Egg donation is one of the treatment options for female infertility. Young healthy woman "the donor" will provide her egg to patient, i.e. infertile woman. The donated egg is then fertilized with partner's sperms in a laboratory. Afterwards, the created embryo or fetus is introduced into the patient's uterus in which can development of new individual continue. This way described process sounds simple but it is very complex and expensive. Strict conditions for the process of egg donation are set by the EU-Directive, it affects both the recipient of eggs and as well as the donors. The recipient must be older than 18 years. Good health status of patient and whether her uterus responds well to hormonal stimulation is decisive factor. The main requirements for the donor are age between 18 and 35 years and good health. The donation of eggs and as well as their donation can women undergo in the centres of assisted reproduction.
The female genital system consists of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina and vulva. The main function of ovaries is production of female sex cells, i.e. eggs. In the ovaries, the eggs begin to develop during the time of maturation under hormonal influence. Two hormones with controlling function are necessary for the maturation of eggs, i.e. follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Not only the eggs but also other hormones, known as estrogens, are synthesized in the ovaries. When the egg is matured the ovulation begins, i.e. release of the matured egg from the ovary. At the same time, the progesterone is produced by special cells in the ovary. The function of this hormone is to prepare the uterus for the nidation of a fertilized egg and to protect the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The released egg is captured in fallopian tube through which it moves further into the uterus. If the egg is fertilized, the embryo develops, and it nidates and grows in the uterus.
If there is an error in the process of eggs development, ovulation, movement toward the uterus, fertilization or in the nidation of embryo in the uterus, then we are talking about infertility disorders. Infertility can be defined as the inability to conceive within two years with regular unprotected sexual intercourse. The female infertility is caused by hormonal disorders, impairment of the ovaries, damaged fallopian tubes and their obstruction, anatomic abnormalities of the uterus, genital malformations, disorders of the immune system, i.e. the immunity system fights against own sperms or against fertilized egg. In women, the treatment of infertility depends on the underlying cause. If any of the treatment methods had no positive effect on infertility, we approach to the methods of assisted reproduction or to the donation of eggs or sperms.
Course of egg donation
The process of egg donation begins with a thorough physical examination of the donor. The donor passes through the physical and genetic testing, examination with an endocrinologist and gynaecologist. Tests for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C are also performed. Afterwards, the woman receives high doses of hormones which must be conscientiously taken. These hormones induce a condition in which more eggs mature in the ovary at a time. Afterwards, these eggs are released from the ovary by a single dose of another hormone. The actual sampling is performed under general anaesthesia which is performed with a hollow needle and requires overnight hospitalization. Any woman who decides to donate her eggs should know that it is a process which is followed by certain risks. The risks of egg donation include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHS). It is caused by high doses of hormones. This problem is not very common and symptoms vary from weak to strong. The weak manifestations include pressure in the lower abdomen, swelling, or pressure drop. The more serious manifestation is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal or thoracic cavity, increased blood clotting and rupture of the ovary which occurs in extreme cases. Therefore, the donors are very carefully controlled during the donation.
Receiving donor eggs
Only the endometrium is prepared for the donation of eggs and according to this the woman takes ascending doses of hormones, i.e. estrogens. The patient takes these hormones until the transfer of fertilized eggs is performed and if she is pregnant, up to 10 week of pregnancy. The whole process of egg donation is an application of in vitro fertilization (IVF). The donated egg is fertilized by sperms, i.e. sperms of the partner, under a microscope in laboratory and its development is carefully monitored. The created embryo can be frozen for some time and after establishing appropriate date of transfer it can be thawed and used. The direct transfer of embryos without freezing is also often performed, thus the chances of pregnancy are nearly twofold increased. The created embryo is transferred into the woman's uterus in which it can further develop.
Egg donation and related rules
Since there is an insufficiency of the eggs and they can not be preserved by deep freeze because they will not survive thawing process like sperms, a financial compensation is common standard. The compensation is usually paid by the couple that is interested in the donated egg. The couple and donor do not know each other. Only the basic information about donor's health, height, colour of hair and eyes, and the highest level of attained education is given to future parents. Behind these strict rules is an effort to protect the child and to avoid the emergence of complex situations between parents and giver. It is also important to note that the mother of child is the woman who given birth to him according to the Family law.