Types of egg donation
The task of treating infertility is not easy because of the multiple possibilities and causes associated with it. Every case is different and so as the treatment. Infertility clinics like International Fertility Centre, New Delhi has been working in the treatment and diagnosis of all variants of infertility with an extensive research and development. Every case is a test case and adds value in the knowledge base of treating infertility. Egg donation is a common solution suggested for specific type of infertility where the woman is not able to provide a healthy Egg for fertilization. The couple may keep on trying for months, but pregnancy will not happen because of the ovulation issue. Sometimes she can produce healthy eggs, but during investigation doctors find that there are some genetic disorders or heredity disease that would surely carried forward to the siblings. Pregnancy is not advised using mother's own eggs. Dr. Rita Bakshi refers this problem as a 'big blow' to the couple facing infertility.
During earlier days, there was no option other than adopting a baby to have the experience of parenthood. This option, although considered a great noble cause has a fundamental shortcoming of no biological relation of the baby with the parents. Advancement in the field of infertility treatment has given a great tool to cope-up with this shortcoming. Parents can choose an option of egg donation by some other woman that is willing to help them. Well set-up clinics like International Fertility Centre has a database of registered donors that are ready to donate eggs in order to help childless couples. These clinics have stringent selection criteria to select the 'right' candidates for egg donation. Fundamental checks that are carried-out are:
- Donor woman must be between 20 to 40 years of age. Beyond this range, there may be problems with the legal aspect or medical aspect of poor quality eggs.
- Donor woman must possess good mental and physical health with no alcohol, drugs or tobacco abuse.
- Donor woman must have at least one successful pregnancy. It is to ensure the overall quality of reproduction system.
- Donor woman must have willingness, positive attitude of helping others and readiness to undergo the clinical procedures.
Types of egg donation
Once a donor woman is selected after matching physical, educational and financial characteristics she is contacted by the infertility clinic. There are three types of egg donation options that are suggested to her. Any of these options is selected on the basis of mutual consent of the intended couple and the donor woman.
- Anonymous or 'closed' egg donation: The intended couples would select the donor woman that matches the physical characters, personality and educational and cultural details as much as possible. In the anonymous, the recipient woman has access to all the relevant information of the donor woman except her identity. She can look at the photographs of the donor woman and her children (if shared), genetic history, physical description. Most
- People find this method more comfortable and convenient and therefore it is the most popular method. In this method both parties never meet in person and do not know each other by face thus complete anonymity is maintained
- Semi anonymous or 'semi open' egg donation: This is an 'in between' or a 'golden mean' between completely open and completely anonymous method. In some cases, recipient couple is not comfortable with the idea of not knowing anything about the woman who is willing to help them. At the same time, they are not comfortable with a face-to-face interaction. In this case, both parties will be exchanged with the basis profile information keeping the personal details masked. They can interact through phone and chat to understand each other, share the feelings and resolve the doubts and concerns. However, in no case they can know the actual identity of each other. Donor woman may or may not be informed about the result of pregnancy after donation process is over.
- 'Open' egg donation: In this type, both parties are ready to share the personal and profile details with each other. There is personal interaction in the form of personal meetings, get-together or dinner before going for the clinical process. Usually this option is chosen when the donor woman is somebody that is known to the recipient parents or from the near relation. However, both parties have to be clear about the future relationship and understanding of the donor woman and the intended parents. Even if there is a genetic connection between the donor and the sibling, from all legal and practical aspects intended parents are the legitimate parents. It does not matter who the donor woman is, but there has to be an absolute clarity before selecting this option. Emotional conflicts should not arrive in the later times regarding the child's identity. In this mode, complete identity is revealed and hence it is used only with the consent of both parties. This option is very rarely used, but it is certainly a different experience for both of them!
Whatever option do the intended parents and donor woman select; the process of egg donation is exactly the same. Clinical process will involve visiting the infertility clinic frequently, maximum one day of hospitalization for the donor mother and little bit discomfort due to hormonal injections and pills. The role of donor woman gets over when the eggs are extracted from the ovaries. Doctors work a lot prior to that for matching the ovulation cycle of donor woman and intended mother. This is very critical and important step to make egg donation successful. The timing of eggs extraction and readiness of intended woman's womb for implantation has to be matched accurately. Use of hormonal stimulants is very important for this activity. Good clinics like International Fertility Centre have a rigorous monitoring of entire process to determine the exact time for extraction of matured eggs and implantation. Usually male partner of the intended couple provides sperms for external fertilization that occurs in the well equipped laboratory.
After two or three days of observation, fittest of embryos are implanted to increase the probability of success. In the case of young intended mothers (age <40) only two embryos are implanted where for older ones the number is three because of the less probability of survival.
Egg donation is a great experience for donor woman because it provides a chance to bring a new light in the form of a baby for a couple that has been trying hard to come out of the darkness of infertility for years!