IVF with donor eggs or sperm

For some couples, their only chance of achieving pregnancy could be with the use of either a donor egg or with donor sperm.

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The decision to use a donor is not taken lightly and should be taken after consultation with your chosen clinic, which will also offer counselling to both the recipient and the donor to ensure all parties are happy with the decision.

Using a donor egg

There are many reasons why a couple may need to use a donor egg, some examples would be women who have suffered from premature ovarian failure, women in their 40’s if their ovarian reserve has depleted or the quality of their eggs has declined, if there is a chance of hereditary disease or gay couples who wish to have a family.

You can either chose your donor through a reputable clinic, agency or you may decide to ask a family member or someone you know. The donor will be screened for genetic disorders and infectious diseases.

Depending on which country you chose to have treatment, you can be faced with high costs and long waiting lists, so it is well worth doing your research to find the right clinic, some donors do not charge and are instead reimbursed for their time and expenses.

If you choose to use an anonymous egg donor then you will be advised of the donors:

  • physical description – ethnicity, height, weight, hair colour, eye colour.
  • age
  • any previous children
  • level of education
  • medical history

In terms of cost you can expect to pay around £5000 for the IVF procedure, the recipient will take medication in preparation for the IVF cycle, and you would also pay for the ovulating stimulating medication for the donor. Medication costs will be between £1000 – £2000. And depending on where you source your donor egg, you may pay as much as £20,000 for a donor.

The donor would be monitored and through an ultra sound, the date for egg retrieval would be decided. The eggs are then mixed with the male partner or donor’s sperm, and then the best grade of embryo will be transferred back to the recipient’s womb. A pregnancy test is then taken 14 days after embryo transfer.

If you have treatment in the UK, then any resulting child does have the right to find out the details of the donor when they turn 18. In other countries the donor will always remain anonymous, so please research this prior to treatment and see which option suits you best.

Using donor sperm

If the male partner is not producing any sperm, then using a sperm donor may be the best option for pregnancy. Also donor sperm is a good option for single women or same sex female couples.

Using donor sperm does not require IVF, and can be used with IUI instead depending on the female fertility diagnosis.

Again, when using donor sperm is it advisable that both parties undergo counselling to understand the implications of using a donor. Donors will be screen for hereditary diseases and infectious diseases. This is very important and a good reason to source your donor sperm through a reputable clinic or sperm donor agency. Couples are advised against using the internet to deal directly with sperm donors as none of these checks are in place and can lead to problems later on. There is also no safeguard over legal rights unless you source the sperm through recognised channels.

You may choose to use an anonymous donor or someone you know, however there are guidelines for mixing sperm and eggs between close relatives.

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We understand that infertility is a complex condition that can be very frustrating, but knowledge is power and we encourage you to get in touch and ask us for advice. If you need specific medical advice then we will happily put you in touch with one of our reliable healthcare partners.

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