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Infertility Solutions: Egg Donation
One of the biggest questions for couples looking to conceive is whether they should go with fresh or frozen eggs. While both offer equal chances of pregnancy, it can be a difficult decision to make. There are several factors that must be taken into consideration, such as what you are looking for in a donor, your personal timeline, and donor egg cost. Equipping yourself with more information will help you to make the best decision for your unique situation.
What is Egg Donation?
Egg donation is when a woman undergoes stimulation and egg retrieval, and then donates the eggs to a third party, usually for the purposes of biomedical research or assisted reproduction. When it comes to assisted reproduction, in vitro fertilization (IVF) technology is typically used on donor eggs. Eggs are fertilized in the laboratory while unfertilized eggs are stored and frozen for later use. This is also known as third party reproduction and is a component of assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Egg Donation in India
In India, egg donation is becoming much more common as many women search for alternative fertility methods to become pregnant, or to assist infertile women by providing their own healthy eggs. Choosing to give the gift of life is its own reward – and while donors are compensated for their time and effort, the key motivation lies in women helping other women grow their dream families. Whether you are giving or receiving eggs, the option of egg donation may be your perfect solution.
How it Works
The first step for a couple who has decided on using donor eggs is to select a suitable donor from a pool of pre-screened egg donors online. For prospective parents of Indian descent, finding a donor of similar heritage and of a particular caste may prove more challenging – but it has and can be done. Once the availability of the egg donor is confirmed, she has to pass an FDA-required round of testing. Only then can an official match be made.
Next, the egg donor will inject herself with a medication called Lupron to synchronize her cycle with her recipient’s through suppression. Her ovaries are then stimulated; gonadotropin is used to encourage more than one egg to be ready for retrieval. Once the eggs are mature, the donor will have to inject herself with hCG to trigger ovulation. Two days later, egg retrieval takes place at the doctor’s under I.V. sedation.
After egg retrieval, the donor has to return for a post-retrieval checkup to make sure that she is recovering well from the procedure. Most feel normal after a day or two; if not, the clinical team will monitor her condition closely.
Meanwhile, the donor recipient needs to develop a favorable uterine environment, with an endometrial lining of at least 7 mm. She will to take estrogen and progesterone to prepare for implantation.
With the eggs successfully retrieved, they will be fertilized with either the donor’s partner’s or a donor’s sperm. The partner will need to produce a fresh sample at this time if fresh sperm is being used. Embryos that have been fertilized will then be incubated and graded. The embryologists will allow the embryos to develop for three to five days, then they will be transferred into the recipient’s uterus.
The entire egg retrieval and implantation process takes 3 to 5 weeks. Recipients will have their blood tested for pregnancy two weeks after the embryo transfer to measure the level of hCG, a pregnancy hormone. Once pregnancy is confirmed by rising hCG tests and an ultrasound, recipients will move on to their obstetricians for prenatal care.
Fresh vs. Frozen
A fresh donor egg cycle involves a donor whom you select and coordinate with to sync your cycles together before the eggs are retrieved. You will receive the entire yield of her cycle, whether it’s 8 or 26, good or bad eggs. Conversely, with a frozen egg cycle, the eggs are already retrieved and frozen and ready for you to use. You will receive a lot 5-8 mature eggs, and you know from the beginning exactly how many eggs you will get.
Fresh cycles are more likely to generate multiple embryos, since more eggs are retrieved per cycle and thus more viable embryos will develop. However, since the donor must go through pre-screening and stimulation before retrieval can occur, using a fresh egg donor can be an unpredictable process and involve a long waiting time.
Using frozen eggs is a more streamlined process and they are just as consistent in resulting in a pregnancy. The number of eggs is smaller, so there may be fewer embryos for the recipient to use in future IVF cycles, which is something to consider if the recipient desires siblings with the same genetic background. On the other hand, when selecting a donor from a frozen egg bank, you may have the option to acquire an additional egg lot from the same donor to store for future use.
What to Expect Emotionally
It’s completely normal to feel grief, excitement and resentment. These are some of the most commonly cited emotions. Recipients often feel grief at not having a biological connection to their baby or share physical traits. There may even be resentment at knowing your child will have a connection to his father but not the mother. Yet, you will still experience all the joy and excitement of getting pregnant, carrying a baby to term and giving birth. Just because a child doesn’t share your genetics does not make them any less your child.
There are no right or wrong decisions, only the best one for yourself. Whichever one you decide on, here’s wishing you a successful result – a baby.