BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-ASSISTED REPRODUCTION WITH EGGS FROM DONOR-Lab technician

IVF with Egg Donation

Human egg (oocyte) donation was first introduced in 1983 and has evolved over the past 30 years into a relatively common procedure that addresses a variety of reproductive disorders. This method has provided key insights into the physiology and pathophysiology of reproduction. Furthermore, techniques introduced by egg donation, such as schemes for adequate hormonal preparation of the uterus for synchronizing embryos with a receptive endometrium, have been successfully applied to other fertility therapies, including the management of patients with cryopreserved embryos for transfer and those requiring in vitro maturation of immature oocytes (IVM).

BIOMATERNITY’s Egg Donor Programme

BIOMATERNITY’s Egg Donor Program helps match egg donors with women whose own eggs are unable to produce a pregnancy. BIOMATERNITY has one of the most established egg donation programs in Greece. Couples who want to be parents feel confident choosing us because of our experience and success rates.

Sometimes a woman’s eggs are not able to achieve pregnancy. This can be the result of age, illness, genetic abnormalities, prior surgeries, or an unsuccessful response to fertility medications used to stimulate ovulation, or egg production.

Egg donation allows a woman to conceive a child using her own healthy uterus. In this situation, the donated eggs are mixed with sperm and the resulting embryo is implanted into the uterus.

Donor egg IVF is a form of fertility treatment where a young, healthy woman’s eggs are used to produce embryos that are then transferred to the recipient woman’s uterus to establish a pregnancy. The recipient carries the pregnancy to term and gives birth to the baby. BIOMATERNITY’s offers two distinctive egg donor program: the standard

  • “Fresh Donor Programme” that utilizes fresh donor eggs and the
  • “Frozen Donor Programme” a unique program offering frozen donor eggs.
BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-ASSISTED REPRODUCTION WITH EGGS FROM DONOR-Female Reproductive System
BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-ASSISTED REPRODUCTION WITH EGGS FROM DONOR-Female Reproductive System

BIOMATERNITY’s Egg Donor Programme

BIOMATERNITY’s Egg Donor Program helps match egg donors with women whose own eggs are unable to produce a pregnancy. BIOMATERNITY has one of the most established egg donation programs in Greece. Couples who want to be parents feel confident choosing us because of our experience and success rates.

Sometimes a woman’s eggs are not able to achieve pregnancy. This can be the result of age, illness, genetic abnormalities, prior surgeries, or an unsuccessful response to fertility medications used to stimulate ovulation, or egg production.

Egg donation allows a woman to conceive a child using her own healthy uterus. In this situation, the donated eggs are mixed with sperm and the resulting embryo is implanted into the uterus.

Donor egg IVF is a form of fertility treatment where a young, healthy woman’s eggs are used to produce embryos that are then transferred to the recipient woman’s uterus to establish a pregnancy. The recipient carries the pregnancy to term and gives birth to the baby. BIOMATERNITY’s offers two distinctive egg donor program: the standard

  • “Fresh Donor Programme” that utilizes fresh donor eggs and the
  • “Frozen Donor Programme” a unique program offering frozen donor eggs.
Fresh Donor Programme
The initial part of a fresh egg donation IVF cycle is carried out in the same way as for infertility and consists of five basic steps:

  • Ripening of the eggs in the donor.
  • Retrieval of the eggs in the donor.
  • Fertilization of the eggs and growth of the resulting embryos.
  • Suppression of the cycle and preparation of the endometrium in the recipient.
  • Embryo transfer.

An egg donation cycle using frozen eggs is much easier and shorter and consists of three basic steps for the recipient.

  • Using estrogen for about two weeks to develop the endometrium and suppress ovulation.
  • Thawing and fertilizing eggs and starting progesterone to prepare the endometrium for transfer.
  • Embryo transfer.

Once the donor screening is successfully completed, the actual treatment cycle can be performed. This requires synchronization of the menstrual cycles of the donor and the recipient to ensure that the recipient’s uterus is prepared for the transfer of the embryo. This synchronization creates logistical challenges and some uncertainty for both the donor and the recipient. In the frozen egg bank cycle, the donor completes her cycle at a time convenient to her schedule. Likewise, the recipient is able to time the embryo transfer predictably and with convenience.

