For many couples, it can become clear that they cannot become pregnant due to poor egg quality or a lack of eggs. This can be a truly awful moment, with hopes and dreams seemingly drifting away.
However, this isn't necessarily the end of the road. There are still many more steps you can take to start a family, One of the most common of these is egg donation.
Using an egg donor allows you to have a pregnancy, and actually give birth to your own child. The baby will still have half your partner's genes, and you will both be her parents.
The egg donation process involves the donor going through what is essentially the IVF process where her eggs are fertilised with your partner's sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryo or embryos will then be frozen until your body is ready to have them implanted. As with regular IVF treatment, the embryo will be transferred into your uterus using a small catheter. More information about egg donation and IVF.
There are many ways to find an egg donor in the UK. Most clinics and local hospitals have donor programs where you can find donated eggs. However there is currently a real shortage of eggs in the UK so finding a suitable donor isn't always easy. More details about egg donor programs.
In the UK, donors should not receive any payment for their egg donation other than for any expenses incurred. Donors are entitled to up to £250 compensation for undergoing the donation process. This figure is expected to rise in 2011. More information about egg donation in the UK.
In the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, donors can be paid for their eggs. They can expect to receive anything from £1500 to £4000 per donation.
Becoming an egg donor isn't a straightforward process. You must meet a number of criteria, and be screened for various conditions that could be passed onto a resulting baby. However, donating your eggs can be a wonderful act of kindness, one which may bring untold joy to someone desperately trying to start a family. More details about becoming an egg donor.
The cost of egg donation fertility treatment in the UK is in the region of £8,000. This will include tests, treatment, fertility drugs, and any costs associated with the donor eggs.
In some cases, egg donation fertility treatment may be available on the NHS. It's always worth checking with your local health authority before seeking private care. There are many excellent fertility clinics in the UK offering first class IVF with egg donation treatment. More details about egg donor clinics.
The success rate of using an egg donor is difficult to estimate because each case can be so different. But in general, success rates are considerably higher than normal IVF as the donor will always be a healthy women under the age of 35. Many clinics in the UK boast of success rates of 50% and over. Indeed, women over the age of 40, who have lower quality or quantity of eggs, are five times more likely to fall pregnant with donor eggs than with their own eggs. More information about egg donation success rates.
What does egg donation with IVF actually involve?