Receiving an Egg or Sperm Donation
Being on the receiving end of an egg or sperm donation is a quite a journey. Whether you’re choosing to receive a donation due to unsuccessful attempts to conceive through IVF, pre mature menopause, fear of passing along a genetic disease, problems with ovulation, abnormalities in semen issues, or lack of a partner, you might welcome a little guidance and insight to help start you off on this journey; so here’s a start to finish breakdown of what to expect when receiving a donation.
When choosing a donor, whether it’s someone you know, or someone you’ve found via advertisement, it’s highly suggested that you have some sort of mediation and legal representation between the two of you to protect both of your rights (if you go through a fertility agency, this should be provided and donors should already be screened). The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has very specific screenings that donors should go through. Here’s a list of requirements and tests your donor should have completed:
- Donor should state his/her motivation to donate
- Must be of legal age; the ASRM prefers women to be between the ages of 21-34 and males to be under 40
- Complete an extensive, personal and family, medical history questionnaire
- Current, comprehensive physical examination
- Genetic screening
- Rh status, blood count and type
- Screening for sexually transmitted diseases and for Human Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (all of these test must be completed and negative within thirty days of the actual donation)
- Approved to be a donor by a mental health professional and completing a psychometric test
- Provide some background, such as personality, hobbies, life, etc., in order to supply a little insight to the donor’s life.
The Receiving Individual/Couple
As the recipients, you’ll have to go through screenings, tests, and evaluations like the ones your donor had to do, plus a few more to determine the reason for infertility. The male partner’s additional test will be an analysis of semen. For the female, her additional tests will include:
- Gynecological history
- Ovarian reserve assessment
- Pap smear and cultures
- Evaluation of the uterine cavity
- And, if the female is over the age of 45, more precautionary tests will be completed just to make sure that she’s not at risk for an age-complicated pregnancy
Donor Egg: Selection, Cycle Synch, Careful Collection, Fertilization, and Transfer
Once you’ve selected a donor, the two of you will be monitored by your fertility agency while your cycles sync, preparing the donor for ovulation, and preparing you for conception. Once your donor’s eggs are ready for collection, she is given a little medication to bring them to full maturity, and then those tiny eggs are so very carefully extracted with a needle, which is guided by ultrasound.
In the lab, the embryologist will prepare fertilization with same-day collected sperm from your partner, or donated sperm. After a day’s wait, your doctor will let you know how many eggs were fertilized during the process, how many eggs should be transferred (typically one or two), and then you’ll be given a provisionary three to five day transfer time.
Around two weeks, give or take a day or two, after that much anticipated embryo transfer day, you’ll take a pregnancy test. If pregnant, you will be monitored by your agency to make sure that proper precautions and medications are given until you no longer need them and until you’re in the care of your obstetrician.
Receiving donated sperm is a considerably less complex process than that of receiving an egg. The simple process is done by injecting semen into the cervix or in the uterine cavity.
If you’re considering being the recipient of a donation, then finding a great agency is going to play, perhaps, the most important role in this journey. So find one that offers adequate education for you and your partner, one that will provide both emotional and mental support, and one that makes your health and well-being its top priority.