Infertility is a serious issue, both in a medical and emotional sense. Couples, who decide upon specialist treatment, do not only have to face what arises from the procedures, but also their own feelings and issues. This especially applies to patients, whose only chance of parenthood involves using eggs from an anonymous donor. Knowledge and appropriate preparation for treatment allow to dispel concerns.
Up to 20 percent of women referred for in vitro fertilisation, might – on their road to motherhood – require the help of an anonymous egg donor. In up to 80 percent of patients after 40 there are indications for such a procedure. Although the couple needs to make the important decision of using the genetic material of an unknown person, they can count on a very effective treatment. Patients and the donor remain anonymous to each other, and the process is legally regulated and safe in the medical sense. Whether the process will be calm for the couple and end in their dream coming true, highly depends on the quality and experience of the centre where the therapy takes place and the egg cell bank. When choosing the right place, it is advisable to collect as much information as possible.
When to consider using the Egg Cell Bank
Usually, in vitro fertilisation is chosen by couples, when other methods of treating infertility have been exhausted and proved ineffective.
– Recipients are women, who do not have their own eggs, or their quality is significantly reduced. These are mostly women who decide to have children at a mature age, after 40. Their ovarian deserve, measured by AMH concentration and follicular count, is extremely low. Therefore, high quality eggs are impossible to collect. There are also patients whose ovaries lose their functions prematurely; patients who enter menopause just after 30. The issue may also be related to the quality of gametes, in this case miscarriages occur, or no embryos are obtained in the IVF programme – explains Dr Andrzej Hajdusianek, gynaecologist from the Infertility Clinic in Gdansk.
It is important that the eligibility for the procedure is assessed by an experienced specialist who will discuss with the patients all probable procedures, possible prognoses and answer important questions. Support of a psychologist and properly trained medical staff should also be available to the couple.
Anonymous heroes – who are the donors
Egg cell donors who offer their material to the INVICTA bank undergo a multi-step qualification process. It was designed in a way to ensure a high level of safety and quality, which directly contributes to effects in patient treatment. The candidates firstly complete a detailed medical history questionnaire, undergo thorough hormonal, infectious, genetic and ultrasound examination. They meet with doctors, a geneticist and a psychologist. This team examines their health state and lifestyle as well as personality and psychological aspects – explains Dr Hajdusianek
Such stringent qualification is especially important for the egg recipients. After all, every couple wants their child to be healthy and strives to minimise all possible risks.
According to experts from the INVICTA Egg Cell Bank, often it is life observations that incline to participate in the egg donation program. Many donors explain their engagement with the will to bring help. They make the decision, because from their own environment they know couples who unsuccessfully try to have offspring; other are already mothers themselves and understand what great happiness comes with having a child, so they decide to help make it possible for other people.
In Poland, until November 2015 it was possible for the donors to indicate a preferred recipient. Back then, it was possible to give the donated eggs to family or friends. After the law on infertility treatment entered into force, it is only possible to donate eggs anonymously.
Before the eggs enter the donor egg cycle, a doctor checks in the bank a phenotypic compatibility of a specific anonymous donor with the parameters of the recipient. Thanks to this, it is more likely that the child will inherit traits similar to those of the future mother.
A safe process
The process of harvesting egg cells from a donor starts with hormonal stimulation, which allows for multiple follicles to develop in the ovaries at the same time and it allows for collecting several egg cells. Such cells are either frozen and stored in the Bank or used in current cycle of IVF patients.
Accordingly, the couple is also previously qualified. At this stage, tailored adjustment of the course of treatment to the situation of the patients is very important. We discuss the possible outcomes and decide on the optimal therapy together. Complementing the procedure with additional genetic diagnosis of embryos, functional and immunological assessment of the recipient’s endometrium as well as appropriate preparation and scheduling of the transfer can even double the chances of pregnancy. – says Dr Hajdusianek.
Emotionally difficult journey
Donating your reproductive call to an infertile couple, as well as accepting donor cells should be an informed decision, taken responsibly and after careful consideration. A talk with a psychologist is also one of the stages of the donation and egg receiving program. The specialist tries to provide the donor and the patients with comprehensive support during emotionally challenging moments.
With the support of a psychologist, an infertile couple has a chance to discuss if it is a shared decision, whether the decision does not conflict their internal beliefs and whether it will not negatively impact on the relation between the partners or in the future, with their child. It is crucial to answer the question whether the fact that the child has a different genetic heritage will not affect the parents bonding with it. It is worth talking in advance about the views that the future parents have on this topic. During meetings with the psychologist, another issue worth raising is how to talk with the future child about their different genetic heritage and how to give them the information that thy were born thanks to assisted reproduction techniques and at what developmental stage of the child to tell them about it.
When a coherent and conscious decision of both of the future parents is made, hope for a miracle and for fulfilment of the most important dreams appears.
When a coherent and conscious decision is made by both of the future parents, hope for a miracle and for fulfilment of most important dreams appears.