A fresh cycle will typically take 1-2 months to complete depending on, screening and cycle synchronization.

Our pregnancy rate from fresh egg donation cycles was 72% per transfer. An average of 1.5 embryos was transferred.

Frozen Donor Programme
Oocyte donation is an efficient alternative to using own oocytes in IVF treatment for different indications. Unfortunately, ‘traditional’ (fresh) egg donations are challenged with inefficiency, difficulties of synchronization, very long waiting periods and lack of quarantine measures.

The recent improvements in the efficiency of oocyte cryopreservation, have allowed the option of frozen instead of fresh eggs.

The outcome of using frozen (vitrified) eggs demonstrate that egg cryosurvival is high and that fertilization, embryo development, implantation and pregnancy rates are similar to those reported after fresh egg donation. It also provides additional advantages of being more efficient, more economical, easier for both donors and recipients and potentially also safer, because eggs can now be quarantined for 6 months (or longer) to retest for infectious diseases in the donors.

Egg freezing has improved significantly over the past several years due to fine-tuning of freezing and thawing protocols. Thawed egg survival and viability is much better than it was in the past. These improvements now should allow for reasonable pregnancy and live birth success rates using frozen donor egg.

Egg freezing is far from perfect but using frozen donor eggs instead of fresh donor eggs can have some potential advantages for the recipient couples.

  • Synchronization of the cycle between the donor and recipient becomes a non issue.
  • There can be a shorter time frame from choosing a donor until having embryo transfer when eggs are already frozen.
  • Costs per treatment cycle can be reduced using frozen donor eggs compared to fresh.
  • However, the cost per baby born could be lower, the same, or higher – depending on the live birth rate per embryo transfer procedure.

The cost per cycle will certainly be lower with frozen donor eggs. At this time, a reasonable estimate is about 50% for a live birth rate if 2 embryos are transferred after thawing frozen eggs, compared to 85% in our fresh donor egg program when 2 are transferred.

Fertility Center of Last Resort

Because BIOMATERNITY has developed a reputation as the “fertility center of last resort” for women with severely diminished ovarian reserve (also called Low unctional Ovarian Reserve, LFOR) and other difficult cases of infertility, a large majority of our patients come to BIOMATERNITY with a history of failed fertility treatments elsewhere and a recommendation for donor egg IVF. While our specialized clinical expertise in treating women with diminished ovarian reserve (either due to premature ovarian aging or advanced maternal age) has helped about a third of these women conceive with their own eggs, for two-thirds of these patients, donor egg IVF remains the treatment option with the highest chance of having a baby.

BIOMATERNITY considers egg donation as a treatment of last resort. Our physicians believe in explaining all reasonable treatment options to women and couples, and in helping them make their own informed decisions regarding which treatment to pursue. Too many women, in our opinion, are pushed into egg donation prematurely. We want to make sure that everyone entering a donor egg IVF cycle is fully convinced that this is the option they truly want to pursue, and if the patient decides to give IVF with their own eggs at least one chance before she considers egg donation, we respect that decision and we apply our innovative and individualized treatment approaches to help them get pregnant with their own eggs.

Donor Egg IVF Offers the Best Pregnancy Chances

No fertility treatment offers higher pregnancy chances than egg donation (oocyte donation). The reason is obvious: Egg donors are usually young (BIOMATERNITY’s egg donor pool rarely includes women above age 30 years).

An egg donor’s young age means that the recipient’s pregnancy chances and miscarriage risks become those of the young egg donor. Pregnancy chances decline and miscarriage rates rise with advancing female age.

Consequently, no fertility treatment can beat 20-year-old eggs in a 40-year-old infertility patient, who, now, has the pregnancy chance and miscarriage risk of a 20-year-old. Since the egg contributes approximately 95% (and sperm only 5%) to the ultimate “quality” of the embryo, the male’s age is of much less importance.

