Moving from IVF with own eggs to donor eggs may not be easy. However, you can rest assured that there are clinics out there that understand that rigour, professionalism, and empathy on the clinic’s side are key to providing patient-friendly donor egg treatment with high success rates.
Any IVF clinic should provide impeccable and exclusive medical healthcare by taking a careful look at each patient’s case to determine the most suitable solution. The doctors’ and coordinators’ work should invariably be underpinned by empathy and all the little extras that can make a fertility clinic unique.
This is certainly the case in egg donation treatment, a particularly distinct process and one of the most successful types of assisted reproduction treatment that exist. It gives an opportunity to become mothers to women who are unable to get pregnant and give birth using their own eggs. This may be because they have a depleted ovarian reserve or poor quality oocytes or because they have experienced premature menopause. For example, at Instituto Bernabeu, the process entails providing the egg recipient (the mother) and the donor (the woman who is selflessly donating her eggs) with outstanding care.
In this case, Instituto Bernabeu is committed to its patients and adheres to very rigorous processes to deliver impeccable results. Did you know that only 22% of potential egg donor candidates pass the strict controls and are accepted to be donors? This is an indication of how important caring for patients and donors can be and how big the commitment the clinic makes to patients.
Egg donation – 10 reasons why patients choose it
- Blastocyst transfer. Embryo transfer in the egg donation process is preferably performed at the blastocyst stage. That is, on day 5 or 6 of embryo development. This is good news for patients as this increases embryo viability and the chances of pregnancy. At Instituto Bernabeu, the cost of extended embryo culture is always included in the price of the program, while some clinics may charge for it additionally.
- Patients can use fresh donor eggs. In many clinics, fresh egg donation is recommended over a frozen cycle. In most courses of treatment, donating eggs is synchronised to match the recipient because pregnancy success rates in these cases exceed those for frozen oocytes. For example, at Instituto Bernabeu, you can have at least 8 donated oocytes guaranteed, which makes, on average, 11 fresh donor eggs per cycle.
- Exhaustive medical, psychological and genetics checks on the egg donor. The better the clinic, the more thorough tests on donors that go above and beyond the tests required by law. Find out beforehand what tests your donor has passed in order to become an egg donor. Apart from the tests required by law, additional tests may be carried out to find out more about the donor’s health, medical, psychological and genetic condition. These tests can sometimes bear additional costs. Explore what type of analysis your donor has undergone and select a clinic that will carry them out for you free of charge. The purpose of these tests is to guarantee that the donor is suitable and does not have any hereditary, genetic or sexually transmitted diseases that could negatively affect the pregnancy or lead to abnormalities in the embryo later down the line.
- The broadest possible genetic study. As a matter of protocol, clinics perform a genetic compatibility test (GCT). Instituto Bernabeu performs it on all donors. It analyses the 600/3,000 most common hereditary disorders (depending on the type).
- Physical similarity to the mother. Special care is taken with regards to similarities in phenotype to the recipient mother. This process is classed as equally important as checks on psychological, medical and infectious disorders so you can rest assured that extra effort is undertaken so your donor-conceived baby can look as close to you as possible.
- Avoiding the risks associated with multiple pregnancy. Embryo transfer takes place on day 5. It is a long culture process until blastocyst stage. Excellence in the laboratory means that topquality embryos are developed and a single embryo can be transferred. Many IVF clinics avoid multiple transfers because twin pregnancies are high risk for the mother and babies.
- Storing egg donor DNA for future reference. Did you know that Instituto Bernabeu stores the gamete donor’s DNA for 20 years at no additional cost? What’s the purpose? If any serious illness affects your donor-conceived offspring in the future, this DNA donor material can be made available at any time for use in genetic studies aimed at preventing and treating that illness.
- Result and egg donation process audits. The quality of the egg donation process should be audited by an external company so they can confirm the clinic’s statistical results each year, which is a clear indication of the rigour that characterises each step.
- Commitment to patients – free additional cycle. Sometimes, and in spite of the above, embryo transfer cannot take place. This happens in 3% of all egg donation cycles. It is why, once abnormalities in the male partner have been ruled out (few spermatozoa with poor mobility), some clinics offer patients an additional cycle at no extra cost.
- Guarantee Programs. Such commitment to patients is also manifested in money-back programs which are quite popular nowadays. The Pregnancy and Childbirth Guarantee Programme by Instituto Bernabeu was the first of this kind in Europe. The clinic offers pregnancy and live birth or your money back. It gives parents the peace of mind that they have 18 months to go through their egg donation treatment. The in vitro fertilisation (IVF) programme using the patient’s own oocytes combined with egg donation is another option. And yet another alternative is the embryo adoption guarantee.
The article has been prepared in collaboration with Instituto Bernabeu.