For many couples, the journey up to receiving a donor’s eggs has been a long, stressful, and extremely emotional experience. The dream of bringing a child into the world has been a tough struggle on them. Many women who require donor eggs have spent the past several years trying to get pregnant, and have also experienced the heart break of miscarriages, along with the physical and psychological trauma that this can cause.
Some women may suffer from a genetic condition and require the use of donor eggs to prevent from passing on the condition. Another reason for using donor eggs could be a poor quality of eggs, or perhaps a battle with cancer earlier in life that has left them infertile. Whatever the reason may be, without other caring and committed women, the couple’s dream could not come true.
A woman who is infertile, or has other complications with becoming pregnant, may be referred to meet with a physician that specializes in infertility procedures. The process the woman goes through is similar to that of an egg donor. Becoming an egg recipient includes:
- A thorough medical examination and review of medical and infertility history. This will also include a physical and blood test to determine their health and any current illnesses or diseases. The uterus is also examined by using a detailed sonic ultrasound, and the woman may require additional screening and tests.
- A psychological evaluation is a critical process when preparing to receive a donor’s eggs. Deciding to give birth to a child that does not completely share the same genes can be difficult. By seeking counseling, the recipient will be informed on the psychological aspects of receiving donated eggs. This is when any questions or concerns need to be addressed, as well as unresolved feelings regarding past pregnancies that were unsuccessful.
One of the biggest decisions the recipient couple has to make is selecting the donor who will provide the eggs. In some cases, the recipients already have a donor (Directed Donor), such as a relative or close friend. If there is no directed donor, an anonymous donor is selected through the clinics database. Some recipients prefer to use a known donor because they have more knowledge regarding the donor’s health and life choices. A relative who is donating also strengthens the genetic link between the parents and child. An anonymous donor goes through the same rigorous screening to ensure her eggs are of good quality and her overall health is optimal. The use of an anonymous donor can, in some cases, be less stressful during and after the procedure compared to a directed donor, because the known donor can sometimes feel obligations and responsibility to the child. The anonymous donor knows the procedure involves no contact with the egg recipient during the pregnancy and after the birth.
Once the eggs are retrieved from the donor, sperm from the recipient’s partner will be submitted the same day and used to fertilize the eggs. The embryo is monitored in the lab for approximately one week before transferring it to the recipient. The excess embryos are usually frozen for future use, such as having another child, or in the event of complications with the pregnancy. After the recipient has received the transferred embryo, she will be closely monitored for the next several months to ensure health, growth, and development of the baby. Following this, the recipient will have regularly scheduled appointments throughout the pregnancy to verify all is going as planned.