BIOMATERNITY Fertility Specialists

At BIOMATERNITY we understand the emotional rollercoaster your fertility journey can take you on and the dreams you have… that’s why we’re here for you every step of the way.

BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-EGG DONORS

Egg Donors

At BIOMATERNITY we have the utmost admiration and respect for young ladies who decide to help others by donating their eggs. Becoming an egg donor may feel complex and overwhelming. It is our job to guide the egg donor through the process, alleviate concerns, and make this a pleasant and fulfilling experience.

Without egg donors like you, couples who are struggling to start a family would have little hope. Egg donation has been described as one of the most powerful and rewarding decisions a woman can make, and we hope you choose to become an egg donor.

Donor Requirements
For potential donors, the basic egg donation requirements are:

  • Between 21-29 years of age.
  • Have regular monthly periods.
  • No reproductive disorders or abnormalities.
  • No family history of inheritable genetic disorders.
  • Physically and emotionally healthy.
  • BMI under 29 (BMI calculator).
  • Non-Nicotine user, Non-smoker, Non-drug user, No history of substance abuse.
  • Not using contraceptive implants or Depo-Proverainjections (a form of progesterone, a female hormone that prevents ovulation – the release of an egg from an ovary) as a form of birth control. Depo-Provera can cause birth defects.
  • Willing to undergo medical and psychological evaluation.
  • Willing to take injectable medication.
  • Willing to commit to the process for a minimum of 6 months.
  • Dependable, mature, and able to keep appointments.
  • Excited about the process of helping to build a family.

Egg Donation Process

The egg donation process consists of two phases.

In the first phase, ovarian hyperstimulation, donors receive a series of hormonal drugs which cause the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs during one menstrual cycle.

During the second phase, egg retrieval, mature eggs are removed from the donor through a surgical procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration.

Egg donors should expect to spend around 60 hours for screening, testing, and medical appointments throughout the course of the procedure.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Women generally receive three classes of drugs during the ovarian hyperstimulation phase of donation. Prior to beginning the three-drug regimen, some donors may also take birth control pills in order to regulate their menstrual cycles.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist Analogues
These first stage of the hormonal drug regimen utilizes a class of drugs termed gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist analogues. These drugs are used to suppress the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland, which normally triggers eggs to mature within the body. This creates an “artificial menopause” in donors. Physicians can then control the timing of egg maturation and ovulation through the administration of other medications.

These drugs are generally administered through daily subcutaneous injections over the span of the stimulation cycle, and donors are encouraged to rotate injection sites to limit bruising. As an alternative to multiple injections, some clinics may prescribe a daily nasal spray or administer a single injection of Depot Lupron at the beginning of treatment.

Commercial forms of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist Analogues include:

  • Buserelin/Suprefact
  • Lupron
  • Goserelin/Zoladex
  • Nafarelin
  • Triptorelin
  • Synarel
  • Prostap

Follicle Stimulating Hormone or Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
After hormone levels have been suppressed by the first class of drugs, donors then begin a daily injections of either follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). This will encourage the development of multiple egg follicles, allowing the physician to retrieve several mature eggs at one time.

Because of elevated fertility at this point, donors in many programs are required to abstain from sexual intercourse to protect against unwanted pregnancy. While donors are taking these medications, physicians will periodically measure for the maturation of eggs through pelvic ultrasounds and blood tests. Dosage levels of FSH or hMG may be adjusted to minimize side effects and optimize the number of eggs available for harvest. During the last days of hyperstimulation, donors will undergo daily ultrasounds and blood tests.

Commerical forms of FSH or hMG include:

  • Gonal/f
  • Pergonol
  • Humegon
  • Menagon
  • Urofollitropin/Metrodin
  • Clomid tablets

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Once tests indicate that eggs have matured, ovulation is triggered through a single injection of human chorionic gonadotropin. Egg retrieval occurs 34-36 hours after this injection.

