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Oocyte Donation

Oocyte donation or egg donation is a part of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which a fertile woman donates an egg or oocyte to help another woman get pregnant. With the help of a donated oocyte, a woman with ovarian failure or poor oocyte health can conceive and deliver a healthy baby. It is also helpful for women with multiple failed IVF attempts.
The procedure of oocyte donation involves removing eggs from the donor, fertilizing them with sperms in the laboratory and subsequently transferring the fertilized eggs (embryos) into the woman’s uterus. It is usually done by employing procedure like IVF. The embryos can also be frozen for later use.
Oocyte donation is useful for a woman who cannot use their eggs due to various reasons-

  • Ovarian failure
  • Advanced age
  • Want to avoid some genetic abnormality in the fetus

Who are ideal candidates for oocyte donation?

Women who fulfil the following criteria can donate oocytes or eggs-

  • Age should be between 21 and 35 as they respond better to fertility drugs and generally have better quality and higher number of eggs.
  • The donor should be free from infectious diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV.
  • There should be no risk of passing genetically inherited diseases or congenital anomalies to the offspring.
  • The donor should be able to provide a detailed family medical history that will help the doctor decide whether she is a potential donor or not.

Procedure for Oocyte Donation

Before Oocyte Extraction

  • The doctor will provide information on preparing a woman for donating oocytes. The donor will be given a series of fertility drugs for hyperstimulation- stimulating the ovaries to produce several eggs at once.
  • The donor needs to go through certain blood tests. Also, the doctor will monitor the donor through ultrasound examinations.

During Oocyte Extraction

  • First of all, the doctor will give anaesthesia to the donor. Next, the eggs will be removed from the ovaries through transvaginal ovarian aspiration.
  • During the procedure, an ultrasound probe will be inserted inside the vagina to identify follicles. Subsequently, with the help of a needle, the doctor will remove the eggs from each follicle.
  • The entire procedure takes around 30 to 40 minutes, and the donor needs to stay at the clinic.

After Oocyte Extraction

Generally, the donor returns to normal activities after transvaginal ovarian aspiration. In some cases, the donor may feel resting for a few days to recover completely.

Are there any risks or side effects of Oocyte Donation?

Oocyte Donation is a low-risk procedure. The egg retrieval process is completely safe and doesn’t cause any serious problems. However, few may encounter issues like:

  • Dizziness due to anaesthesia
  • Slight bleeding when the needle is inserted into the ovary
  • Infection at the sight of egg retrieval
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

These are a few side-effects that some women may experience, although most of them subside on their own. Serious damage or severe bleeding is unlikely. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent any infection.

Oocyte Donation