How does egg do­na­tion work?

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Cover Story -

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%.

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