Commercial forms of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin include:

  • Pregnyl
  • APL
  • Oxidrel
Side Effects of Ovarian Hyperstimulation

While allergic reactions to fertility medications are unlikely, donors commonly experience abdominal swelling, tension and pressure in the ovarian area, mood swings, and bruising at injection sites as a result of fertility drugs. Temporary menopause-like symptoms, including vaginal dryness and hot flashes, may result. If the donor does not abstain from sexual intercourse, unintentional pregnancy is another common complication. In one study of 110 donors, 7 percent experienced accidental pregnancy between donation cycles due to enhanced ovulation.

A less frequently occurring risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a serious complication marked by chest and abdominal fluid build-up and cystic enlargement of the ovaries that can cause permanent injury and even death. According to one study, severe OHSS affects between 1 and 10 percent of donors depending on the drug regimen used, although other studies show a lower incidence of the condition. Patients with OHSS may experience dehydration, blood clotting disorders, and kidney damage.

Less than one percent of the time, drugs can also cause adnexal torsion, a condition that results when a stimulated ovary twists on itself and cuts off its blood supply. Surgery is required to untwist and in some cases to remove the ovary. Additionally, some studies suggest that clomiphene, a drug sometimes used during hyperstimulation, may increase a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer. However, this risk applies mostly to women who take the drug for a year or more. A few case reports have shown that the drug Lupron can aggravate existing tumours of the pituitary gland and cause strokes.

While serious complications are rare, a majority of donors will report pain and mild side effects from the procedure. In a recent survey of 61 egg donors, 64 percent responded that the physical side effects of fertility drugs, injections, and retrieval were a negative aspect of donation.

Egg Retrieval

Eggs are retrieved from the donor through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, a surgical procedure performed under conscious sedation. Using a tube attached to an ultrasound probe, a physician guides a suctioning needle into each ovary and removes mature oocytes from the follicles. A medication such as oral promethazine may be used to prevent nausea during the procedure. Following egg retrieval, donors generally remain in the clinic for 1-2 hours and then return home for further recovery. An antibiotic such as oral doxycycline will be prescribed to prevent infection, and donors should undergo a follow-up exam and ultrasound one week after the retrieval.

Side Effects of Egg Retrieval

Because egg retrieval involves surgery, donors may occasionally suffer structural damage to organs in close proximity to the ovaries. Major injury to the bladder, bowel, uterus, blood vessels or other pelvic structures occurs in approximately 1 in 500 to 1000 surgeries. Though the procedure is performed under sedation or mild anaesthesia, egg retrieval can cause mild to moderate discomfort. Surgical risks include acute ovarian trauma, infection, infertility, vaginal bleeding, and lacerations. Additionally, anaesthetic complications may occur, although they are rare in healthy women. In one study of 674 women who underwent egg retrieval, 1.5 percent required hospitalization due to complications occurring during or after surgery.

BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-EGG DONATION PROCESS
BIOMATERNITY Fertility and IVF Specialsts-EGG DONATION PROCESS

Egg Donation Process

The egg donation process consists of two phases.

In the first phase, ovarian hyperstimulation, donors receive a series of hormonal drugs which cause the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs during one menstrual cycle.

During the second phase, egg retrieval, mature eggs are removed from the donor through a surgical procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration.

Egg donors should expect to spend around 60 hours for screening, testing, and medical appointments throughout the course of the procedure.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation

Women generally receive three classes of drugs during the ovarian hyperstimulation phase of donation. Prior to beginning the three-drug regimen, some donors may also take birth control pills in order to regulate their menstrual cycles.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist Analogues
These first stage of the hormonal drug regimen utilizes a class of drugs termed gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist analogues. These drugs are used to suppress the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) by the pituitary gland, which normally triggers eggs to mature within the body. This creates an “artificial menopause” in donors. Physicians can then control the timing of egg maturation and ovulation through the administration of other medications.

These drugs are generally administered through daily subcutaneous injections over the span of the stimulation cycle, and donors are encouraged to rotate injection sites to limit bruising. As an alternative to multiple injections, some clinics may prescribe a daily nasal spray or administer a single injection of Depot Lupron at the beginning of treatment.

