It is no surprise that advancement in test tube baby treatrment has occurred by leaps and bounds over the years. To add to the numerous dimensions of this advancement is the small but significant development of doing IVF/ ICSI using donor eggs.

Several of you may have been recommended this line of treatment by your infertility doctor. In this article I hope to comprehensively elaborate on this enigma.

Who is suitable for this line of treatment?

IVF / ICSI using donor eggs is often the first line treatment in the following cases:

  • Women with premature menopause or premature ovarian failure
  • Women who are known to have heritable genetic diseases
  • Women with advanced age eg. 39 – 40 years where age related deterioration in egg quality may have occurred.
  • Women with recurrent IVF failures or who have been known to have poor quality eggs as recorded from previous IVF cycles.

These women are known as the commissioning mothers or the recipients.

How is a donor selected?

A donor is a completely anonymous lady. She is selected based on the following criteria:

  • She should be young. Ideally less than 27 years of age
  • Her features should match the commissioning mother
  • Her sonography should show a good antral follicle count
  • Her blood hormones should be normal and she should be screened for all infectious diseases.
  • She and her husband should be willing to undergo the treatment.

When a suitable donor is selected. Both the donor and the commissioning mother are given tablets so as to ensure that they get their periods on the same day.

Then the donor is given injections to stimulate follicular development whereas the recipient is given medicines to build her endometrial lining. Once this is done, on a suitable day – egg retrieval is done from the donor. These retrieved eggs are then fertilized with the husbands sperms by either ICSI or IVF and then cultured in an incubator to fomr embryos.

Once the embryos are ready, they are transferred into the uterus of the commissioning mother, where if they implant, you could have a successful pregnancy.

This treatment modality is a novel line of treatment for needy patients. Also owing to better quality of eggs retrieved.. the success outcome in these cycles also tends to be better.