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Who can use egg donation?

Procedure of egg donation is used when a woman cannot produce her own eggs. It can be due to many medical reasons. In particular, woman can use egg donation if doctor diagnoses:

  • premature ovarian failure, a condition in which menopause has started much earlier than usual, typically before age 40
  • diminished ovarian reserve, meaning that the eggs that you have are of low quality; this can often be caused by age, because fertility drops off steeply after 40
  • genetically transmitted diseases that could be passed on to your child
  • previous history of unsuccessful IVFs, especially when your doctor thinks that the quality of your eggs may be the problem

Practice of donor eggs use has been becoming more and more common from day to day. It is especially popular among women over 40. According to the statistic, about 73% of women over 40 became pregnant with the help of donor eggs and assisted methods of reproductive medicine. And this technique enjoys the highest success rate of all fertility procedures. In fact, women using fresh embryos (not frozen) have 83.4% chance of getting pregnant in each cycle.

Is an egg donation similar to adoption?

No, of course adoption differs from egg donation. Although adoption gives to an infertile couple a possibility to have a full family but adopted child will have no biological genetic relation to you. While egg donation gives you an excellent opportunity to have a child with the father’s genetic material. In process of egg donation the donated material of another woman is taken and fertilized with a man’s who will be a father of future child sperm. Another difference between egg donation and adoption is that the infertile woman has the opportunity to carry and deliver the pregnancy. And unlike adoption, there is no additional necessary legal paperwork. Couples who use an egg donor help can find a donor who meets all physical and lifestyle characteristics similar to their own. This increases the likelihood that the baby will more closely resemble the parents than an adopted baby.

What is the procedure of egg donation?

The medical procedure of egg donation includes two main phases. During the first phase donors take special medicines (hormonal drugs) under doctors’ control in order to cause the follicles growth during the menstrual cycle. And reaching the second phase mature eggs are retrieved from the donor's ootheca with the help of surgical procedure.

What information can we receive choosing egg donor?

Usually it is not allowed to meet donor personally. Patients can only choose her in the donor base that clinic has. Specialists of clinic gather information that concerns key points from donor’s family and medical history. Patients who choose egg donor can see information regarding her physical characteristics. In particular:

  • weight and height
  • eye and hair color
  • bone structure
  • skin tone
  • ethnicity
  • blood type

In addition to these information clients have an opportunity to get to know about donor’s educational background, hobbies and occupied profession. In general donor procedure is personal and anonymous therefore donors provide only necessary information.

What can you say about eggs freezing for future IVF procedure?

Today procedure of biological material cryopreservation is rather popular. But it can’t be said that such eggs will be good for IVF after they will be unfreezed. It is a well-known fact that fresh eggs are much better than the freezed ones and therefore it is much more chances to receive a positive result of IVF procedure using fresh eggs. Clinics and medical centers of reproductive medicine that work only with fresh eggs have significantly higher success rate of IVFs. In addition, you will have to pay a lot for eggs conservation. Taking into account all pros and corns of biological material cryopreservation specialists recommend to use fresh material.

Can we visit clinic with our donor or surrogate mother and perform the program in clinic?

Yes, you can find donor or surrogate mother yourself. Usually clinics can provide this option. Previously of course clinic will check health condition of your donor or surrogate mother. She will be tested in clinic where you are going to undergo the program. And if all medical results correspond to the required standard your surrogate mother or donor will be able to participate in your program.

How will the agency match us with a surrogate or egg donor?

All potential surrogate mothers and egg donors complete an appropriate profile and application form providing comprehensive personal information. The candidates must complete other important screening steps. In addition special worker of the medical center must talk with each candidate in person.

How is the surrogate motherhood program conducted?

First of all you must be 100% sure that you cannot give a birth in a natural way. So the medical certificate that proves this fact is needed. After that you must choose legal medical center which offers this procedure. Clinics that work on legal basis will choose for you a surrogate mother who will meet all your needs and criteria. After signing all necessary agreements preoperational stage will start. These are medical tests, examinations of surrogate mother and biological parents and procedure of stimulation. After test shows that surrogate mother is pregnant each month she will go through the ultrasound investigation. Biological parents may take the baby right after its birth or discharge from the hospital – it depends on the country and hospital policy. Sometimes it happens that biological parents decide to keep up communication with surrogate mother. In any case, this is a personal issue and individual decision of couple. Anyway according to the contract signed before the program start the genetic parents are not required to continue any relationships with the surrogate mother after birth of a baby. This is a brief summary of surrogacy program. In any case, managers of clinics will tell you in details about all stages of this procedure.

