What is Egg Donation and How Does it Work?-image

What is Egg Donation and How Does it Work?

Egg donation is a procedure where one individual donates their eggs to be used in someone else’s fertility treatment. In this article, we’ll explain who might benefit from egg donation, the process and how you can choose a donor.  Quick facts: What is egg donation? Egg donation is when a woman or person assigned female-at-birth, donate some of their eggs to someone else’s fertility treatment. It’s proven to be a successful option for people unable to get pregnant using their own eggs.  Sometimes eggs are donated to friends or family that are unable to get pregnant. More commonly, eggs are donated anonymously to help couples or individuals trying to conceive. Who might need an egg donor? There are lots of different reasons why someone may need to use an egg donor. Some of the reasons could include:  What is the egg donation process? The egg removal, fertilisation and embryo transfer procedures used in egg donation are the same as standard IVF treatment.  How to choose an egg donor The first step in choosing an egg donor is deciding if you want a known egg donor or not. You might prefer to use a friend or someone you know as an egg donor.  If this is the case, your egg donor will need to go through ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval at the clinic you’ve chosen for your treatment. It is more common for people to choose an unknown donor. Most clinics will have a list of donors you can choose from. Some clinics might have long waiting lists for donor eggs but you can shop around to find a clinic with shorter wait times if you’re keen to get started. Some clinics have special licences that allow them to offer the option of importing eggs from abroad. Your clinic can’t provide you with identifying information about your donor. However, the profile available is extensive and transparent enough to allow you to make an informed judgement on your donor’s character and personality as well as including an accurate physical description. The information available about your donor will include: To get an idea of your donor’s character and personality, most clinics will have a questionnaire and profile completed by your donor. This will include their interests, a brief personal history and why they chose to become a donor. Some donors chose to write a goodwill message at the time of their donation to any potential children. You won’t receive any information that could reveal the identity of your donor and they won’t receive any information about you or your child once they’re born. If you choose a donor through a licenced UK clinic, they will be subject to a strict screening process. This involves background family health checks, screening for inheritable genetic disorders and testing to rule out infectious diseases like HIV, syphilis, gonorrhoea, and hepatitis. If you choose to use a known donor, they are still subject to the same checks at the clinic. What are the laws on donor eggs? The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HEFA) oversees assisted human reproduction in the UK. There are several laws in place to regulate licensed fertility clinics and donor conception. It’s illegal in the UK to pay a donor for anything other than expenses. The donor’s expenses are usually covered by your overall treatment cost with the clinic but you can double-check this with your clinic if you’re unsure. Donors have no legal rights or responsibilities to any children born with their eggs. That means if you conceive by donor egg, your donor will not appear on your child’s birth certificate, they won’t have any rights over how your child is raised, and they’re not required to contribute financially to the upbringing of your child. In the UK, egg donation is anonymous at the time of donation. This means the egg donor and you, the recipient, won’t know each other’s identity. However, when a donor-conceived person turns 18 they have a legal right to know their donor.  This means that if you have a donor-conceived child, they can choose to learn identifying information about their donor once they turn 18. The donor does not however have legal rights, claims or responsibilities towards your child and will not be able to contact your child or your family.  You can learn more about the rules around releasing donor information and identity from the HFEA. Are there risks involved with donor conception? As with any medical procedure, there are risks with egg donation. There is some evidence that people who conceive with donor eggs are at a higher risk of some pregnancy complications, including higher blood pressure, small gestational size, early delivery, and caesarean section. Are there any support networks for egg donation? There are plenty of support networks for people who have already been through or are just beginning their donor conception journey. DefiningMum.com founder and donor mum, Beaky Kearns, started the Paths to Parenthood support network to help you from the beginning of your donor conception journey through to parenting your donor-conceived child.  Members have access to regular interactive webinars and live chats from other parents and experts. Here, you can share your experience, find support and chat to other members for advice. Including how to choose your donor.  The site is full of resources from webinar recordings, personal stories, tips and other recommended resources. Resources