Fertility is a common concern for many women and men in the UK. Although getting pregnant can be easy for some, for others, it can be a more difficult journey to conceive a child. However, with the right medical guidance, treatment and support, couples experience high success rates in utilising a variety of fertility methods to aid conception.
No two couples are the same, which is why it is good to have a variety of avenues to go down when it comes to conceiving. One of the most common ways to aid fertility is the use of donor eggs.
It is understandable that egg donors have decreased over the past year due to the global pandemic and restrictions surrounding entering hospitals and clinics. However, with this hopefully coming to an end, using donor eggs, or donating eggs should be able to become a more accessible option.
Please read through our simple guide to egg donation below for more information
What is egg donation?
Egg donation is the process when a donor provides an egg to a recipient to aid them in getting pregnant, it is important that the ethnicity of the person having the child matches that of the donor as this can help couples feel more connected to their baby. In the UK, a high percentage of egg donors are white British however the demand for Asian and black egg donors continues to increase.
In 2017, a study showed that during a cycle, between 5 and 24 eggs will be retrieved. This is based around the guidelines of the clinic alongside how many you produce.
Why do women donate their eggs?
Many people chose to donate eggs to gain a monetary reward, others chose donation as a way to give other couples the chance to become parents and some people’s reasonings are both of these factors.
The Egg Donation Process
Step 1 – Apply to donate
If you are looking to donate your eggs to help, give someone a chance to have a child, there is a short application process to go through before you can continue through the process. You must be ages between 18 – 35 and in good health to apply.
Step 2 – General health assessment
This general assessment will be done by your nurse or doctor. During this assessment, you will divulge your full person and family medical history in the form of a questionnaire. It’s important all information given at this time is accurate, you will also be asked for written permission to contact your GP to confirm your details.
Step 3 – Counselling
You will then meet with a counsellor before the process begins. This is to discuss the effects on you and your family and if you have a partner, it is important that they are also comfortable with the process.
Step 4 – Screening and consent
The next appointment you have will be to see a nurse, this may take up to an hour as it is the process of registering you as a donor with the HEFA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority). All the details will be needed to fill out the application, so it is important you bring a form of identification along. You will also have bloods taken in order to check for infective disorders, genetic disorders and to check your ovaries are working well. You will also have vaginal swabs to ensure there are no infections, do not worry, you are taken through the whole process as it is happening so any questions about anything, your nurse will be able to answer.
Step 5 – Test results (final step before treatment)
This final step is to check all tests came back clear and these will then be discussed, you will also be offered the chance to ask any additional questions about the process and each step of donation will be fully explained to you.
Step 6 – Treatment starts
You decide which month you would like to begin the process; it is done over 6 weeks and 2 menstrual cycles – beginning on day 21 of your cycle. This section of the process involves daily injections for 2 – 3 weeks, these are used to stop your own hormones, followed by another 2 weeks of injections to stimulate egg production from your ovaries. You will be taught how to do these injections yourself to help to save you coming into the doctors every day, don’t worry you will have the opportunity to ask as many questions as possible and its important to speak out if you don’t feel confident.
Step 7 – Retrieval of eggs
Once this process has finished, you will be given a vaginal ultrasound to monitor the progress. If the nurse/ doctor is happy, you will then have a minor operation under anaesthetic to collect the eggs. It is a fast process taking only 30 minutes. Once you feel well enough, you can go home and relax, your part of the process is complete!
Helpful? We Hope So!
This insight into egg donation may give you the information you need to educate yourself to become a donor. Being an egg donor can change lives and give couples and families the opportunity to have children that they thought they would never have. It is also important to remember that you are doing an amazing thing and the nurses and doctors are there to help so do not hesitate to ask any questions, big or small.