What things should be taken into account when choosing a surrogate mother?

Despite the fact that during the program of surrogacy genetic material of intended parents is used woman who will carry a child must be absolutely healthy and meet certain conditions. Thus, the surrogate mother (a woman who has agreed to carry a child for married couple who cannot have children due medical reasons) can be a woman of 20 - 35 years old, who has at least one healthy baby of her own. Of course, this woman must have perfect mental and physical health. In addition, there should not be scarring on uterus, cesarean, abortion and ectopic pregnancy. Also it should pass away at least 6-12 months after the last birth. Future surrogate mother is not allowed to have bad habits (smoking, alcohol and drugs). And of course surrogate mother should have positive attitude of mind for the procedure. In general, clinics that have a good reputation and high attendance rates appreciate their positive experience and have no issues with surrogacy programs. It should be also noted that this surrogacy is rather expensive procedure. Therefore you should examine this market carefully to pay fair price. It is useful to ask experts who know this issue well and carefully examine all the pros and cons of the chosen clinic.

How can we trust the surrogate mother?

If you visit legal specialized clinic of reproductive medicine with a good reputation you will receive a high level of service and a good result. Clinics with positive history and high level of positive results are interested in ideal end of any program that will be performed in these clinics. Therefore doctors of such medical centers try their best to receive good result. And good health condition of surrogate mothers as well as unproblematic of all stages of surrogacy procedure is one of the main aims doctors pursue. So, the best recommendation is to use services of accredited clinics that work on legal basis and have a good reputation. Information from the Internet resources, medical forums, recommendations of public organizations like Happy Family and people who have already used such procedures will help you to make correct choice. In addition, you must always remember about appropriate agreements that must be signed by all parties (clinic, surrogate mother and biological parents). Such document must contain information concerning all rights and obligations of all sides that will take part in such agreement.

Can a woman who has never had children be a surrogate mother?

No, she can't. There are several reasons for that. The first reason is that doctors have no idea if future surrogate mother can even become pregnant and the second reason is that without a pregnancy history specialists will not be able to know how well woman’s pregnancy will go. Being pregnant is not something a woman can take easily. There are many different health risks. The one more major reason is the psychological side of the issue. Carrying a child and giving birth has psychological consequences that woman cannot identify with unless she experienced it herself. In a word, a person cannot agree to do something for someone else that she has not successfully done for herself.

Tell me please can a surrogate mother refuse to give a baby to its biological parents?

Of course, such situations is possible but only when you opt for surrogacy outside of legal medical centers or in certain countries (e. g. in Russia). Firstly, you must always remember that in order to avoid such difficulties use only services of legal reproductive medicine centers. In clinics that operate according to the laws all participants of the program sign an agreement which clearly outlines all the rights and obligations of all parties (in particular clinic, surrogate mother and biological parents). If somebody does not fulfill them the violator will have to pay fines or suffer an appropriate penalty. Usually clinics with a good reputation and great number of patients have no problems with surrogate mothers because experts conduct all the necessary preparatory works and discussions with her. After the birth biological parents take the baby and surrogate mother neither see nor communicate with a baby. All these processes are controlled by clinic managers. So, a good advice to everyone who is planning to use services of surrogate mother carefully choose medical center and contact only clinics that work on official basis. This will protect you from many negative surprises in future.

What if the surrogate mother changes her mind after she is pregnant with our child?

Everything depends on the law of the country where people will conduct a surrogacy program. There are such countries where law is on the side of a woman who gives birth even if genetically this child is not her. So before starting the program you must carefully examine the legislation of the country where you want to conduct such a procedure. In addition, signing an agreement you should find a paragraph concerning this issue. Because the main purpose of contracts is to avoid difficulties and controversial issues that can arise.