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FAQ

USING DONOR EGGS

Using Donor Eggs Cta

Ask Us Anything About Using Donor Eggs

Find answers to the questions we’re asked about most often. If you don’t see your question here, contact us to find out more.

 


How long is the wait for a donor?

We are specialists in frozen donor eggs, providing the largest selection of frozen donors in the UK. Following a consultation with one of our doctors, you will have access to our online database of more than 100 donors, who come from a wide range of backgrounds.

There is no need to wait, as we have frozen eggs available for all donor profiles published on our site, and we upload new donors to the database every week. If you need any help with your search, we have a dedicated matching team who can assist you.


How many eggs will I receive from a donor?

This will depend on the number of eggs collected from a donor. We offer a minimum of 6 eggs or 10 eggs from the same donor or two donors – 6 eggs from one and 4 eggs from another donor. Please note that our online database will only allow you to select 4 eggs from one donor once you have already placed 6 eggs from another donor in your basket.


What does it mean if a donor is a carrier of a genetic condition?

For the most part, everyone carries a gene for at least one genetic disease. What's more of a concern is if both parents have the same mutation, which is when a child has a 25% chance of inheriting the condition.

Before we match you to a donor, a sperm provider (either your partner or sperm donor) will have to undergo testing to see if they share any of the same genetic mutations (genetic carrier screening). If a test is negative, then the child will not inherit the genetic disease.

Your egg donation pathway at London Egg Bank will begin with a consultation with one of our fertility doctors.

During your consultation, a doctor will review your medical history and your previous treatments/investigations (if applicable). Following (or sometimes before) your consultation, you can expect to have a pelvic ultrasound scan to check your womb and exclude pathology.

A recent semen analysis test will be needed if you are having treatment using your partner’s sperm. You will also meet with our dedicated Matching Coordinator to discuss the programme and any tests which are necessary.

Your coordinator will introduce our online database of donors and personalised matching service. In addition, we ask all patients considering egg donation treatment to see our independent counsellor. This will help you to understand the broader implications of conceiving with donor eggs and to make a fully informed decision.

When an egg donor and recipient are undergoing a fresh cycle, they must have their menstrual cycles synchronised, which requires a lot of medical, financial, legal, and logistical coordination.

Once the cycles are synchronised, eggs are retrieved from the egg donor and fertilised with the intended sperm so that the embryo can be implanted into the recipient’s uterus, which has been prepared by hormone treatment for implantation. There is a risk that no eggs will be collected, or there will be only a few, or eggs collected may not be suitable for use. We don't know this until the day of egg collection, so this too can add to the stress for patients treated with fresh donor eggs.

However, eggs have already been retrieved from the donors when used for frozen egg donation. They have been cryopreserved via vitrification and are in storage. There is no need to synchronise cycles, and intended parents - the egg recipients - can plan their conception according to their own schedules.

Our success rates with frozen and fresh cycles are the same. However, experience and skill are vital in achieving consistent and successful results with vitrification, and at London Egg Bank we are experts at this. We perform the highest number of egg freezing and thawing cycles in the UK, with the highest survival rate of 94%.

Our donors undergo rigorous selection to ensure the quality of the eggs provided. This is reflected in our outstanding track record and excellent results.

With a 94% egg survival rate and above 70% cumulative pregnancy rates per egg donation cycle, our results are amongst the best in the world.

For more of our success rates, view our statistics here.

You must be having treatment with London Egg Bank to use its donor eggs. Our matching coordinators will assist you to find the best match.

Patients from our fertility partner, London Women’s Clinic, can also choose donors from our database and they have one matching consultation free of charge.

After creating your embryos in our laboratories, you can move them to any licensed clinic and continue your treatment there.

If you wish to use donor eggs, you must have completed treatment and given birth by your 55th birthday. You may need a letter of support from your GP.

If you are over 50, we ask you to complete a health assessment with a consultant obstetrician to ensure a safe pregnancy plan. Additional checks like an ECG, mammogram, and thyroid and diabetes tests may be required.

The donor remains anonymous to the parents at the time of donation. However, any child born as a result of egg donation can request, from the HFEA’s register, non-identifying information about the donor at the age of 16 and identifying information at the age of 18.

The baby’s DNA comes from the egg donor and the sperm provider, and so the baby’s basic genetic code is inherited from these two sources of DNA. Everything from eye colour to adult height to blood type is determined by their genes. However, this does not mean that the baby’s eye colour will be a combination of simple dominant or recessive elements of the egg donor and recipient’s partner because we cannot predict how the genes will be expressed or how the baby will look.

Genetics is complicated and there is a multitude of possible genetic combinations which may create different traits in your child. It’s important for couples to understand that nothing is definitive — even giving birth to a child naturally doesn’t ensure they look like you, and using a donor egg doesn’t automatically mean your child won’t resemble you at all. You may be even surprised how much your baby looks like you, or like someone in your family.

However, there are a number of ways the maternal environment influences the baby’s growth and development after the embryo is implanted in the womb.

