Thousands of couples struggle with conception every year, worldwide. Many lose hope or don’t have the funds for expensive procedures. To fulfill the dreams of having a child, many fertility treatments are available.

One option is oocyte donation. While this process uses the eggs of another female, the sperm of the intended father is used. For many couples, this is the last resort. Once the process begins, it is quite fast paced.

What is Oocyte Donation?

An oocyte is essentially a female egg. When a female is unable to produce viable eggs, and other procedures have failed, this is an option. Physicians harvest eggs from a donor and begin the same process as in vitro fertilization.

The donor must go through a rigorous pre-treatment process and be deemed healthy for the procedure.

Who Qualifies as a Donor?

There is an extensive list of conditions that must be met in order for a female to be deemed as a good oocyte donor.

That list includes:

  • Age 20 – 30
  • Non-smoker
  • Successful pregnancies
  • Must not be overweight
  • Good physical health
  • Regular menstrual cycles
  • Not on regular medication
  • Not taking birth control of any kind
  • No drug or excessive alcohol use
  • Stable mental health
  • Willing to take hormone injections
  • Healthy family medical history
  • Responsible

The above conditions must all be met before a female is considered to be a viable donor. It is important that the donating female meet all of the above criteria. Missing on just one of these items can lead to unsuccessful conception attempts.

The Procedure

The procedure begins with a female being deemed qualified as a donor. She has to agree to the procedure, including a psychological examination and the general process. Once an agreement is signed, the process begins.

A full health examination, including blood work, is completed. Counseling is started as the process can cause some brief periods of depression, which is to be expected.

Once this is completed, the process of preparing the female donor’s body begins.

The first step is hyperstimulation of the ovaries. The first set of hormones to be administered are classified as gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists. These drugs stop the maturation of eggs in the donor body. Essentially this is an artificial menopause.

During the stimulation cycle, these hormones must be injected daily.

The next step is follicle stimulation. Following the hormone stabilization process, more daily injections are ordered to promote multiple egg production. This is to create multiple eggs for harvesting.

Eggs must be determined as being mature. As this is apparent, the ovulation period is started by a physician via medication of chorionic gonadotropin drugs.

This is when the process really steps up as the couple is contacted for sperm donation and the conceiving female is prepared with hormone injections to accept the eggs. The donor female is scheduled for harvesting of eggs no more than 36 – 48 hours from this time.

Once the eggs are harvested, they are combined with the male’s sperm. The fertilization process takes no more than 72 hours and the couple is scheduled for an implantation or in vitro process. Once this is complete, conception should occur, if it successful, within 14 days.

Aftercare

Men can return to their normal activities. Women, both the donor and the inseminated female, must rest. The donor female may have to take medications to return her body to normal ovulations. The inseminated female is closely monitored for up to 30 days.

This procedure is risky and carries about a 10-percent success rate. Some couples have higher success given their overall health. Returning the donor body back to normal status can take up to three full menstrual cycles.

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