1. Reaching the decision to proceed with egg donation is often a long and emotionally difficult journey. Women who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, over a certain age who no longer have viable eggs, women with the devastating diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, or same sex male couples who need an egg donor to have child may choose egg donation. Patients should be reassured knowing that egg donation is associated with the highest pregnancy rates in all of fertility care. Furthermore, even though the genetic material may not be yours, the field of epigenetics have now shown that the environment of the recipient’s uterus can have a substantial effect on how the embryo’s genes are expressed as it develops. Therefore, the journey to motherhood really begins in the womb.
2. After an egg donor is chosen, the donor will undergo a succession of screening tests to complete, including psychological screening, medical evaluation, genetic tests, and a mandatory infectious disease screening. Once the donor is medically cleared, the donor and recipient will sign a binding legal contract. Once all of this is done then the donor can proceed to egg donation with careful cycle coordination with the recipient
3. Traditionally the donor and recipient cycles are synchronized with a combination of birth control pills and other hormones. So, while the donor is takes injection of hormones to help recruit multiple eggs, the recipient is taking hormones to prepare the uterine lining for the embryo transfer. Once the eggs are retrieved, they can be fertilized with the intended parent’s sperm, and 5 days later a fresh embryo is transferred into the intended mother. Currently, with the advancement in cryopreservation (freezing) technology, we are seeing pregnancy rates from frozen embryos comparable to those of fresh embryo transfers. Therefore, whether a couple chooses to have a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, the timing is up to the couple.
California Center for Reproductive Health is pleased to offer our patients an in-house donor egg bank. The egg donors have already been screened, stimulated and eggs retrieved and frozen to be immediately available for use. The advantages of frozen eggs include complete flexibility with your schedule and no risk that a chosen donor may not be available for a cycle.
There are many frozen donor egg banks to choose from, however, we advise caution when using these agencies as egg quality and thaw survival is not guaranteed. There can be significant variability in the way the eggs were stimulated—too aggressive of a protocol in an effort to increase egg yield can actually result in poorer egg quality. Furthermore, how the eggs are frozen can make them vulnerable to the thawing process resulting in poor survival and low fertilization rates.
With CCRH, on the other hand, we can ensure consistently, high quality, premium donor eggs because we manage all our donor recruiting, screening, stimulation, egg retrievals, and vitrification. The embryologist thawing is the same one who froze the eggs-this results in the best success rates. Our egg thaw survival rates are excellent and more importantly, our patients have similar live birth rate using frozen eggs as fresh eggs.
We hope this option of using frozen donor eggs will help more couples access donor egg treatment and have the opportunity to build their families.
We are excited to offer a Shared Egg Donation program to make donor eggs available at an affordable
The majority of egg donors will produce 16-20 mature eggs which is more than enough to share with more than one recipient. With a shared egg donation cycle, more than one couple uses the eggs from one donor. Intended parents choose a donor and share the fresh eggs with another recipient. Each recipient is given 8 fresh mature eggs. The cost, including donor compensation, donor medication, donor screening, fertility monitoring, and egg retrieval is essentially reduced by half. This option offers significant cost savings when compared to traditional egg donation.
How it works
A recipient selects one of our prescreened egg donors. You do not need to have a second recipient to move forward with the cycle. In cases where there is not a second recipient, CCRH assumes the position of the second recipient in order to not delay the process. (Which means we share half of the financial burden with you.)Each recipient is promised 8 fresh mature eggs which usually results in 2-4 blastocysts. Because live birth rates are very high with donor eggs, the recommendation would be to transfer only one good quality embryo at a time and cryopreserve (freeze) the remaining. With the shared donor egg program, we may have fewer remaining embryos available to freeze after transfer but it does not compromise pregnancy rates.
There are occasions when an egg donor does not produce as many eggs as predicted to share and in these cases, our egg donation team will coordinate with you on next steps.