Oocyte (egg) donation
Who is suitable for this type of treatment?
Oocyte donation may be indicated when:
- a woman has not eggs left (premature ovarian failure or advanced age)
- a woman has few eggs and/or poor quality eggs, which makes pregnancy impossible despite in vitro fertilisation techniques.
- a woman is a carrier of a serious genetic disease that could be passed on to the child if she uses her own eggs.
Belgian legislation allows oocyte donation to take place between two persons that know each other (direct or managed donation) or two persons that do not know each other (anonymous donation).
It is therefore perfectly possible to harvest eggs from a sister, a close relative, or a friend, to fertilise them and then transfer them to the reciepient.
There is no spontaneous donation and it is prohibited to recruit or remunerate a donor in Belgium.
The only practical possibility is therefore to come together with a donor.
In principle, at our centre, we require that the donor:
- is between 25 and 39 years old
- has at least one child
- is not psychologically dependent on the recipient.
However, all of these conditions will be discussed on a case by case basis.
The candidate for donation must of course meet strict medical criteria before being accepted.
The donor must undergo ovarian stimulation to obtain several follicles and several oocytes. This stimulation will take around 11 days.
It is based on the same principle as the treatments used in standard in vitro fertilisation.
The maturation of the follicles must be monitored by a gynaecologist who agrees to perform this task: this monitoring requires some blood sample, ultrasound scans, that can potentially be carried out near to the donor's home as long as we receive the results on the same day by fax or e-mail.
Once the follicles are ripe, ovulation will be initiated using an injection that will be given late in the evening.
The donor must attend the clinic on the day the oocytes are collected, to be admitted as a day case at the hospital.
The oocytes are usually collected from the donor under sedation (mild general anaesthetic).
As regards the recipient, she must have submitted her request to undergo MAR before the age of 45.
Embryo transfer is authorised until the age of 47. The recipient must have a report confirming her receptiveness to embryo transfer, and she must also follow a course of treatment to prepare her uterus.
Ideally, this should take place in synchronisation with the stimulation of the donor, so as to avoid, as far as possible, the embryos being frozen.
The results of oocyte donation are good, and essentially depend on the age of the donor.
On average, it can be considered that more than 60% of recipients will be pregnant after their third transfer.