Embryo donation
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Embryo donation

What is embryo donation?

The process of embryo formation is that first the egg and sperm are received from the donor couple and then the artificial insemination takes place in the laboratory environment. Since it is common to get more than one embryo, the extras can be frozen for future use or given to couples who are having trouble getting pregnant.

Most of the time, a lot of embryos are made during IVF. The embryos can be frozen and used for a future pregnancy or given to someone else.

Embryo donation is done with the following goals:

  • Embryo donation to other couples

  • Embryo donation for conducting research

  • Embryo storage for the future.

In the case of donating embryos to other couples, the donor provides the possibility of fertility and having children for couples who are infertile. The donated embryo is transferred into the mother's womb with the hope of a successful pregnancy. The genetic traits of the embryos that come from embryo donation are the same as those of the embryo donors.

In cases of embryo donation, the donor does not have to pay any other cost except for the screening tests.

In the treatment of infertility with donated embryos, eggs and sperm are checked before IVF and its various stages, including embryo transfer. Also, the embryo donor may be evaluated for sexually transmitted diseases. The recipient of the donated embryo must also undergo certain tests.

The difference between the use of donated embryos and adoption is this:

When couples use assisted reproductive methods such as donated embryos and embryo banks to treat infertility, the meaning of adoption may be associated, but real adoption means accepting custody of the child after birth. Since the child born from embryo donation is born into the family, it is not considered an adopted child.

The child born through the donor embryo method is genetically identical to the egg and sperm fertilized in this method. Couples who want to adopt may want to use methods like embryo donation to help them get pregnant. However, using donor embryos to treat infertility can take a long time.

The success rate of donated embryos:

Embryo donation is a new infertility treatment technique. Therefore, its success rate is measured by the number of live births per embryo transfer. The success rate of embryo donation depends on the quality of the embryo, the age of the donor, the number of transferred embryos and the stage of embryo development during freezing. The success rate of using this method is 43–45% on average.

Factors required for embryo donation

For Women:

  • Patients suffering from climacteric

  • Patients in the climacteric transition period

  • Patiens who are over the age of 43

  • Patients with recurrent IVF failure

  • Cases where low quality eggs were found in a previous IVF study

  • In cases where eggs could not be collected during the IVF trial,

  • Cases in which the ovaries were removed surgically

  • Patients who received chemotherapy or radiation

  • Who is the gene or chromosomal illness carrier?

  • Women's claim to bearing children without men

For Men

  • In azoospermia-micTESE or TESE, sperm cannot be obtained.

  • Having poor IVF treatment outcomes due to sperm quality

  • A man has a hereditary illness that cannot be treated in embryos.

  • The male has a viral infection that cannot be cured by semen.

  • The discovery of a serious chromosomal aberration in sperm

  • The male was Rh+, and hence isoimmunization was identified in the woman's previous pregnancy.

Embryo donors (both male and female) should be tested for HIV-1, HIV-2, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

The advantages of embryo donation

  • The embryo is available: If a couple does not conceive and they intend to do IVF, they can always use a donated embryo. Also, when a couple who used their own eggs and sperm to get pregnant has a healthy baby, they can donate any extra embryos to other couples who want them.

  • Experience of pregnancy and childbirth: When a baby is adopted, the mother loses the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. In donated embryos, the embryo is placed in the mother's womb, and the mother goes through all the stages of pregnancy and childbirth;

  • It is a valuable practice: couples who do not have children and would like to have children, choosing the method of embryo donation can make a big change in their lives.

Disadvantages to embryo donation:

  • Long legal procedures for embryo donation: Embryo donation is usually done in infertility clinics where many couples are waiting for embryo donation and the supply is less than demand, so the legal procedures for embryo donation may take some time;

  • Complete lack of success of donated embryos: the success rate of transferring frozen embryos is equal to the success rate of transferring fresh embryos in the IVF method. As the mother's age increases, the success rate of the donated embryo also decreases.


How likely is it that a donated embryo will lead to a pregnancy?

The success rate due to the transfer of fresh and frozen embryos does not differ and is completely the same. This technique's overall success rate is estimated to be between 43 and 45 percent.

Several factors are effective in the success of the treatment, including the following:

The number of transferred embryos

Age conditions of sperm and egg donor and recipient couples

The quality of transferred embryos

How to donate an embryo?

Embryo donation can be done anonymously, semi-openly, or openly. An anonymous embryo donation is when the donor and recipient are not aware of each other's identity. In semi-open embryo donation, some general information about the donor is provided to the recipient, but the address or detailed information is not provided to the parties. In open embryo donation, donors and recipients can communicate with each other before, during, and after embryo donation.

After embryo freezing, embryos can be stored for a long time. With the help of the IVF method, embryos can be taken out of the frozen state and put into the uterus if the person receiving them is ready. The frozen embryo can be easily transported from one part of the world to another part of the world.

After thawing, the frozen embryos are ready to be placed in the mother's womb. During the stage of embryo transfer in IVF, one or two embryos are transferred into the mother's womb through the cervix with the help of a device called a catheter (a very thin tube).

The selection of the number of embryos transferred into the mother's womb is done by the doctor according to the patient's eligibility criteria and taking into account the prevention of the risk of multiple pregnancies. In the case of successful implantation, the embryo grows inside the uterus. 14 days after the donated embryo has been placed, a pregnancy test is done to make sure that a pregnancy has happened. 

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