Egg donation stands for the process through which a woman donates her eggs to another woman who is unable to use hers. To get pregnant via egg donation, the recipient has to necessarily undergo an IVF cycle.
In Spain, while egg donation is legal, Spanish law establishes that it should be an altruistic, anonymous process. Besides, the appropriate medical and psychological screening tests should be performed to every prospective egg donor, in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (henceforth, LAHRT for its abbreviation in Spanish).
When are donor eggs needed?
A woman may need to use donor eggs due fundamentally to the following reasons:
- Absence of viable eggs
- Presence of any genetic abnormality that hinders every chance of using the woman’s own eggs
When a woman presents an insufficient or low ovarian reserve, getting pregnant naturally may turn out to be very difficult. The same applies to women with poor-quality eggs, since chances for them to produce a viable embryo able to implant are rather difficult. In such cases, egg donation can make the difference between success and failure of the fertility treatment, that is, pregnancy can be achieved.
Advanced maternal age is one of the main reasons why many women end up having no chance but to use donor eggs, since both egg quality and quantity decrease gradually over time.
Although less frequent, another reason as to why donor eggs may become necessary is the presence of genetic abnormalities. Even if no fertility problem is detected, some women need to use donor eggs to prevent the transmission of a genetic disease to offspring.
IVF with donor eggs
Any woman needing to use donor eggs to have a baby has to necessarily undergo an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle. The process comprises the following steps:
- Ovarian stimulation of the egg donor via subcutaneous injections for hormonal fertility drugs.
- Close monitoring of the donor through ultrasound and regular hormone analyses.
- Preparation of the recipient’s endometrium via hormone medications.
- Follicular puncture: surgical intervention for egg retrieval.
- Donor-egg in vitro fertilization with husband’s or anonymous donor sperm.
- Embryo transfer to the recipient’s uterus. No more than 3 viable embryos can be transferred.
What are the requirements for egg donation?
According to the LAHRT, every woman wishing to become an egg donor in Spain must meet the following basic requirements:
- Staying physically and mentally healthy
- Being between 18 and 35 years of age
- Having a normal ovarian reserve
- Presenting a normal ovulatory function
- Absence of malformations as well as genetic and congenital diseases
Besides, the donor has to undergo a series of analyses and medical screening tests to assure she has a proper level of health. Her family medical history will be evaluated as well. In case there is evidence of any genetic disease or abnormality, she won’t qualify as a donor. This is the reason why potential egg donors cannot be adopted people, because having access to the family medical history of the donor is necessary.
Finally, it should also be taken into account that donors cannot have delivered more than 6 children. Yet the fact of being a mother will be considered an advantage, since it is a way for determining fertility as well as the absence of severe genetic diseases.