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Donor Eggs in Fertility Treatments

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What to Expect With Egg Donation

The procedure for egg donation and implantation is similar to standard IVF treatment. After a thorough exam, the woman receiving the donor egg will need a course of hormone treatments to prepare her for the egg. If she still has functioning ovaries, she'll need estrogen and progesterone treatments in order to make her cycle coincide precisely with the donor's.

Meanwhile, the donor will also be treated with hormones to induce superovulation. Once she is ready, the eggs will then be retrieved and fertilized. A few days later, the embryo or embryos are implanted in the recipient's uterus. She will continue to take hormones for about 10 weeks afterward.

Donor eggs can be frozen for later use, but the chances of success are lower with frozen eggs.

A newly available option is embryo implantation. In this technique, you use a previously frozen embryo that was left over from another couple's IVF treatments. That couple may have gotten pregnant, or decided against IVF. Whatever the reason, they've granted the clinic the right to give their leftover embryos to other couples. But keep in mind this one drawback: Donated embryos often come from older couples who were probably coping with infertility problems themselves. Success is less likely than with the eggs of a young and healthy egg donor.

Legal Rights of Egg Donors and Recipients

There are many potential legal issues that arise when egg donors are used by infertile couples. The egg donor contract should explicitly state that the donor waives all parental rights forever. It should state that any children born from the donated eggs are the legitimate children of the prospective parents.

Other Issues With Egg Donation

Couples using donor eggs must usually bear all costs. Still, investigate your insurance company's coverage of these procedures, and ask for a written statement of your benefits. Typically, you'll be paying for your own procedure, as well as for the donor's medical expenses, including any additional expenses due to complications that may arise from the egg retrieval process. These complications can include bleeding, infection, and injury to the bladder or abdominal organs.

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