnancy test via a blood test that measures the hCG level. If the test results are positive, the recipient will be referred to an obstetrician for prenatal care.

Egg Donation Risks

The risks of egg donation are relatively low. The only risks associated with egg donation may be the side effects of fertility drugs. The procedure and medications used for egg donors are the same as they are for women undergoing IVF with their own eggs. In rare cases, the fertility drugs prescribed can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS occurs when the ovaries of the donor produce too many eggs. Some of the symptoms of OHSS include difficulty breathing, rapid weight gain, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Legal Implications for Egg Donors

All egg donors are obliged to sign a contract with the recipient before the egg donation process starts. The contract ensures they donors have no legal rights or responsibilities over the resulting children. The woman who gives birth in the egg donation cycle will be recorded as the birth mother. Egg donors in Cyprus are not allowed to donate more than 5 times in a lifetime. The maximum age of a donor is 35 years.

Conclusion

Egg donation Cyprus allows infertile women and women with reduced ovarian reserve to become biological mothers. This program can help single women, heterosexual and same-sex couples to start their own families too. It is also an IVF advancement in the sense that it has improved the prospects of women with hereditary diseases to have healthy children. Ultimately, prospect patients should weigh up all the information and their personal circumstances, seeking advice from IVF specialists to help them make an informed decision.

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