On this page, you’ll learn more about egg donation. Assisted conception treatment using eggs donated by another woman may be recommended in cases where any of the following apply:
- The woman’s ovaries have been removed or are damaged, for example by treatment for cancer with radiotherapy or chemotherapy
- Premature menopause has occurred before the woman has had the chance to have children
- Tests have shown that few or only low quality eggs are being produced
- There have been previous failed attempts to conceive by IVF or the use of fertility drugs
- There is considered to be a high risk of passing on a serious inherited disorder
An egg donor may be known to the couple or have donated anonymously. In both cases the menstrual cycles of the donor and the woman receiving the donated eggs (recipient) will be synchronised by the use of medication and the recipient will also have further medication to prepare the lining of her womb for embryo transfer.
Once the eggs have been retrieved from the donor following ovarian stimulation, they will be fertilised using sperm provided either by the recipient’s male partner or by donated sperm.
This may be by conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Embryo transfer to the uterus of the recipient will then take place.
It is essential that prospective egg donors undergo tests beforehand to ensure that they are not carriers of any transmittable infections or inherited conditions and that there are no anticipated problems with their response to the stimulation process to produce the eggs. Risks of the procedure will be discussed.
There are however considerable psychological implications involved for both donor and recipient and it is of paramount importance that both receive appropriate counselling before embarking on this form of assisted conception.