Egg donation is a method in which a fertile woman donates eggs to another woman to help her conceive. It is a component of assisted reproductive technology or ART. As a rule, the procedure involves a doctor preparing egg donors medically, retrieving eggs from the donor, fertilizing them in a lab, and then transferring the created embryos into the recipient’s uterus (intended mother or the surrogate).
Here are six things you may want or need to know about egg donation.
What Type of Egg Donation is Legalized in the Country I Choose?
If you plan to take a route of egg donation in your surrogacy journey, you should gather some information first. For example, it is vital to know whether egg donation is legal or not in your destination country. Most countries that allow egg donors to help intended parents make their dreams come true permit anonymous donations.
Royal Surrogacy offers surrogacy programs in Georgia, Ukraine, Argentine, and the USA, and respectively, egg donation is part of these programs. Donating eggs anonymously is legal in Argentina, while in the Georgia, Ukraine and the U.S., you can see adulthood photos of your egg donor.
What are the Selection Criteria of Egg Donors?
The donation is obtained by contacting a donor who needs to be a healthy and young woman who has undergone a long series of comprehensive tests. Both tests that track her medical profile, and tests that deal with personal issues.
As half of the genetic load of babies born in surrogacy after egg donation will be based on the donated egg. Agencies that offer support in surrogacy also include high quality database of egg donors as a part of their services.
Like in the case of surrogates, the selection of egg donors is also a complex process and Egg donation is done only after a very long line of medical, psychological, and personality tests. However, it is not mandatory to have their child for egg donors and be married or non-married. Agencies like Royal Surrogacy check their BMI, overall health, and background. And, what’s also important is that we require psychological consultations to be sure about their mental health. Besides, a good fit should be a non-smoker and, have regular, monthly menstrual periods, not using birth control, have good ovarian reserve and AMH level.
In consequence, potential candidates can be disqualified from being egg donors for several reasons. For instance:
- Lifestyle habits (e.g., smoking, history of drug use).
- Health issues (irregular periods, obesity, genetic disorders, etc.).
- Using particular types of contraception.
- The inability to commit to scheduling appointments, etc.
What Kinds of Lab Tests Do Egg Donors Undergo?
At Royal Surrogacy, your egg donor is also tested and screened as follows to give us a comprehensive picture of her health:
OBGYN Ultrasound to check her antral follicle count and breast Ultrasound to check her overall health is an essential part of initial screening. In addition, consultations with a mammologist and general practitioner are mandatory before starting any medical preparation. As for anesthesiologist consultation, it is planned after her confirmation only.
After egg donor selection, several deep exams take place, and different hormonal tests are performed. For instance: Coagulation, pap, and general smear tests, CBC, FHS, L.H., ESTRADIOL, AMH, and so on. Karyotype or carrier mapping screening of the egg donor may be requested by the doctor based on the medical history of the patient.
- A karyotype is an individual’s collection of chromosomes. The term also refers to a laboratory technique that produces an image of an individual’s chromosomes. The karyotype is used to look for abnormal numbers or structures of chromosomes. A typical test result will show 46 chromosomes. Two of these 46 chromosomes are sex chromosomes, which determine the sex of the person being tested, and 44 of them are autosomes. The autosomes are unrelated to determining the sex of the person being tested. For example, females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. This test is prescribed based on a doctor’s recommendation, and we will perform it in a certified laboratory as needed.
- As for carrier mapping, it is highly recommended, for instance, if a male partner is a carrier for certain genetic diseases. For a child to develop one of the genetic diseases, they must inherit two mutations for the same condition, one gene comes from the mother, and the other comes from the father. For the recessive inheritance of a genetic disease to occur, both genes in a pair must be abnormal. For example, suppose an egg donor and intended father carry a mutation in the same gene to have a child. In that case, several outcomes are possible: A carrier is a person who has a change in only one gene of a pair, and the other gene of the pair is working normally. A carrier is sometimes said to have the disease trait but has no physical symptoms of the disease. A recessive gene change or trait can be passed on through generations without ever being known in many families. A recessive disorder can only occur if a carrier person has a baby with another person who is also a carrier.
Egg donor medical preparation is followed on U.S. protocols mainly. Close supervision of the medical team is essential to ensure the ovarian stimulation process is going smoothly. As a result, we receive a good number of quality eggs on the day of egg retrieval.
The tests are crucial if you want to know the actual health condition the egg donor has. Thus, the steps stated above of our screening process are obligatory, and we always make sure to select the candidates with the best and most relevant results for this role.
How Long Does It Take to Prepare an Egg Donor for Egg Retrieval?
You may also wonder how much time is required to prepare your egg donor for egg retrieval. Well, it can differ and is linked to the donor’s menstrual cycle. For example, at Royal Surrogacy, this process takes approximately two months from donor approval till the aspiration of eggs after the intended parents approve the egg donor. While preparing the donor, you can receive the results of tests and monitor the donor’s health.
Can I Communicate with My Egg Donor?
As it has already been stated above, in most countries, egg donors are anonymous, so mainly communication with them is not possible. However, there can be exceptions based on egg donors’ consent; we at Royal Surrogacy can do a short interview or a video call. But, we do not recommend taking this step. Mainly because it is susceptible for some women that they cannot conceive naturally and need a help of a donor. We fully understand that, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Read our blog about this topic>>> (do you need an egg donor and a surrogate)
Intended parents and the egg donor choose the communication channel (like WhatsApp, Viber, Zoom, or Skype). Our coordinator attends the whole process and manages it to avoid miscommunication caused by the language barrier.
How is a Frozen Egg Shipped?
In case interned parents prefer to do egg retrieval in their own country and ship frozen eggs, it is definitely possible to arrange it. Please keep in mind that regulations may vary per country of destination and we strongly recommend to check it before stating donor preparation. In some counties for example in Georgia, you cannot transfer embryo created with anonymous egg donor to the surrogate, although you can freely do it in Ukraine or Argentina. As for regulations of the U.S., you must use a special FDA KIT and have all the necessary documents if you want the government to approve an embryo created in another country.
In general, it is recommended to freeze embryos – not the eggs, as an egg is one big cell that is frozen with the help of a unique method and after thawing (melting of a frozen egg), its survival rate is relatively low. Thus, if it is not an absolute necessity, it is not recommended to freeze eggs.
To conclude, selecting a suitable egg donor is as important as choosing a decent surrogate. It takes time, effort, and support from a good surrogacy agency. Still, it is worth it as sometimes egg donation is the only way to make your dream come true and become a parent of a healthy baby.
We do our best to make great matches of intended parents and egg donors suitable for each other. Furthermore, we always make the whole process transparent, smooth, and trouble-free for both parties involved by tailoring and personalizing our programs to the individual needs of our patients. In this way, we gain your trust and maintain it during and after the whole journey, as well.