Egg, Sperm, and Embryo Donation: The Procedures
If you and your partner are considering egg, sperm, or embryo donation, you are probably very interested in finding out how donations are retrieved and what steps need to be taken in order to use them in fertility procedures. This article will provide you with the basic information that you need when choosing to undergo egg, sperm, or embryo donation.
Egg donation is now being used more and more frequently in fertility treatments. In fact, more than 11% of all fertility procedures in the United States involved donated eggs. In order to use donated eggs in your IVF treatments, the eggs must first be retrieved from the donor. The eggs are then prepared for fertilization and are implanted into your uterus.
Retrieving Donor Eggs
The egg retrieval process takes a lot of time, commitment, and painstaking work by both the egg donor and your reproductive endocrinologist.
The aim of the egg retrieval procedure is to remove a number of healthy and mature eggs from the donor's ovaries. In order for this to happen, the donor must first undergo hormone therapy. Hormone therapy helps to encourage the development and release of multiple follicles, which can later be transferred into the recipient. Special hormones designed to stimulate the ovaries are administered to the recipient beginning three weeks before egg retrieval is to take place. Egg development is then monitored using ultrasound images. When the donor's eggs have matured to an appropriate point, the egg donor is given an hCG injection. This injection helps to trigger ovulation.
36 hours after the hCG injection has been given, the donor's eggs are removed through a procedure known as transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. This involves inserting a syringe into the ovaries with the help of an ultrasound guide. This syringe is then used to aspirate the mature egg follicles. Once these eggs are removed, they are immediately prepared for freezing or for use in fertility procedures.
Using Donor Eggs
Once the donated eggs have been retrieved, they can be prepared for use in fertility treatments. Eggs are taken to a laboratory and placed inside of a petrie dish. Next, donated sperm or sperm provided by your partner is washed and placed inside of the dish. The eggs are then monitored for fertilization. Once fertilization has taken place, the embryos are cultured for three days, until they can be implanted.
Embryos created from the donor egg are transferred once your endometrial lining has been built up. You will receive estradiol therapy while the donor is undergoing hormone therapy. This will help thicken your uterine lining, so that implantation can take place. You will also receive progesterone. After fertilization takes place, your uterine lining should be ready for implantation through IVF. Sperm donation is also becoming increasingly popular, especially with recent increases in male infertility rates. Donated sperm can be collected from known or unknown donors for use in IVF and IUI treatments.