Story of eggs
The story of eggs (oocytes)
The number of woman’s number of eggs is set before she is born, while she is still in her mother’s womb. Eggs are produced during fetal development and their number reaches its peak around the 20th week of pregnancy and by the time she is born, a woman has about 2 million follicles, small sacs of fluid found on the outside layer of the ovaries, which contain immature eggs.
By the time a woman reaches puberty, around age 13, she has only about 400,000 – 500,000 follicles left. With the start of menstruation, a woman’s ovary recruits at least 30-50 eggs during each menstrual cycle. Eggs are then in competition with one another to become the dominant follicle and eventually to be released as a mature egg with fertilization capability. Most of the eggs (99%) will ultimately die without ever being ovulated. It is estimated that a woman has about 450 eggs that will be ovulated during her life and have a chance for successful fertilization and pregnancy.
The peak of a woman’s fertility is reached at around age 20 and after age 25 fertility slowly starts to decrease. More rapid decrease happens normally after the age 35 when cycle success chance decreases and women face higher chances of having a miscarriage.
Unlike men, who produce young, new sperm every 62-65 days, women cannot renew their eggs reserve.
Low egg quality
Why is my egg quantity low?
Elevated FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) level, decreased Inhibin B at the beginning of menstrual cycle, together with decreased AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) and low antral follicle count seen on ultrasound control, normally mean diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). It means that ovaries are producing fewer signals to the pituitary gland, and the body responds by producing more FSH in an effort to stimulate the ovaries. In case of a hormonal ovarian stimulation, ovaries will respond poorly with a few follicles or no reaction at all. The condition may be a result of disease or injury, but most commonly occurs as a result of normal aging. 10 to 15 years before menopause (menopause is reached at around age 51 according to European statistics), menstrual cycle shortens and rapid follicular loss occurs because more eggs are being recruited.
Low egg quantity
Why is my egg quality low?
Quality of eggs unfortunately also decreases with time and can lead to genetic abnormalities called aneuploidies. After fertilization, it is up to the egg, which is a much bigger cell than the sperm, to support embryonic development in first the 72 hours. Energy for embryo’s early development comes from the mitochondria which were in the egg at the moment of ovulation. Fertilization might happen successfully but if egg is of poor quality, the embryo will soon run out of energy for development and implantation will not be achieved because cell dividing will stop before the embryo reaches the implantation stage.
How does it work
What is egg donation?
Egg donation is a procedure where young, healthy, thoroughly examined woman (donor) donates eggs in a stimulated IVF cycle to the couple who wants to achieve pregnancy. Once retrieved from the donor, eggs are fertilized using husband’s or partner’s sperms via a selected fertilization method, which results in the embryo transfer 3-5 days later. The woman’s (recipient’s) uterus lining is carefully prepared using hormonal replacement therapy to provide optimal conditions for successful implantation. After the embryo transfer, the recipient continues to take hormonal therapy and 16 days later her hCG pregnancy test is done from the blood to detect if pregnancy is achieved.
The success rate for women treated via egg donation is generally high because healthy, young eggs are used.
Assuming other conditions are good – normal sperm analysis, healthy uterus without pathological changes, endometrium optimal in size and structure, the same success chance is expected as for the women who is of the donor’s age. It means that if the egg donor is 25-year-old, the recipient can have similar success chance as 25-year-old woman, which in this group is 50-60% per cycle. For individual prognosis based on your specific health status, please consult Gyncare team.
Indication & Preparation
Indication & preparation for egg donation
Egg donation is recommended in the following cases:
- Early failure of ovarian function
- Genetic disorders
- Low quality of eggs in previous IVF cycles
- Previous oncological treatment
- Repeated unsuccessful embryo transfers with own eggs
- In as many as 50% of oocyte recipients the reason is premature ovarian insufficiency (ovarian function failure before reaching the age of 40)
It is necessary to know that the women (recipient) is healthy and pregnancy is not contraindicated. Therefore, we recommend to do fresh examinations at Gyncare, or with your local doctors:
- Pelvic ultrasound control of ovaries, endometrium, uterus to exclude polyps, cysts, fibroids
- Cytologic PAP test
- Vaginal bacteriologic swab and specific swabs for Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Chlamydia
- Assessment with GP (ECG, blood test, liver tests, urine control, heart and lungs control with the final finding that IVF treatment and pregnancy are not contraindicated for the patient)
- For women over 40 years, we recommend breast ultrasound, for women over 45, we recommend mammography
- For women who suffered repeated miscarriages or have long a long history of infertility with failed treatments, it is recommended to have hematologic and immunologic examination in order to include suitable supportive therapy in early pregnancy.
- Partner or husband needs to have fresh sperm analysis report
- We recommend also FSH receptors examination (even in the case of normal sperm analysis values, because a large number of men have receptors for FSH mutations and often produce dysfunctional sperm which can cause treatment failure)
- Genetics (karyotype)
Both partners need to have serologic blood tests (hepatitis B, C, syphilis, HIV, gonorrhoea, serologically chlamydia trachomatis).
Who are egg donors
Who are egg donors?
Egg donors are young women, 18 – 34 years old, white Caucasian with Slovak origin, who decide to donate their eggs voluntarily. Each donor must have at least completed secondary education. Donors are typically university students or young mothers who wish to help infertile couples. To become a possible donor, it is necessary that they go through a detailed examination:
- Gynecologic examination for fertility evaluation, cytology PAP smear
- Genetic examination which includes karyotype and gene mutation causing cystic fibrosis
- Serologic blood test (hepatitis B, C, syphilis, HIV)
- Intensive medical screening to confirm they are healthy, with normal family history without occurrence of serious health issues in the family (e.g. diabetes) or psychological issues (e.g. mental problems, suicides etc.)
- Endocrinological examination
How do we select donors?
A suitable donor is selected by Gyncare team of doctors and coordinators based on your information: eye colour, hair colour, height, weight, blood groups. All information you feel is relevant for your case and donor selection, please deliver to our coordinator, who will make sure that the selection process is done according to your requests and expectations.
It is possible to select the donor based on your preferences, but nobody can guarantee the appearance or personality characteristics of the child. It is a complex procedure of gene inheritance between dominant and recessive genes we carry from our ancestors.
Epigenetics is a discipline in genetics which examines transfer of information that are not caused by inherited DNA. In the case of egg donation, the mother’s body (recipient) gives an impulse for embryo development and gene expression. In this way, even in case of egg donation, mother (recipient) has influence on child’s genetics.
Slovak legislation does not set an upper age limit for women planning to have egg donation treatment. However, considering the ethical reasons, GYNCARE – Centre for Assisted Reproduction accepts female patients the up to 52 years of age for this treatment.
Donation is exclusively anonymous. It is not possible to ask for the donor’s identity, or vice versa, donor cannot seek the couple’s or the child’s identity. Everyone involved signs their consent with this treatment principle, according to Slovak legislation.
Please see actual
Our professional team will help you with selection of methods and approach that suits your individual case.
We will inform you about expected IVF cost and payment options as well as total budget including medication, travel and stay.
Guarantee in egg donation
Normally from an egg donor we retrieve 8 – 10 mature oocytes. It is impossible to predict in advance total number of retrieved oocytes, but our guarantee system guarantees minimum of 6 donor oocytes. In case your donor would have less than 6 follicles during the stimulation, we would cancel her stimulation and offer a new donor for you under the same cost.
Embryo freezing via vitrification is included in egg donation packages, considering we have good quality embryos remaining after the fresh embryo transfer.