Egg donation

For more information visit our website eggsharing.com 

Egg donation and egg-sharing

Egg donation

Egg donation

Egg donation is most commonly used when the patient is unable to produce her own eggs. This type of infertility is often associated with older maternal age, when the ovary's store of follicles is beginning to run out. The tell-tale signs are irregular - and even absent - periods, which are often a prelude to the menopause. In normal 'fertile' women this can happen in their late 30s and early 40s, but there are also unfortunate younger women who are found to have 'premature' menopause. This can happen in women as young as 20 or 30.

Fortunately because of the London Women's Clinic's egg-sharing programme we are able to meet demand for egg donation from our own sources. Egg-sharing, a treatment pioneered by consultants at the London Women's Clinic, allows a fertile women to share half her eggs with another patient in return for free or subsidised IVF treatment she might not otherwise be able to afford, while the recipient has the eggs she otherwise cannot produce.

Some patients, particularly the younger ones with a premature menopause, consider egg donation from a friend or family member. This type of 'known donation' can be quite reassuring for the patient, who is secure in her knowledge of the donor's identity. However, such 'intrafamilial' donation can raise ethical difficulties, and counselling is always essential.  

Shortage of Donor Eggs

The short supply of donor eggs in Britain has been described as 'critical'.  The result is that many women who need egg donation to have any chance of having a baby must either endure long waiting lists - which is not always a realistic option in older patients - or travel abroad to countries like Spain or Ukraine, where donor eggs are more plentiful.

Studies have shown that the age of a recipient is not key to success; more important is the 'age' - and quality - of the eggs provided by the sharer/donor.  Thus, as in all egg donation or egg-sharing programmes the uterus of the recipient must be primed for implantation with hormone therapy, so that the availability of the embryos is synchronised with the receptivity of the uterus. 

Egg-Sharing

Fortunately because of the London Women's Clinic's egg-sharing programme we are able to meet the demand for donor eggs from our own sources.  Egg-sharing is a treatment pioneered by consultants at the London Women's Clinic, allows a fertile woman to share half her eggs with another patient in return for free or subsidised IVF treatment she might not otherwise be able to afford, while the recipient has the eggs she otherwise cannot produce. 

The sharer has conventional IVF treatment, involving ovarian stimulation, egg collection and embryo transfer.  But half the eggs collected are randomly allocated to the recipient, whose uterus is prepared for embryo transfer with hormone therapy.  The recipient's allocated eggs are fertilised with her partner's or donor sperm and transferred as in conventional IVF.  Good results have been reported for both sharers and recipients, suggesting that the one does neither better or worse than the other.

Anonymity of Egg Donors

Most donor eggs are provided anonymously, and treatments are subject to the regulations of the HFEA.  This means that children born from donor sperm, embryos or eggs have at the age of 18 the right to know the identity of the donor.  Some have argued that this removal of anonymity, which took place in 2005, is one reason why Britain's supply of donor eggs has shrunk in recent years. 

To find out more please visit the HFEA website.

Known Egg Donation

Some patients, particularly the younger ones with a premature menopause, consider egg donation from a friend or family member.  This type of 'known donation' can be quite reassuring for the patient, who is secure in the knowledge of the donor's indentity. The known egg donor must fit a number of criteria before they can be accepted:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35.  
  • Be a non-smoker
  • Fit and healthy with a BMI between 20-30
  • Her FSH levels on day 2/3 of the cycle must be less than 8 iu/L, Oestradiol and LH must all be normal
  • Have no previous history of severe endometriosis or of having had one ovary removed
  • Have no history of transmissable disease
  • No personal or family history of inheritable disorders
  • An egg provider will not be accepted with untreated polycystic ovarian disease

A number of blood tests will also need to be completed before treatment can take place.  'Intrafamilial' donation can raise ethical difficulties, and counselling is always essential. 

Egg donation and egg-sharing

Egg donation

Egg donation

Egg donation is most commonly used when the patient is unable to produce her own eggs. This type of infertility is often associated with older maternal age, when the ovary's store of follicles is beginning to run out. The tell-tale signs are irregular - and even absent - periods, which are often a prelude to the menopause. In normal 'fertile' women this can happen in their late 30s and early 40s, but there are also unfortunate younger women who are found to have 'premature' menopause. This can happen in women as young as 20 or 30.

Fortunately because of the London Women's Clinic's egg-sharing programme we are able to meet demand for egg donation from our own sources. Egg-sharing, a treatment pioneered by consultants at the London Women's Clinic, allows a fertile women to share half her eggs with another patient in return for free or subsidised IVF treatment she might not otherwise be able to afford, while the recipient has the eggs she otherwise cannot produce.

Some patients, particularly the younger ones with a premature menopause, consider egg donation from a friend or family member. This type of 'known donation' can be quite reassuring for the patient, who is secure in her knowledge of the donor's identity. However, such 'intrafamilial' donation can raise ethical difficulties, and counselling is always essential.  

Shortage of Donor Eggs

The short supply of donor eggs in Britain has been described as 'critical'.  The result is that many women who need egg donation to have any chance of having a baby must either endure long waiting lists - which is not always a realistic option in older patients - or travel abroad to countries like Spain or Ukraine, where donor eggs are more plentiful.

Studies have shown that the age of a recipient is not key to success; more important is the 'age' - and quality - of the eggs provided by the sharer/donor.  Thus, as in all egg donation or egg-sharing programmes the uterus of the recipient must be primed for implantation with hormone therapy, so that the availability of the embryos is synchronised with the receptivity of the uterus. 

Egg-Sharing

Fortunately because of the London Women's Clinic's egg-sharing programme we are able to meet the demand for donor eggs from our own sources.  Egg-sharing is a treatment pioneered by consultants at the London Women's Clinic, allows a fertile woman to share half her eggs with another patient in return for free or subsidised IVF treatment she might not otherwise be able to afford, while the recipient has the eggs she otherwise cannot produce. 

The sharer has conventional IVF treatment, involving ovarian stimulation, egg collection and embryo transfer.  But half the eggs collected are randomly allocated to the recipient, whose uterus is prepared for embryo transfer with hormone therapy.  The recipient's allocated eggs are fertilised with her partner's or donor sperm and transferred as in conventional IVF.  Good results have been reported for both sharers and recipients, suggesting that the one does neither better or worse than the other.

Anonymity of Egg Donors

Most donor eggs are provided anonymously, and treatments are subject to the regulations of the HFEA.  This means that children born from donor sperm, embryos or eggs have at the age of 18 the right to know the identity of the donor.  Some have argued that this removal of anonymity, which took place in 2005, is one reason why Britain's supply of donor eggs has shrunk in recent years. 

To find out more please visit the HFEA website.

Known Egg Donation

Some patients, particularly the younger ones with a premature menopause, consider egg donation from a friend or family member.  This type of 'known donation' can be quite reassuring for the patient, who is secure in the knowledge of the donor's indentity. The known egg donor must fit a number of criteria before they can be accepted:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 35.  
  • Be a non-smoker
  • Fit and healthy with a BMI between 20-30
  • Her FSH levels on day 2/3 of the cycle must be less than 8 iu/L, Oestradiol and LH must all be normal
  • Have no previous history of severe endometriosis or of having had one ovary removed
  • Have no history of transmissable disease
  • No personal or family history of inheritable disorders
  • An egg provider will not be accepted with untreated polycystic ovarian disease

A number of blood tests will also need to be completed before treatment can take place.  'Intrafamilial' donation can raise ethical difficulties, and counselling is always essential. 

Downloads

Egg-sharing and egg donation information sheet

 

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