By Andrea Rodrigo BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 08/03/2016

Ovum or egg donation is a fertility treatment that is allowed by Russian law in cases where the woman is unable to contribute an egg of her own to have a baby.

It involves retrieving the eggs of the donor for their later fertilization in the lab, either with the intended father’s or donor’s sperm. Then, the embryos created from that union will be transferred to the maternal uterus, thereby allowing pregnancy to occur.

Types of egg donation

When undergoing donor-egg IVF, the woman who contributes can be anonymous or known to the intended parents. Russian regulations on medically assisted reproduction allows a close friend or relative to the individual or couple under treatment become their donor, aiming to achieve their dream of becoming parents.

On the other hand, should the intended parents not be willing to meet the donor, then the treatment of choice would also be IVF but with the eggs of an anonymous woman. Egg donor recruitment will be done by the fertility center’s or egg bank’s medical team where the patients are about to get started with the treatment.

In in a number of cases, the methodology followed with anonymous egg donation is the following: the clinic chooses a candidate, gives general information about her to the patients and, should they agree, the candidate will finally become their donor. If she did not meet their expectations, then the process would be started all over again with a second donor, a third, and so on.

If none of these prospective donors fit the intended parent’s criteria, the couple will be ruled out from the egg donation program.

Usually, information provided to the prospective parents about their donor contains the following details: nationality, blood type, educational level, date of birth, height, weight, eye color and shape, hair color and type, skin tone, face shape, and the number of children she already has. The clinic cannot provide them with identifying data about her whatsoever.

Endometrial preparation of recipients

When a patient undergoes an IVF cycle using donor eggs, neither ovulation induction nor follicular puncture is required. Still, a specific hormone treatment should be followed in order for the endometrium to be prepared.

The endometrium can be defined as the uterine layer where embryos attach, which means the woman has gotten pregnant. Both embryo implantation and fetal development can be boosted if the endometrium reaches a triple line pattern and a thickness of around 7-10 mm.

Patients have to self-administer hormone medications—estrogens and progesterone— for 6 to 10 days. During that period of time, the patient will be monitored through ultrasound scan and blood tests, so that endometrial development can be assessed.

Once the endometrium is prepared, the embryo transfer is scheduled. It is nothing but a painless procedure which does not take too long, and furthermore anesthesia is not required.

Should it be an international patient, certain fertility clinics may allow them to get started with the treatment in their home country. By doing this, they only have to stay in Russia for the day of the embryo transfer.

Progesterone should continue to be administered up until the date when the pregnancy test can be taken. If pregnancy occurs, it should be extended until the 20th week of pregnancy.

After the embryo transfer, the patient can return to their home country and wait patiently for the result of the beta-hCG analysis, which will indicate whether she is pregnant or not.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information
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3 comments

    1. Benny Gaudier

      I enjoy when I am able to be helpful to a patient while matching and describing an egg donor. It is a great pleasure to talk about our egg donors, because I like young ladies, which we recruit.

    2. Frederick

      My wife needs donor eggs and we are Italian. We have considered travelling to Russia for egg donation, and now that you’ve shared this we think we’ll finally do it in Russia. What is the cost of IVF with donor eggs? Molte grazie!

      • Sandra FernándezBA, MA

        Dear Frederick,

        Thank you very much, I’m glad it has been useful! You can find the general costs of donor-egg IVF in Russia here: Donor-egg IVF cost in Russia. Anyway, the general price range is between €4,400-€9,000.

        Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask 😉

        All the best