In women, normal reproduction requires that the ovaries function properly and that the ovary is able to "mature" and release – ovulate – an egg. Advances in reproductive medicine have allowed us to help many women with ovulation problems, but once a woman has entered menopause or pre-menopause, she can no longer mature and ovulate eggs.
In these cases, the only way to help the woman conceive is with an egg donor. The process involves In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In IVF, the ovaries are stimulated with fertility medications, eggs are retrieved from the ovaries, eggs and sperm are combined in the lab, and the resulting embryos are allowed to grow for a few days. Finally embryos are placed back into the uterus.
With egg donation, the donor undergoes the first two steps of the IVF process: 1) controlled ovarian stimulation and 2) egg retrieval. While this is going on, the recipient – the woman who will carry the pregnancy – is taking hormones, primarily estrogen and progesterone, to prepare her uterus for receiving embryos created by the union of the donor’s eggs and the recipient husband’s, male partner’s or sperm donor’s sperm. The recipient then undergoes the embryo transfer procedure, and after this must continue taking estrogen and progesterone for at least two weeks. If pregnancy occurs, these supplements are continued for about eight more weeks.
You will be presented with written consents related to receiving donor eggs. You must carefully review these documents and be prepared to sign or decline at the time of your consultation with the practitioner. Further appointments needed to continue the process will not be scheduled until the signed consents are received.