When it comes to conceiving, some people aren’t able to conceive a child spontaneously. This is a completely normal thing that millions of people suffer with and can be due to a range of things happening inside your body.

Whether you’re struggling to get pregnant because of an inherited genetic condition which causes infertility, or because of age, some people find getting pregnant much more difficult than others.

It’s not uncommon to feel anxious about the thought of getting extra help but thankfully, there are a range of fertility treatments that can be used to help you become a parent. One of the available options is egg donation.

In this guide, we’ve shared exactly what egg donation is, as well as the entire egg donation process so that you can decide the best route to parenthood:

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is when a fertile woman, whose eggs meet a determined set of criteria, offers to have some removed from her ovary in order to help another woman become a mother.

The process happens when a woman’s body produces the FSH hormone and releases a group of eggs. If these eggs are not fertilised, they will leave the body throughout the menstrual cycle.

Any donated eggs are put into a lab where they can be stored and used for fertility treatments, such as IVF.

Who is it for?

Eggs can be donated by most healthy and fertile women, although they’ll need to meet specific criteria to ensure that the chance of success is good. This is because the person who uses them is likely to be experiencing difficulty in trying to get pregnant spontaneously.

Along with older women who have a limited chance of becoming pregnant each month, you may want to go through the egg donation process if:

  • Your ovaries don’t function properly (often experienced through medical treatments such as chemotherapy).
  • You’re unable to produce eggs.
  • You have a genetic or hereditary disease that you don’t want to pass onto your child.

The female egg donor will remain anonymous throughout the process, so you will not be able to find out who owned the eggs when you want to use them to become pregnant. However, you can rest assured knowing that all of the donor eggs have passed the screening process and deemed likely to be easily fertilised in vitro.

The egg donation process

In order to understand whether egg donation is the appropriate route for you to become a parent, you may want to learn more about the egg donation process – and what you will be required to do. This helps you emotionally prepare for the exciting journey you’re about to take part in.

Egg donation begins when an egg donor applies to donate their eggs. Once the woman is accepted and shown to be fertile and healthy, her ovaries will be screened to make sure that the eggs you will receive have a high chance of successfully being fertilised.

If the ovaries are satisfactory and are likely to produce eggs, the donor’s follicles will be stimulated. This process may involve FSH hormone injections, regular scans and other medications.

As soon as the follicles have passed this part of the process, the eggs will be removed from the donor’s ovaries. This part of the process is usually done under sedation and the donor may experience some mild discomfort after the retrieval is complete, although their fertility specialist will be able to offer ways to relieve this.

The donor’s eggs are then frozen in a lab until they’re required by you for fertility treatment, such as IVF. The donated eggs will be combined with sperm to fertilise them when this happens. After this point, the fertilised egg will be implanted into your womb.

Egg donation success rates

While egg donation has a high success rate and has helped thousands of women to become mothers, not all egg donation processes result in a healthy, fertilised egg that will develop into a baby. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as issues with how their body responds to the donated egg or how the donated egg reacts with sperm.

As you can see, egg donation is a realistic treatment for women who are struggling to conceive. Although it may not instantly result in an embryo, egg donation offers good success rates and is a great option for heterosexual or same sex couples who are hoping to become parent

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