What type of tests do I need to undergo to be selected as an egg donor?
Before you are able to donate your eggs, you will need to have several tests done to confirm the correct functioning of your ovaries, the absence of infectious diseases and genetic disorders:
— Informative interview where you will understand your rights and duties as a donor.
— Psychological evaluation.
— Medical interview that will allow us to rule out genetic disorders by family and personal history.
— Blood analysis.
• Serologies (hepatitis B and C, HIV, syphilis, rubella).
• Blood type.
• Karyotype to rule out chromosomal abnormalities.
• Genetic analysis to rule out Cystic Fibrosis carrier and hemoglobin electrophoresis to rule out the most common genetic anemias.
• Additional genetic evaluation in certain cases.
— Gynecological exam:
• Pap smear
• Cervical cultures
• Transvaginal ultrasound
— Interview with the nursing staff to make sure you understand how to carry out the treatment.
How many times can I donate?
The assisted reproduction law in Spain establishes that the maximum number of live born from a single egg donor cannot be more than six. This number includes the donor´s own live children.
What does the treatment consist of?
Once you have completed the physical and psychological tests, your physical characteristics, blood type and Rh status will be determined to ensure compatibility between you and the recipient. From this point on the treatment will begin and will consist of the following steps.
- Hormone monitoring
During this phase you will need to come to the clinic every 24 to 48 hours during 12 days to monitor the development of your oocytes by blood work and transvaginal ultrasounds. Ovarian stimulation will be carried out by subcutaneous or intramuscular injections of hormones. These medicines will be injected daily and the doses will change according to the results of your blood work and ultrasound. You will be informed of the changes by the nursing staff via telephone.
- Oocyte retrieval
This procedure lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You will be under sedation and you will need to stay in the clinic 3 to 4 hours after the procedure before going home.
- Follow-up oocyte retrieval
One week following the oocyte retrieval we ask you to return to the clinic to make sure you are physically well.
Can I have children in the future if I donate eggs?
Yes, egg donation does not have any repercussions in terms of your fertility. Women are born with an ovarian reserve between 500,000 and 1,000,000 oocytes. These oocytes are lost with the passing of time and through ovulation. Our goal during your treatment cycle is to reach the highest number of mature oocytes without affecting the total number of oocytes a woman possesses.
Can I donate if I take contraceptive pills?
Yes, but you will not be able to take them during your treatment cycle. In the case that you take contraceptive pills regularly, you will be informed when to stop taking them before initiating your treatment cycle.
What risks are involved in egg donation?
We could say that egg donation presents practically no risks to the donor. The treatment is generally well tolerated and exceptionally carries health risks. Nevertheless, ovarian hyperstimulation is the most common. This syndrome is an exaggerated response from the ovaries to the hormonal treatment. Ovarian hyperstimulation is classified as being mild, moderate or severe. Severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is characterized by an accumulation of liquid in the abdomen and chest, alterations in blood coagulation and renal and hepatic function. If ovarian hyperstimulation is severe, it requires hospitalization. In any case, our gynecologists by means of blood monitoring and ultrasound detect the existence of such risk. In the worst case scenerio, the gynecologist will discontinue the medication and will control the hormonal levels of each patient.
Other possible risks include:
— Genital infection
— Puncture of the small bowel or other part of the anatomy
— Ovarian torsion
— Anesthesia risks
What does Spanish legislation say about egg and semen donation?
Oocyte donation is regulated by the 1988 Spanish legislation. This guarantees that the medical and biological processes involved concerning the donor and embryo´s health are at all times ethical. Oocyte donation is a voluntary, altruistic and anonymous act.
Oocyte donors have to be between 18 and 35 years of age. The commerce for profit of oocytes, sperm and embryos is prohibited by Spanish law. Oocytes will be used exclusively to help a woman have a desired child. The Human Assisted Reproduction National Commission, an organization created to give counsel on the development of this law, advises that donors will receive an economic compensation for their dedication and time necessary to carry out the full treatment.
Also the law specifies that there must be strict anonymity between recipient and donor at the time of donation and in the future. This implies that the donor can never know, see or choose the recipient of their gametes. The recipient will also not be allowed to know, see or choose the donor. This ensures total anonymity in the donation process.
The different tests that are necessary for donors to undergo can be found regulated by the human assisted reproduction technology Law 14/2006 and the Royal Decrees 412/1996 and 1301/2006.
— Law 14/2006 regarding assisted reproduction technologies
— Royal Decree 412/1996 regarding protocols for donor testing
— Royal Decree 1301/2006 quality control and safety concerning donation