About Egg Freezing for Donation to One or More Couples
Egg (oocyte) donation is used in in-vitro fertilization (ivf) to allow infertile women with inadequate ovarian function to have children. These women (recipients) who are to receive the donated eggs may not have enough of their own eggs to conceive due to advanced age, prior ovarian surgery or removal, premature menopause, or for genetic reasons. If you, the egg donor, donate your eggs, they will be frozen until one or more patients choose the eggs to be fertilized with the sperm of the recipient’s partner (or donor sperm); the fertilized eggs (embryos) will then be transferred to the uterus of the recipient so that she may become pregnant. Fertilized eggs that are not transferred to the recipient might be frozen for later use by the recipient. Since the vast majority of such women are otherwise quite healthy and physically capable of bearing a child, egg donation provides them with a realistic opportunity of going from infertility to parenthood. The first successful reported cases of egg donation in humans occurred in the 1980’s, some 100 years after the first successful reported cases of sperm donation.
More recently, the science of egg freezing (cryopreservation) has advanced to where it is now feasible to freeze eggs for use in the future. In essence, egg banks are now coming of age. A huge breakthrough in this field took place in October 2012, when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), declared that egg freezing should no longer be considered experimental. This position statement has opened the doors for egg freezing to be included into patient care and the option has opened many possibilities for patients. The major advantage of this approach for egg donors is there is no wait time to be selected or matched with an intended parent and the schedule will be based on the donor’s availability and timing and not the intended parents’.
The eggs are harvested and will be frozen and kept safely in a state of “suspended animation” until they are thawed for subsequent use. Survival rates of the thawed eggs are anticipated to be in excess of 90%. It is still too early to give definitive pregnancy rates, but we anticipate these will approach 50% per cycle. The safety of the egg freezing method is validated by research showing the integrity of the internal structure of the eggs after freezing and thawing.
To be accepted as an egg donor at an assisted reproductive technology (art) practice, you are required to undergo an extensive screening process that includes a detailed medical and gynecological history, a physical examination, psychological counseling, genetic counseling, and blood tests to assess your ovarian function and to determine if you carry certain genetic traits and/or infectious diseases. Only if the results of all of the screening tests are acceptable will you be considered as a potential egg donor.
A detailed description of the ivf process, the medications used, the risks and side effects of the medications, and the risks of the procedure involved in retrieving eggs from your ovaries is described in the “consent to donate oocytes anonymously,” which will be provided at the time you commence treatment for egg donation.