Egg donation explained simply

May 14 2012

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For 21 years, egg donation has been a treatment that Instituto Bernabeu offers to women who need it, which has made it a European reference point for egg donation.

It is the reproductive technique with the highest pregnancy rates, over 60% per cycle. At IB, the overall pregnancy rate after three cycles of treatment is over 90%.

Other additional advantages are:

- No hormonal ovarian stimulation or daily injections are needed

-Much lower risk of miscarriage due to the patient’s age and also due to the exhaustive chromosomal and genetic study that IB conducts on all donors, which is later given to the recipient.

TREATMENT OUTLINE FOR THE RECIPIENT PATIENT.

The treatment consists of tablets and occasionally adhesive patches, combined with vaginal pessaries, whose instructions will be individually prescribed for each patient. The goal: to prepare the uterus for maximum receptiveness.

A scan performed several days after treatment will confirm whether there is an adequate uterine response and will determine the ideal moment for the upcoming transfer.

Your regular gynaecologist can perform this scan if you live far from an IB centre.

SELECTION OF THE IDEAL DONOR.

When the patient decides to trust Instituto Bernabeu for her egg donation treatment, our entire team makes sure a strict process control is followed. The egg donation department will search our bank of over 500 candidates for the donor most similar to the recipient in terms of eye and skin colour, hair type, height, weight and blood type.

Before being included in our bank, our multidisciplinary team studies the donor’s suitability. At Instituto Bernabeu, the initial selection is made with an evaluation by our clinical psychologist, using the EMAE psychological questionnaire.

We later perform a complete medical study on the egg donor consisting of:

-Blood analysis to rule out any type of infectious disease Such as AIDS, hepatitis B, C or syphilis.

-Karyotype and genetic study to rule out any diseases that could be transmitted to the future baby.

-Study conducted by the gynaecologist to check her reproductive and gynaecological health.

Given the strictness of this medical analysis, about 60% of all candidates do not qualify; also due to the complete medical compatibility and unique assignment of all the eggs collected for the recipients.

Synchronised with the treatment, we will also start to stimulate the donor’s ovulation to obtain an adequate number of mature eggs.

IVF LABORATORY:

1. At the same time, a biologist prepares and capacitates the semen to increase its fertilising abilities.

2. Whenever possible, we prefer to be as natural as possible and thus apply classic IVF. That is, we leave thousands of spermatozoids around the egg so that the strongest among them fertilises it.

3. If semen quality is reduced, we apply the ICSI technique, which gives Nature a helping hand. It involves putting a single pre-selected sperm inside the egg.

4. We also know that, just as it happens in nature:

Not all eggs can be fertilised and not all fertilized embryos develop normally, since there is a natural selection process. We only transfer the strongest ones and we make sure that only the best embryos are transferred. This period of time lasts between 3 and 5 days.

What are the advantages?

Firstly, as it represents the natural selection of the best embryos, the weaker ones will not survive the days following fertilisation and so the survivors are the most likely to succeed.

Secondly, it allows for the possibility of being able to freeze suitable embryos for future transfers, using a technique called vitrification. This avoids all the previous process of stimulation, collection and embryo culture for a new attempt in the event of the first cycle failing or if you would like other children in the future.

Here is a summary of the most important milestones in early embryo development:

1.- After 18 hours, we find out the number of eggs showing the first signs of fertilisation.

2.- 48 hours later, on day 3, the embryos now have between 7 and 9 cells and, depending on their quality, number and quantity, the time of transfer is decided.

3.- From the 4thday, the embryos are called blastocysts. They cells are already compacted and can even be seen to move. The 5th day is the maximum amount of time the embryos can be outside the womb.

4.- Now the most anticipated and desired event takes place- the transfer. There is no need for sedation. It is a painless process where the gynaecologist transfers the resulting embryo into the womb using a thin ultrasound-guided catheter which allows him or her to see the uterus and the best site to deposit the embryo.

5. After about 10 or 11 days a maternal blood test is performed to confirm the success of the procedure. This looks at the presence of BHCG in the blood. This is the hormone that early embryos produce. Its value helps us evaluate the pregnancy as well as the possibility of having twins.

6. Pregnancies and future children conceived through assisted reproduction techniques develop in the same way as those achieved naturally.

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For your convenience, here you can arrange an online consultation or book an appointment at Instituto Bernabeu.

For further information, consult our website: www.institutobernabeu.com/en/or www.ibbiotech.com/en/

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