Commercial forms of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonist Analogues include:

  • Buserelin/Suprefact
  • Lupron
  • Goserelin/Zoladex
  • Nafarelin
  • Triptorelin
  • Synarel
  • Prostap

Follicle Stimulating Hormone or Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
After hormone levels have been suppressed by the first class of drugs, donors then begin a daily injections of either follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). This will encourage the development of multiple egg follicles, allowing the physician to retrieve several mature eggs at one time.

Because of elevated fertility at this point, donors in many programs are required to abstain from sexual intercourse to protect against unwanted pregnancy. While donors are taking these medications, physicians will periodically measure for the maturation of eggs through pelvic ultrasounds and blood tests. Dosage levels of FSH or hMG may be adjusted to minimize side effects and optimize the number of eggs available for harvest. During the last days of hyperstimulation, donors will undergo daily ultrasounds and blood tests.

Commerical forms of FSH or hMG include:

  • Gonal/f
  • Pergonol
  • Humegon
  • Menagon
  • Urofollitropin/Metrodin
  • Clomid tablets

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Once tests indicate that eggs have matured, ovulation is triggered through a single injection of human chorionic gonadotropin. Egg retrieval occurs 34-36 hours after this injection.

Commercial forms of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin include:

  • Pregnyl
  • APL
  • Oxidrel
Side Effects of Ovarian Hyperstimulation

While allergic reactions to fertility medications are unlikely, donors commonly experience abdominal swelling, tension and pressure in the ovarian area, mood swings, and bruising at injection sites as a result of fertility drugs. Temporary menopause-like symptoms, including vaginal dryness and hot flashes, may result. If the donor does not abstain from sexual intercourse, unintentional pregnancy is another common complication. In one study of 110 donors, 7 percent experienced accidental pregnancy between donation cycles due to enhanced ovulation.

A less frequently occurring risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a serious complication marked by chest and abdominal fluid build-up and cystic enlargement of the ovaries that can cause permanent injury and even death. According to one study, severe OHSS affects between 1 and 10 percent of donors depending on the drug regimen used, although other studies show a lower incidence of the condition. Patients with OHSS may experience dehydration, blood clotting disorders, and kidney damage.

Less than one percent of the time, drugs can also cause adnexal torsion, a condition that results when a stimulated ovary twists on itself and cuts off its blood supply. Surgery is required to untwist and in some cases to remove the ovary. Additionally, some studies suggest that clomiphene, a drug sometimes used during hyperstimulation, may increase a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer. However, this risk applies mostly to women who take the drug for a year or more. A few case reports have shown that the drug Lupron can aggravate existing tumours of the pituitary gland and cause strokes.

While serious complications are rare, a majority of donors will report pain and mild side effects from the procedure. In a recent survey of 61 egg donors, 64 percent responded that the physical side effects of fertility drugs, injections, and retrieval were a negative aspect of donation.

Egg Retrieval

Eggs are retrieved from the donor through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, a surgical procedure performed under conscious sedation. Using a tube attached to an ultrasound probe, a physician guides a suctioning needle into each ovary and removes mature oocytes from the follicles. A medication such as oral promethazine may be used to prevent nausea during the procedure. Following egg retrieval, donors generally remain in the clinic for 1-2 hours and then return home for further recovery. An antibiotic such as oral doxycycline will be prescribed to prevent infection, and donors should undergo a follow-up exam and ultrasound one week after the retrieval.

Side Effects of Egg Retrieval

Because egg retrieval involves surgery, donors may occasionally suffer structural damage to organs in close proximity to the ovaries. Major injury to the bladder, bowel, uterus, blood vessels or other pelvic structures occurs in approximately 1 in 500 to 1000 surgeries. Though the procedure is performed under sedation or mild anaesthesia, egg retrieval can cause mild to moderate discomfort. Surgical risks include acute ovarian trauma, infection, infertility, vaginal bleeding, and lacerations. Additionally, anaesthetic complications may occur, although they are rare in healthy women. In one study of 674 women who underwent egg retrieval, 1.5 percent required hospitalization due to complications occurring during or after surgery.

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