Women suffering from premature ovarian failure, genetic diseases, or reduced ovarian reserve due to ageing or other factors may need IVF with donor eggs to get pregnant. Egg donation, also known as oocyte donation, is usually suggested for women who want to undergo IVF after the age of 40 because the quality of eggs declines sharply with age and it is the main reason for women not being able to conceive in older age.
So if the quality of eggs is keeping you from the joys of parenthood, it’s about time you look into your options for donor egg IVF.
Is donor egg IVF for us?
If you have failed to conceive with self-eggs IVF, or have miscarried after a positive conception, it is possible that the quality of your eggs is causing embryo arrest and you may benefit from use of donor eggs.
The other cases in which IVF with donor eggs is suggested are:
- Early menopause
- Premature ovarian failure
- Genetic problems
- Hormonal problems
- Age of female over 40 years
- Poor quality of eggs
When you visit your doctor for IVF, a few tests and ultrasound will be performed, based on which the doctor may recommend the use of donor eggs.
Who will be the egg donor?
If you have some in your family, friends, or acquaintances that is willing to provide her eggs, it would be great, but she must fit the criteria for egg donors.
The common requirements for egg donation state that a potential donor should:
- Be between 21-32 years of age
- Not have reproductive problems
- Have regular monthly periods
- Preferably have children of her own
- Be physically and emotionally healthy
- Not be indulging in excessive alcohol or smoking
- Be willing to undergo medical examination
- Be willing to take injectable medication
Alternatively, the egg donation agency can help you find an anonymous egg donor that closely matches your requirement.
These women are screened for health and psychological problems and are willing to share their eggs for a small compensation. The rules about selecting and meeting the egg donor are different in different countries.
In India, for example, you cannot meet the egg donor and neither can she find out about you.
Cost of IVF with donor eggs
Donor egg IVF costs vary from around $3,800 in India to $40,000 in the United States.
The costs are different because the cost of hiring the donor, medical and psychological evaluation, medications, and the egg donors’ fee vary from place to place.
Below are the approximate costs of donor egg IVF in different countries:
Countries to go for donor egg IVF
Egg donation is legally allowed in:
- India – Egg donor cycle costs $3,000 – $5,000 but you cannot meet with the donor unless she is somebody known to you, in which case no compensation is required
- USA – It costs $25,000 – $45,000; you can select and meet with the donor
- UK – In the UK, the birth mother is considered the legal mother of the child. Most clinics charge around $8,000 – $10,000 extra for donor eggs.
- Mexico – Donor eggs will cost $5,000 – $8,000
- Malaysia – An extra cost of $7,000 – $10,000
- Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ukraine, Hungary – $1,200 – $6,000 extra for donor eggs
Egg donation is not legal in:
- Thailand – Commercial egg donation is not allowed for foreign patients
- Canada – Allowed but only for altruistic reasons. Monetary compensation for egg donors is not legal.
- Australia – Sale of any human tissue (including eggs, sperm, embryo) is not allowed so your best option is to ask somebody you know to donate her eggs.
- Austria, Italy, Germany, Norway and some European countries – Egg donation is illegal
- China – Donor eggs and surrogacy are illegal
How does donor egg IVF work?
Below is the process of IVF with donor eggs:
STEP 1 – Egg donor selection and screening
Based on the selection criteria the egg donors are screened for physical and psychological health, and their consent is taken. Usually an egg donation agency will have a database of such women.
STEP 2 – Donor matching
Your blood group and physical profile will be matched with the donor and if it’s a good match her profile will be shared with you. Is some countries, you will be allowed to see the donor’s picture or meet her as well.
STEP 3 – Ovarian stimulation of the donor
Suppression of the natural cycle and then stimulation of ovaries is done with the help of daily injections to increase the possibility of collecting a good number of eggs.
STEP 4 – Endometrial preparation of the intending mother
Simultaneously, near to the ET date, you will be given oestrogen and progesterone injections to prepare your endometrium for pregnancy.
STEP 5 – Ovulation trigger and egg retrieval from the donor
Once the doctor is convinced of with complete development of eggs with the help of ultrasound imaging, an HCG injection is given to trigger ovulation, and egg retrieval is done two days later.
From STEP 6 – the normal IVF procedure follows.
Donor egg IVF Success Rates
According to statistics from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology for the year 2015, the highest success rate of 50.4% was recorded with donor egg IVF, where fresh embryos were used.
Some clinics report upto 70% success rate with donor egg IVF. Given that the quality of eggs is one of the major reasons for IVF failure, higher success rates are certainly obtained with donor eggs but you must also get tested to check for your ability to carry the pregnancy to term.
If both the gametes (eggs and sperms) are good quality and you are physically and emotionally fit to carry the pregnancy, the chances of IVF success become very high.
Risks related to egg donation
IVF with egg donation carries risks similar to that of IVF, including:
- 20 – 25% risk of multiple pregnancies
- 3-5% risk of birth defect (same as in natural pregnancy)
- Side effects (like OHSS) from hormonal injections to the donor
- Women may face other problems—such as nausea, vomiting, breathlessness, pain—from the administered medication
Whether the donor is known to you or anonymous, if your treatment is protected with legal contracts, parental rights of the donor can be removed.