What is Egg Donation?
In egg donation, eggs are borrowed from a young woman (less than 33 yrs of age) called the donor, with her consent. These eggs are then fertilized with the sperms of the husband of the recipient woman and the resultant embryo (the earliest form of the baby), is inserted into the womb of the recipient. The success rate of this procedure is in the region of 30 to 40%. In fact, many women till the age of 50-55 have become pregnant by this technique. You will be surprised that the oldest woman pregnant by this procedure is 69 year old, residing in Italy. At our centre, the oldest women who has conceived with this technique is 51 years of age. This is probably the oldest woman to have become pregnant, in India.
Who can qualify for Egg Donation?
Women after the age of 40 tend to have fewer eggs in their ovaries or the quality of the eggs they produce may be poor. Thus, even new technologies like IVF and ICSI may not ensure a successful pregnancy. Furthermore, after the age of 40 to 42, many women stop producing eggs as they enter the stage of Perimenopause (decreased periods) or menopause (stoppage of periods). Till now, such women could only have a baby through the wonderful route of adoption. However, in the last ten years, a new technique of egg donation has come as a blessing to many such women.
Egg donation can also be perfomed on women who have had multiple cycles of test-tube baby (IVF or ICSI) and have still failed to conceive and become pregnant i..e. previous multiple ivf failures.
Besides elderly or menopausal women, egg donation can be done in younger women whose ovaries have prematurely failed or in young women who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Radiation or chemotherapy destroys the eggs and hence these women have a failure of their ovaries.
Egg donation is also used in patients who are carrying major chromosomal defects so that they do not pass the genetic defect to their children.
Patients suffering from severe Tuberculosis and severe Endometriosis may also produce poor quality eggs and hence can be treated by egg donation.
How are the Donors screened?
Generally, eggs are borrowed from healthy women less than 30 years of age and who are not suffering from any illness or genetic disorders. These young women, also called donors, are specially screened for AIDS and Hepatitis. Their family history is taken, to rule out any genetic problems. The donor can be married or unmarried. However, married donors with children would be preferable, primarily because they will have established their ability to produce fertile eggs.
What is the age limit of the recipient?
In general, any woman with a medical or genetic indication for using an egg donor can be a recipient, if there are no medical contraindications to pregnancy. Our current age limit is 55 years.