Oocyte donation program. Information for the receptor

What is oocyte donation?

The oocyte donation, also called ovodonation, is an assisted reproduction technique which allows a woman to recieve ovules from a donor in order to achieve pregnancy. It is first necessary for the donor to undergo hormone treatment. Once the ovules are retrieved, they are inseminated in the laboratory with the semen of the partner’s receptor. The embryos obtained will be later transferred to the uterus of the receptor woman.

When has ovodonation existed since? How does it work?

The oocytes donation was authorized by Spanish legislation in 1988. Donation is a voluntary, altruistic and anonymous act. We ensure that the donor and the receptor have similar physical features. However, the donor’s identity remains absolutely anonymous; the only information that can be provided is the one related to the gestation control, such as the age and the blood-RH group.

Who can be an oocyte donor?

All women from 18 to 35 years of age who wish to help sterile couples and who do not have any known diseases or a history of hereditary diseases may be a donor. Their physical and psychological health must be appropriate, that is why they undergo a complete physical exploration, a series of analytical tests and a psychological evaluation to ensure their good state of health, according to the current legislation.

Is the donor financially rewarded?

No, it is not. In fact, the legislation specifically prohibits it. Nevertheless, the donors receive a directly proportional compensation for the inconveniences and the time spent related to the treatment.

In what cases is the donation of oocytes indicated?

There are several situations, however, in most cases it is indicated to women who, despite having a normal uterus, present one of the two following alterations:

  1. Premature ovarian dysfunction: For example, cases of early menopause or women who have undergone radio- or chemotherapy treatments.
  2. Women who are carriers of potentially transmissible genetic diseases or who have a history of successive failures in their attempts at previous In vitro fertilisation cycles, whether because of lack of response to the ovarian stimulation treatment or due to the poor quality of the oocytes or the embryos. Nevertheless, in contrast to the previous cases, their ovarian function is preserved.

Is this technique used frequently? Can they be performed at any age?

In all the developed countries the demand for assisted reproduction techniques has expanded exponentially, particularly, in ovodonation. The delay in the age at which women decide to have children has consequently contributed to an increase on the demand of woman of 40 years of age or over who want to become pregnant. After this age, it is well known that the reproductive capacity of women, either naturally or by In vitro fertilisation, is much lower than in younger women.

What studies do the possible receptor and her partner need?

Before initiating the treatment, a basic study must be carried out to rule out general health problems or specifically gynecologic problems which may contraindicate or make gestation difficult. Obviously, each case requires an individual follow up which sometimes makes it necessary to carry out more complete studies. The basic evaluation includes:

  1. Clinical history and physical exploration. Gynecologic examination.
  2. Study of the uterine cavity by hysteroscopy or hysterosalpingography.
  3. Gynecologic echography.
  4. Complete general blood tests including microbiologic studies and blood-RH groups of both partners.
  5. Man’s seminogram.

What preparation and treatment must the receptor receive?

The receptor’s uterus must be prepared with a hormone treatment based on estrogens and progestagens so as to be in optimum conditions to receive the embryos from the ovodonation. It may be administered orally -with pills- or transdermically -with patches. It is a mild treatment so it does not usually present secondary effects.

If the future receptor belongs to the group of patients with preserved ovarian function, spontaneous ovarian function must be inhibited beforehand with a single dose of another intramuscular hormone preparation.

The first echographic monitoring to evaluate the state of the uterus is usually performed 14 or 15 days after having initiated the estrogen treatment. Next, the hormone dose will be individualized and will be continued until the day of the possible donation. This treatment may be maintained up to 90 days, provided that there is no vaginal bleeding. If there was any, the cycle should be reinitiated readjusting the treatment if necessary. If pregnancy is achieved after the embryo transfer, the receptor must continue with the hormone treatment for several more weeks until her hormonal situation is stabilized.

How and when are the embryos obtained?

Once the donor’s oocytes are retrieved by follicular puncture, they will be inseminated with the semen of the partner of the receptor woman. The number of oocytes fertilized will be known the following day. If all goes well, the embryo transfer will be carried out two or three days after the puncture.

Can the embryos obtained by ovodonation be cryopreserved?

Yes, they can. Both the donor and the receptor undergo treatment at the same time so that fresh embryos are transferred. This treatment is known as a synchronized ovodonation. In some cases, an asynchronized treatment may be carried out with the difference that the embryos are cryopreserved and transferred to the receptor later, when the circumstances are appropriate.

Can receptors who live far away be included in this program without the need to be in our city throughout the whole process?

Yes, they can. Patients who live far away from Barcelona or even abroad and are interested in the ovodonation program, may also undergo this treatment.

Our protocol allows a coordinated monitoring, minimizing the time that the receptor has to spend in our city. Nonetheless, it is essential to accomplish the following circuit:

  1. They must come to FIVclínic for a medical appointment in order to evaluate the case and receive information regarding the possible treatments. It is important to provide the medical history and all the studies previously performed.
  2. The tests required in each case must be carried out.
  3. The semen of the partner must be cryopreserved in our Semen Bank.
  4. The echographic monitoring may be undertaken in the city where the receptor lives, however, the process control and the medication adjustments -based on the results of the previous ultrasounds- must be conducted by our specialists in FIVclínic. The most appriate communication mechanism must be established in each case (telephone, e-mail, etc.).
  5. The receptor must come to the center the day of the embryo transfer.

What is the probability of gestation and pregnancy complications? Are there any side effects?

A favorable result may be expected in approximately 50% of the cases. The possibilities of having a multiple gestation are slightly higher. The rate of ectopic gestation or miscarriage is the same as any other assisted reproduction technique.

How can I get further information?

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Telephone number: +34 93 227 98 98
Opening hours: Monday – Friday from 8am to 9pm, weekends and public holidays from 10 am to 1pm.