What is Embryo Donation?
If a couple cannot conceive a baby and if it is confirmed that the man has no sperm and the woman has no egg or if the sperm and egg are unqualified to be used, then it is recommended the couple have an embryo donation. In this case, a sperm sample, which is selected by the couple, is supplied from the sperm bank. At the same time the eggs are collected from an appropriate female donor. Afterwards, these eggs and sperm are united using appropriate methods in our centre, providing an average of 10 embryos, some of which are transferred to the mother candidate. The remaining embryos are frozen and kept to be used whenever the family may require. With this method, it is ensured that the child who is to be born later is the sibling of the previous child.
The essential factor in embryo donation is the woman’s uterus must be healthy.
To Whom Can Embryo Donation Be Applied?
- Menopause patients
- Patients in transition to menopause
- Patients over 43 years old
- Patients with recurrent IVF failure
- Patients whose eggs are detected to be of low quality in their previous IVF attempts
- Cases when an egg can’t be retrieved in an IVF attempt
- Oophorectomy cases
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Patients who carry a genetic or chromosomal disease are candidates for egg donation and with this treatment they can have their babies that they have been dreaming about for years.
- Patients that have azoospermia (absence of sperm) and inability to obtain sperm through microTESE or TESE
- Patients who have had poor results in IVF treatment due to low sperm quality
- Patients who carry a genetic disease that makes it impossible to work on embryos
- Patients who have a viral disease which cannot be removed from the semen
- In cases when a serious chromosomal abnormality is detected in the sperm
- In cases when the man is Rh+ and an isoimmunisation is detected in the women’s previous pregnancy because of this.
Which Tests Are Required Before the Procedure?
Hemogram (full blood count), Blood Type, TSH, FT4, HbsAg, AntiHIV, AntiHCV, VDRL.
Uterus x-ray (HSG)
Sperm and eggs are needed to obtain an embryo, the donation option is used for both of them.
Donor Selection Criteria:
The suggestions of infertility associations in Europe and America (ESHRE and ACOG) are taken as a basis.
Age is an important criteria in donor selection. The recommended age range for egg donors is 21 to 35, but due to the success oriented work in our centre we accept donors aged only between 21 and 30 because we believe that the egg quality is higher in these age groups.
Routine tests are checked for infectious diseases (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis) blood type and Rh.
Necessary genetic tests (Chromosome analysis, thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and cystic fibrosis when needed) and psychiatric tests are applied and the donor’s own health and family back-ground should be examined in detail.
Donors should have a normal reproductive system and a proof of previous pregnancy.
It’s important that donor blood type and physical characteristics are compatible with the recipient. Therefore we ask our patients about their physical characteristics. We are very sensitive about having similar characteristics with our donors. Hair colour, eye colour and skin colour are important features, but the patient can specify any other characteristics when choosing a donor.
The recipient’s and the donor’s identities are kept confidential in our centre. The identities of the donor and the recipient are never shared due to the law in Cyprus. Confidentiality policy is taken as a basis in this matter.
Our centre has the best and the most widespread donor network and database in Cyprus.
It provides the highest quality donor eggs by means of its experienced team. It should not be forgotten that a high quality donor egg will also increase your chances of success.
There’s no donor waiting list in these procedures. In other words when we start our treatment the donor will also start the treatment. The treatments will be carried out collaterally in this way.
Only fresh eggs are used in donation procedures in our centre. Frozen eggs are not used.
One donor is used for each recipient couple in our clinic. We don’t share eggs in our clinic. By this means more eggs are used for each recipient enabling them to have more and better quality embryos. The chance of success for the couple increases in this manner and after the transfer they might still have some embryos to freeze.
Having embryos to freeze is important for our patients. These embryos will be used in case something goes wrong during pregnancy (miscarriage or premature birth) or they can be kept until they want another child.
How are individuals chosen for sperm donation?
Sperm donors are chosen from a sperm bank. Each donor has a certificate for disease screening. The donor is chosen in accordance to the physical characteristics and blood type of the recipient. Detailed research is carried out to detect chromosome analysis (karyotype), thalassemia, cystic fibrosis and infectious diseases (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, CMV). There is also additional information provided regarding the sperm donor such as his profession, a photograph from his childhood and a sample of his handwriting.
What is the Process Of Pharmacological/Medical Treatment?
The recipient’s intra uterine/endometrium needs a preliminary preparation for the embryo implantation and its attachment. A hormonal support should be provided to the mother for the baby to get attached. For this her treatment is arranged by us. Embryo transfer is planned when the intra uterine is ready for the baby to settle. This preliminary treatment process takes approximately 15-20 days.
Sperm is needed to fertilize the eggs. The donor sperm is used at the day of egg collection from the donor. The sperm is processed in laboratory conditions for it to become optimal for the procedure and the optimum sperm is chosen for fertilization.
Fertilisation, Embryo Development and Transfer
Oocyte / egg is fertilised by sperm under laboratory conditions by means of an advanced technique called microinjection. Following this procedure, the development of embryos is observed in a culture medium. The transfer is performed on the 3rd or the 5th days according to the embryo development and status of the patient.
The number of embryos to be transferred is decided together with the patient in reference to the health conditions of the patient, the condition of the uterus and the embryo quality.
The transfer procedure is painless, it takes approximately 10 minutes. There’s no need for anaesthesia.
After the procedure we recommend our patients to rest about 2 hours in our centre.
When does the result come out? And what is our centre’s success rate?
A pregnancy test should be performed 12 days after the embryo transfer. According to the result of this test we understand if the patient is pregnant or not.
Our success rates vary between 85-90% for embryo donation in our centre due to the usage of fresh, high quality and large number of eggs and high quality sperm as well as due to our top-level laboratory conditions.