The egg donation process in the UK is relatively straightforward, and begins with an initial consultation where the donor will be asked about her background, lifestyle, and medical history. This is to help the clinic assess whether the individual will make a suitable egg donor. Many women may find themselves rejected at this early stage if details revealed are likely to adversely affect the quality of her eggs, or pose a risk to the recipient.
A physical examination will then take place, with blood samples and vaginal swabs taken for testing. This is to test for the presence of medical conditions and diseases that could be passed on to the egg recipient, or any resulting baby. The rules regarding egg donation in the UK are fairly strict so once again some women may be declined at this stage.
If the examination results are acceptable, the donor will be asked to complete a consent form. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) require that all potential donors be fully aware the implications of egg donation, including the potential risk it may pose to their future fertility.
The actual egg donation process in the UK will start with the administration of drugs to the donor via injection or nasal spray to synchronise her menstrual cycle with that of the recipient. She will also be given hormone medication to stimulate the production of multiple of eggs.
The donor will be carefully monitored for possible side effects to these drugs which can include the potentially serious hyperstimulation syndrome. However, most side effects are very mild, with many donors feeling no ill-effects whatsoever.
When the donor's eggs are ready, they will be retrieved via the insertion of a small tube either through the vagina or a small incision made in the abdomen. This procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetic should the donor or clinic prefer.
At the moment, there is a real shortage of egg donors in the UK causing most IVF clinics to have lengthy waiting lists for treatment. This is one of the reasons why The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has decided to review the rules regarding the level of compensation available to women who donate their eggs. The figure of £250 is expected to increase significantly in 2011 to encourage more women to consider egg donation.
What does egg donation with IVF actually involve?