In egg donation, eggs are borrowed from a young woman (less than 33 yrs of age) called the donor, with her consent. These eggs are then fertilized with the sperms of the husband of the recipient woman and the resultant embryo (the earliest form of the baby), is inserted into the womb of the recipient. The success rate of this procedure is in the region of 40 to 50%. In fact, many women till the age of 50-55 have become pregnant by this technique. You will be surprised that the oldest woman pregnant by this procedure is 50 year old, with severe diabetes mellitus and severe hypertension.And she delivered a healthy female child by caesarean section At our Barmade Test Tube Baby Hospital. Barmade Hospital is an anonymous egg donation centre that provides personal attention and support to both egg donor and reciepient. Women after the age of 40 tend to have fewer eggs in their ovaries or the quality of the eggs they produce may be poor. Thus, even new technologies like IVF and ICSI may not ensure a successful pregnancy. Furthermore, after the age of 40 to 42, many women stop producing eggs as they enter the stage of Perimenopause (decreased periods) or menopause (stoppage of periods). Till now, such women could only have a baby through the wonderful route of adoption. However, in the last ten years, a new technique of egg donation has come as a blessing to many such women.
1. In India, preference is given to younger couples to adopt children. Couples over the age of 45 can adopt, but find it difficult to do so, because of Governmental preference for younger parents. Such couples can tremendously benefit by egg donation.
2. Egg donation can also be perfomed on women who have had multiple cycles of test-tube baby (IVF or ICSI) and have still failed to conceive and become pregnant.
3. Besides elderly or menopausal women, egg donation can be done in younger women whose ovaries have prematurely failed or in young women who have undergone radiation or chemotherapy for cancer. Radiation or chemotherapy destroys the eggs and hence these women have a failure of their ovaries.
4. Egg donation is also used in patients who are carrying major chromosomal defects so that they do not pass the genetic defect to their children.
Generally, eggs are borrowed from healthy women less than 30-35 years of age and who are not suffering from any illness or genetic disorders. These young women, also called donors, are specially screened for AIDS and Hepatitis. Their family history is taken, to rule out any genetic problems. The donor can be married or unmarried. However, married donors with children would be preferable, primarily because they will have established their ability to bare children.
During egg donation,the donor is given injections to produce many eggs. When these eggs are ripe, she is given a short anesthesia and the eggs are removed from inside the vagina without giving a cut on the abdomen. The donor can return home three to four hours’ after the procedure. The eggs are then fertilized with the recipient’s husband’s sperms in the laboratory, either by IVF or ICSI and kept in the incubator for two days.
A. As easy as the method may sound, the biggest problem faced by both doctors and patients is the availability and source of egg donors. Further more, it is very important that if there is a sister donating eggs, there should be a very good mental understanding between the sisters. The donor is not anonymous in this case, and thus many a time there are possibilities of inter-personal conflicts arising when the child becomes older.
We also accept recipients who have identified their own non-anonymous donors.
B. The other and the most acceptable donor would be a voluntary unrelated donor. There are a lot of women who may just out of altruistic (philosophical) reasons donate eggs to women who are suffering from the trauma of infertility. It is important to popularize such egg donation. However, even in an advanced society like Britain’s, there is a great dearth of voluntary egg donors, in spite of extensive advertisement in the press.
By voluntary egg donation, we mean donation of the eggs by the donor without expecting any monetary or other reward in return.
C. The third area, which can be a source of donors can be a paid donor. You may be surprised that this is legal in USA and young college girls are paid as much as US$8,000 for donating their eggs. But in a protestant society like Britain’s, this form of donation is considered illegal and unethical. Even in the Indian society, where there is no law on egg donation at present, such kind of paid donation may not be socially and culturally acceptable. Clinics in India do not practice paid donation.
Recently the Govt of India has appointed Indian Council of Medical Research to legalize infertility practice in this country including that of egg donation, embryo donation, semen donation & surrogacy. The ICMR has legalised paid egg donation and surrogacy. Our unit has just started doing some degree of paid egg donation based on the ICMR draft.