Important phases in Female Egg Donation Process
Female egg donation has played an instrumental role in the treatment of a particular type of female infertility when there are fundamental problems related to ovulation. Females that are incapable of producing eggs of good quality can't conceive since fertilization becomes impossible. There are only two ways to resolve this problem. Couple can adopt a child or go for egg donation. For a few couples the first option is acceptable, but a few do not buy the idea of raising a child with no genetic relationship and reject the idea utterly. They feel the second option much better since there will be at least some genetic relation with the baby. Egg donation is a process of taking a healthy matured egg from some other woman's body. The egg is fertilized with the male partner using a special technique that is known as In Vitro Fertilization or IVF. According to Dr. Rita Bakshi, a well-known infertility expert at International Fertility Centre the IVF technique is very effective in the cases where natural fertilization is not possible due to any of the cause. This technique has made egg donation very effective and nowadays thousands of couples all across the world are getting benefited with successful pregnancy.
The act of egg donation is performed by perfectly healthy women that are willing to come forward for it. Egg donors can opt to be completely unknown, partially known or fully known to the intended couple. It is typically called as open, semi-open and closed egg donation. The type of egg donation is decided on the mutual agreement of both parties. While a few couples are not comfortable with the idea of getting acquainted with the egg donor while a few want to have a complete interaction. In some cases, egg donor and intended couple interact through mail or phone calls without revealing their identity. Doctors do not force any particular type of egg donation and it is decided by the intended parents and egg donor.
Selection of egg donor is done by the infertility clinic like IFC and stringent criteria are followed for it. They try to match the physical and mental characteristics as close as possible so that the baby gets resemblance with the intended parents. Egg donors have to be mentally and physically fit with no history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction or venereal disease.
Milestones in the egg donation process
Infertility treatment of any type is a long journey and therefore it has to be well-planned. There are various important milestones or phases that need to be identified and discussed with all three partners. Egg donors sometimes do not become an active member in the discussions, especially in the case of closed egg donation where egg donor does not disclose her identity. However, she is kept well-informed by the infertility clinic like IFC where the treatment is conducted. Both parties are informed about the time taken for each phase, requirement of their presence during the process and need of hospitalization. The childless couple and the egg donor can plan their work schedule and travel accordingly.
1. Stimulation of ovaries and retrieval of eggs
a) This is the first important phase of female egg donation process. When the decision to go for egg donation is taken, doctors conduct a few basic tests like blood examination and ultrasound checking to ensure the overall fitness for the treatment. It does not require any hospitalization and can be done at the convenience and availability of the patients.
b) Ovarian suppression is the next step to match the menses for both women in order to retrieve eggs and place the fertilize embryo. Doctors use oral contraceptives to regulate and synchronize the cycle. After a treatment of two to four weeks, ultrasound tests and blood tests are performed to ensure the suppression.
c) Ovarian stimulation is the process of injecting special drugs in the body of egg donor to aggravate the process of egg maturity and release. This continues for a few days and every day visit is required. The condition of ovaries is monitored carefully by ultrasound tests. The recipient woman is prepared meanwhile to make ready for embryo implant. Special drugs are injected to keep the internal lining and environment of the uterus ready to receive embryo.
d) Egg retrieval happens when the follicles are large enough and eggs are ready to release. Special drugs trigger the process and multiple matured eggs are obtained at a time. The process takes two to four hours and require half a day of hospitalization. The role of egg donor woman gets over with the retrieval of matured eggs.
e) Sperm collection is done from the male partner. Infertility expert Dr. Rita Bakshi suggests that the male partner must refrain from ejaculation at least two to three days prior to sperm collection to ensure good quality of sperms.
f) Fertilization happens next day of the egg retrieval and it is performed in the laboratory. Sometimes the sperm and eggs are mixed in the glass plate to make fertilization happen. In some cases, doctors inject the sperm in the outer shell of the egg.
g) The fertilized eggs, now called embryo are monitored for two to three days to ensure proper growth and development.
2. Transplantation of embryo
a) This is relatively simple phase and done with half a days of hospitalization. Fertilized eggs or embryos are examined and the healthiest two or three are selected for transplantation. The process is normally painless and patients can go home in the evening. However, they are advised not to drive because of the after-effects of sedation. Hormonal support is given through drugs that help the embryo to get settled in the new environment.
b) Ultrasound tests and blood tests are performed after one or two weeks of implantation and growth is monitored carefully. The importance of post-implantation monitoring is very much because unlike the normal pregnancy here the fertilization environment and embryo development environment are different and there can be basic adoption issues.
Egg donation is certainly one of the noblest acts to bring happiness in the life of childless couples. It requires a huge amount of inner strength, courage and helping attitude to make the decision. Although egg donors are relatively less visible (and sometimes completely invisible) element, but their contribution is significant. The problem of ovulation related infertility can be surely treated with a coordinated effort of the egg donor, childless couple and infertility clinic like IFC. No doubt that the path is not that easy and there are many challenges, but the advance medical science and expert doctor like Dr. Rita Bakshi it becomes much easy and approachable.