In vitro fertilisation with donor eggs and your partner’s sperm is a laboratory technique that consists in fertilising a donor’s eggs with your partner’s sperm.
When is it recommended?
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Spanish legislation requires that egg donation is anonymous (donor and recipient cannot meet each other either in the present or in the future) and voluntary (trading eggs and embryos is forbidden under Spanish law). Donors must be aged between 18 and 35 and receive financial compensation for their dedication and time.
This type of In Vitro Fertilisation is recommended if you have problems with your ovaries and have to use eggs provided by a donor. It may be that your ovaries are not producing eggs or that the eggs are not of sufficient quality (See causes of female infertility). This technique is also used if you have a genetic disease, some kind of chromosome abnormality or if you are suffering from a condition that makes ovarian stimulation impossible.
It is also recommended after several unsuccessful cycles of fertility treatment with your own eggs (See causes of female infertility) or if you are over 43, as at this age the pregnancy rate drops considerably and, if you do get pregnant, there is a higher risk of miscarriage and of genetic abnormalities in the foetus.
1. Donor selection
Donors are selected based on extremely strict medical criteria and undergo a series of tests to rule out any major diseases and conditions that may have repercussions on the baby’s health.
One of the distinctive features of our donation programme is that we attempt to match the physical characteristics (phenotypes) of the donor and the recipient as closely as possible. This is what we call good phenotype matching. The results are closely examined by a doctor, who also checks for the absence of currently known genetic diseases in the donor’s personal or family history, and a psychologist who assesses her mental health.
Finally, the donor signs a consent form drawn up according to Spanish law, stating that she is donating her eggs to a couple wanting a child and that she will never try to find out who they are.
2. Donor treatment
Donors have to undergo a course of treatment for about two weeks to stimulate their ovaries; this consists of administering subcutaneous (under the skin) hormone injections and they are monitored with ultrasound scans plus blood tests if necessary. The eggs are removed by inserting a fine needle into the ovary while the woman is under sedation.
3. In vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer
n the same way as with In Vitro Fertilisation of your own eggs (with your partner’s sperm), once the donor eggs have been harvested, they are placed in a culture dish for a few hours while the semen is prepared and the sperm is separated.
If the technique that will be used is ICSI (microinjection of a sperm into each mature egg) the eggs are denuded, which means that the cells on the surface are removed, and a sperm is injected into each one. At our Clinic, we carry out ICSI in 99% of cases, unless we are told otherwise.
In this case, we would use classic In Vitro Fertilisation, in which sperm (between 50,000 and 100,000) are placed in the culture dish with the eggs, and the next day we check to see how many eggs have been fertilised. Obviously, a larger quantity of eggs plus higher quality sperm means there is a greater chance of obtaining embryos. This technique has the drawback of producing lower fertilisation rates, as the sperm is not directly injected into the egg.
The day after extraction and ICSI, or fertilisation of the eggs, we will know how many have fertilised. In the next 2 or 3 days these fertilised eggs become pre-embryos ready for transfer to the uterus.
On the day of transfer, between day 2 and day 5 after fertilization, as the case may be, the pre-embryos with the best developmental characteristics are selected. According to the law, we can transfer up to 3 pre-embryos, but on average, the most common number is between 1 and 2, depending on the day of transfer and the medical and personal characteristics of each patient.
The pre-embryos are inserted into a thin catheter and are placed inside the uterus, namely, in the endometrium, by the gynaecologist. No anaesthesia is required. Of the pre-embryos transferred, usually only one of them is implanted, but it should be borne in mind that in some cases more than one can be implanted, which would lead to a multiple pregnancy. This is why the number of transferred embryos must be adapted to each patient case.
The pre-embryos that have not been transferred are frozen in liquid nitrogen (this type of cryopreservation is known as Vitrification) and they are then carefully labelled and stored in the embryo bank. These pre-embryos can be used in subsequent cycles if a pregnancy is not achieved on the first attempt or for a next pregnancy. Evidently, the treatment for preparing the uterus for the transfer of frozen embryos is much simpler as there is no need to stimulate the follicles and harvest the eggs.
Cost of treatment
Get your free 360º Fertility Assessment during your first visit if you request it before March 31.
This amount includes all medical procedures necessary for its performance, from your first visit to completion.
Medical treatments in Spain are exempt from VAT.
This amount does NOT include:
- The previous medical tests required, since they are different for each person depending on their medical history.
- The medication, as during the first visit your doctor will indicate the dose you need, depending on your case.
- The blastocyst culture, due to the fact that up until a few hours after fertilisation we will not be able to know whether the embryos have the potential to develop until this stage.
Travel and accommodation
At EUGIN, all the treatments are performed in Barcelona. You can get started right away, and from start to finish, the whole process tends to take around one month.
Be aware that travelling adds a significant cost, at EUGIN we do everything possible to reduce it to the minimum.
To do this we propose two methods:
Trips can be scheduled every day of the week (weekends included), to make it easier to fit them in to your schedule.
There is a possibility of scheduling a single trip to Barcelona to carry out the treatment. If you prefer this option, you can contact our patient care team, who will help you plan the whole trip. Depending on your case and the treatment you undergo, the stay may vary * from between 15 days to a month.
*If you require a visa, consider the possibility that your trip may be prolonged depending on your case and the treatment you undergo. Our patient care team will help you organize all the details of your stay.
Last Updated: February 2018