Donor egg (DO) is performed in conjunction with IVF. This is frequently done for women in their later reproductive years, where the chance of a healthy egg and an ongoing pregnancy is quite low. It is a very successful procedure. Essentially a woman who is young and healthy goes through ovulation induction and oocyte retrieval. The eggs are inseminated with the recipient’s partner’s sperm. While the oocyte donor (OD) is undergoing this, the uterine lining of the recipient is hormonally prepared to receive an embryo. The recipient takes medication, estrogen, then estrogen and progesterone, in a controlled fashion. Serum levels of these hormones are checked, and the recipient’s uterine lining is monitored with ultrasounds. The lining is checked to see that it has a certain appearance and be of a certain thickness to ensure that implantation will occur. The recipient then has an ET. Frequently there are extra embryos which are healthy which are not transferred. These can be cryopreserved for another pregnancy, or used if the initial transfer was unsuccessful.
There are agencies which one can use to select an anonymous donor. Occasionally there can be a family member or friend who volunteers to be an OD. There are pros and cons to each of these scenarios. We ask all individuals that are contemplating to use donor gametes (egg or sperm) to speak with one of our counselors to process this decision. We also ask individuals that volunteer to donate their eggs or sperm to meet with a counselor as well. There can be issues which occur that are best processed ahead of time.