How does egg donation work?

Published: 16 March 2017|Last updated: 30 November 2020|

Spain has one of the most well regulated and open laws on assisted reproduction in the whole of Europe. The European landscape in terms of the application of assisted reproduction techniques is very diverse, and is essentially determined by the legal framework, or even by the absence of regulation in some countries.

Law 14/2006 on Assisted Human Reproduction techniques allows access to these techniques to all women from the age of 18 years regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. This means that in Spain we can apply these techniques to single or homosexual women who wish to have access to, as well as exercise, their right to motherhood.

As far as gamete donation is concerned, in Spain it is regulated by Royal Decree 412/1996, by Royal Decree Law 9/2014 and by Law 14/2006 on Assisted Reproduction.

Egg donation is considered by law to be voluntary, anonymous and altruistic. For its part, the donation contract is based on the principles of gratuity, formality and confidentiality. However, compensation to donors for the inconvenience caused is also provided for and envisaged by law.

We work with a group of healthy donors aged between 18 and 35 and we select the donors according to their physical resemblance to the oocyte recipients. We compare the phenotype and physical characteristics of both parties using the colour photos which we ask you for, or that we take when you come to the clinic and the phenotype sheet filled in on the day of the first visit.

In accordance with the law, Eugin conducts a customised mapping between donor and recipient by trying to achieve the maximum phenotypic and immunological similarity and where necessary, with the blood group as well. Egg donation is totally anonymous, but the law allows prospective parents to be provided with general information about the woman donor which does not reveal her identity.

Today, thanks to the existence of genetic tests, we can perform a mapping between sperm and donor eggs that minimizes the risk of transmitting genetic diseases to the future baby.

Education, intellectual level, religion, beliefs or physical or psychological abilities are not determining factors; we believe this is all a question of the personal education of the parents along with the social environment, and therefore we do not take them into account when we choose the donors.

After you have started your hormone treatment, several donors will initiate stimulation and once we consider your endometrium to be ready, we will assign you one of the donors, who coincides with your physical characteristics and we will inform you the day she is ready to carry out the punction. This waiting period varies and often depends on the duration of the donors’ stimulation.

This method allows the treatment to be carried out calmly as it does not depend on just one donor who may be cancelled during the cycle if she does not respond correctly to ovarian stimulation. This would be a problem for you as your hormone treatment would also have to be suspended. This system means the possible cancellation of your treatment and any unnecessary stress are avoided.

The donors follow a shorter treatment than you and start when your treatment is already underway. As you understand, we do not tell you the dates of the follicular controls of the donors, but only the day of their follicular punction.

As a rule, we transfer 1 suitable embryo, in order to avoid a twin pregnancy insofar as possible.

As far as the evaluation of the embryos to be transferred is concerned, this is done in a laboratory and consists of a morphological evaluation of the different stages of the development and in which various parameters are taken into consideration. These parameters are: the number of cells, the size and symmetry of the cells, fragmentation, the expansion of the blastocyst… The biologists classify the embryos according to these criteria and deem them to be apt or not apt to be transferred. Only good quality embryos are transferred.

Spanish legislation permits the transfer of up to three embryos. However, at EUGIN Clinic we do not recommend that three embryos be transferred. In fact, the success rate observed is almost identical to the transfer of 1 blastocyst-phase embryo or two cell-phase embryos, but there is a much higher risk of a multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets) which can cause problems during the pregnancy and birth:

  • For the babies, there is a higher risk of premature birth and its associated consequences.
  • For the mothers, there is a higher risk of premature birth, pregnancy hypertension, gestational diabetes,…

We do not want to put your life, or that of your child, in danger, and we want to avoid the need to carry out an embryo reduction which can be the cause of miscarriages or of psychological problems.

The clinic recommends that the transfers take place between days 15 and 60 of the oestrogen treatment, when the donor selected for her phenotype profile is ready for the oocyte punction. We will be able to inform you of this by giving you 2 days notice.

The majority of transfers take place between days 15 and 45 of the treatment.

If you are thinking of undergoing assisted reproduction treatment, we will first assess your case on your first visit. In the event of needing a gamete donation, all stages of the process will be carried out meticulously as we have already mentioned. Both egg donation and sperm donation in Spain, are considered confidential by law. Recipients of eggs or sperm must bear in mind that, when applying the techniques, the choice of donors belongs to the assisted reproduction centre and will be made respecting as far as possible the characteristics of both donor and recipient. The law does not allow the recipient of the gametes to choose the donor.

If you have any questions or need to clear up any doubts, you can consult our experts free of charge.

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