The first pregnancy following the use of donated sperm was reported in 1884 but it was not until 1983 that the first pregnancy following the use of a donated egg was reported. Sperm can easily be collected and frozen (cryopreserved) for storage. Eggs, in contrast, are difficult to collect and at present, cannot be frozen for storage for future use with guaranteed success. Fertility centres that offer this service are limited at present. With the advent of the technique IVF (in-vitro fertilisation), however, it is now possible for a woman to donate eggs (the egg donor) to another woman (the egg recipient). Nevertheless, a considerable amount of time and commitment is required to be an egg donor.
For a variety of reasons some women’s ovaries are not able to produce eggs. The most common causes are:
To enquire about egg donation please contact Yorkshire Fertility on 01422 224478
In order to become a fertility egg donor, you will need to fulfill certain criteria to establish your suitability.
Donor age limits - Current professional donor guidelines state that eggs should not be taken from egg donors aged 36 or over. Centres are required to observe the age limit unless there are exceptional reasons not to do so.
Donor screening - Before you donate eggs you will be required to undergo certain screening tests in order to reduce the risks of passing on diseases or deformities to any resultant child.
Donor consent - It is a legal requirement for written consent to be obtained from the egg donor and documented for the use of donated eggs in treatment.
If you are interested in becoming an egg donor we will be more than happy to discuss your options. You may contact our Egg Donation Coordinator Lucinda Doherty via firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucinda will arrange a consultation appointment to go through your medical history and perform some initial fertility investigations to assess your suitability. You will then be booked in to see one of our fertility doctors who will review your investigation results and assess your suitability of becoming an egg donor.
It is important then that you have an appointment with one of our counsellors where you must attend with your partner if you have one.
Finally you will see the Egg Donation Coordinator again who will perform screening tests and take swabs. Once the results have come back and are satisfactory you will be invited in to the clinic to sign the relevant consent forms and the Egg Donation Coordinator will be able to explain in more detail about the treatment and what is involved.
Although IVF (in vitro fertilisation) treatment is often the most cost-effective way of achieving a pregnancy for couples who need to use donor sperm, in some cases patients may be offered intra-uterine insemination with donor sperm. This treatment can use your natural cycle or may involve the gentle stimulation of your ovaries to produce a maximum of 2 follicles (fluid-filled sacs in the ovary which usually contain an egg). Usually both fallopian tubes need to be open for this treatment to be most effective.
Donor sperm may be provided by a known donor or may be purchased from reputable web-sites recommended by our clinic. Donor sperm must be screened for infectious diseases and if purchased from abroad will already have been frozen, quarantined and the donor re-tested after a period of six months.
The treatment itself is very simple. Most women have a fairly regular menstrual cycle, varying between 25-35 days. Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days prior to the next menstrual period. The donor sperm needs to be placed inside the neck of the uterus (the cervix) at around the time the egg is released. We determine the time that the egg is released by using testing kit, available through most chemists. When the urine testing kit suggests you are close to ovulation we will then arrange scans to confirm the precise timing of the insemination.
A speculum (the same instrument that is used when you have a smear test) is inserted into the vagina to expose the cervix. A small sample of frozen sperm is thawed and placed into the cervix using a small plastic instrument. This should not cause any discomfort.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Some women have irregular menstrual cycles, which makes it very difficult to accurately time ovulation. Under these circumstances, the clinic staff will ask the woman to take simple fertility drugs, such as clomiphene citrate. The dose used would be smallest dose to ensure a regular menstrual cycle and ovulation. When prescribing drugs such as Clomiphene we usually perform more frequent ultrasound scans in order to ensure that ovulation is taking place. The timing of insemination is the same as for woman with regular menstrual cycles.
Fallopian Tube Patency
Successful treatment using donated sperm requires the fallopian tubes to be open and working normally. The patency of the fallopian tubes can be checked either using an ultrasound technique ( hyCosy),x-ray (hysterosalpingogram (HSG)) or a Laparoscopy, which itself entails having a general anaesthetic. The hyCosy and x-ray HSG are the simplest procedures and can be performed as an outpatient.
Selecting the Right Donor Sperm
The donor sperm selected would come from a man who has similar physical characteristics to the male partner, including the blood group if possible. We record carefully the physical characteristics of the male partner, including his hair colour, complexion, build, eye colour, height and weight. These are then matched from the appropriate donor.
The Legal Situation
It is the law that the woman receiving treatment and her husband or male partner being treated with her will be the legal parents, although you will be the genetic parent of any born child.