How does egg donation work?
IN conventional IVF treatment, a woman takes fertility drugs to encourage the production of multiple eggs. Those eggs are harvested and combined with sperm in a laboratory. If embryos form, they are then placed in the woman’s uterus or stored for future use. A woman’s eggs deteriorate in quantity and quality with age. This is where egg donation comes in. The egg donor can come from a relative or friend or it can come from a fertility clinic abroad. Irish fertility clinics work with partner clinics in the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, Spain and the US. These clinics offer eggs that have been donated by women aged between 21 and 34. Most of these donors are anonymous but it is possible to match for hair colour, skin tone, eye colour and height. Information may also be available about the donor’s education, hobbies and personalities. Once the donor has been chosen, the man produces a semen sample. This is frozen and transported to the partner clinic where fertilisation takes place and the embryo is grown for five to six days. Those embryos are then frozen and sent back to Ireland, where the woman has been taking hormones and other medicine to prepare for the embryo transfer. The entire process costs about €8,000 and, thanks to recently introduced legislation, 20% of this can be claimed back in tax credits. Egg donation has one of the highest success rates of all fertility treatments. At the Waterstone Clinic for example, the live birth rate as a result of egg donation treatment is 65%.