The embryonic fluid that the baby lives in for nine months contains micro RNAs (Ribonucleic acid), molecules that provide communication between mother and baby. These not only contribute to the physical trait genes but also have an influence on the baby’s personality genes. 

The other factor affecting a child’s development is its upbringing. Your encouragement for self-expression and success, as well as your lifestyle and eating habits, play an important role in shaping your child’s personality and traits. What’s interesting is that children also tend to adopt your mannerisms, facial expressions, and humour.

When it comes to their interests, talents, and traits, genes are not the sole deciding factor in a baby’s development. Environment and exposure also play a major role, giving you more similarities in the future than simply eye colour.

We understand that parents naturally have a desire to raise a child that looks like them, however, genes don’t make a family. Even if your child doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t make them any less your baby, and the product of your love and nurturing.

As specified by the HFEA, we can provide non-identifiable information about your donor. This includes the colour of eyes and hair, the texture of hair, weight, height, nationality, skin complexion, basic medical history, occupation and education.

We can also tell you the donor’s age and whether she has proven fertility. However, we cannot provide a photo or demographic details about the donor.

Our donors undergo thorough screening. Our doctor and genetic counsellor will review their medical family histories and will contact the donor’s GP to confirm the information given.

Additionally, London Egg Bank has the most extensive genetic screening panel in the country for egg donors, which highly exceed regulatory requirements. We screen our donors for karyotype (chromosome test), cystic fibrosis, Alpha and Betha Thalassaemia, Sickle Cell, Tay Sachs, SMA and Fragile X.

We meet all our egg donors personally and assess their health and medical history. This helps us identify and screen out donors whose eggs could pose a health risk to you or your future child. We also make sure that the donor’s own health won’t be affected by becoming an egg donor.

Besides the clinical assessment based on personal and family history, our donors undergo an ultrasound scan and blood test to assess their ovarian reserve. They are screened for infectious diseases such as HIV, HTLV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, Trichomonas, CMV. We also use a very sensitive test (called NAT) that can detect HIV and hepatitis viruses at an early stage of infection.

We also perform the most extensive genetic screening in the UK and we screen all our donors for evidence of cystic fibrosis, Alpha and Beta Thalassaemia, Sickle Cell, Tay Sachs, SMA and Fragile X.

Genetic testing cannot be absolutely accurate. However, the tests performed significantly lower the possibility of transmitting the conditions tested for. This will not exclude the possibility of a child having a genetic or congenital anomaly, but the likelihood is lower.

It’s important to remember that the risks are no different for people having assisted conception treatment or using donated eggs.

Generally, everyone carries a gene for at least one genetic disease. What's more of a concern is if both parents have the same mutation, giving the child a 25% chance of inheriting the condition.

Before we match you to a donor, a sperm provider (either your partner or sperm donor) will have to undergo testing to see if they share any of the same genetic mutations. This is known as genetic carrier screening. If a test is negative, then the child will not inherit the genetic disease.

All donors are recruited to our clinics in London or in Cardiff. All our donors are seen by one of our doctors and receive treatment in our clinics. They are offered counselling before the start of treatment. Eggs are frozen and stored in our egg bank and are then ready for use.

We use social media, events and other advertising to engage with potential altruistic egg donors. We are overwhelmed with responses. Occasionally, fertile women interested in egg freezing offer to share half of the eggs that are collected in their own treatment cycle in exchange for treatment benefits.

We are regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). We hold a licence to practise and are inspected regularly to ensure we provide our patients with high-quality care and comply with the required legislation.

Egg donors are entitled to a maximum of £750 per donation to cover their expenses, as per HFEA regulations.

In the UK, the person giving birth to a child is always that child’s legal mother. The donor will not be the legal parent or have any obligation to any child born as a result of a donation. So the donor will not be named on the birth certificate, will not be asked to support the child financially, or have any rights over how the child will be brought up. For more information please go onto the HFEA website: www.hfea.gov.uk

Your partner will be the legal father of your child if you are having treatment with a partner who is providing sperm for fertilisation. If you are having treatment with a partner and using donor sperm, then your partner will be the legal father or second parent of your child if you are married or in a civil partnership.

If you are having treatment with a partner but you are not married or in a civil partnership and using donor sperm, then there are HFEA consent forms that you can choose to complete so that your partner can become the legal father or second parent of your child.

If you are not having treatment with a partner and are not married or in a civil partnership then you will be your child’s only legal parent.

Legal parenthood in surrogacy is slightly more complex, and the LEB team can answer any questions you may have about parenthood and surrogacy.

All egg donors are registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The law also requires us to tell the HFEA when embryos are created as well as the identity of the people who provided the eggs and sperm, the identity of any person who has an embryo transfer, and the outcome of the treatment cycle. 

All children born as a result of fertility treatment have the right to ask the HFEA whether they were born as a result of fertility treatment when they reach age 16. When a donor-conceived child is 16, they can ask the HFEA if they are related to someone they plan to marry, enter into a civil partnership or intend to have a relationship with.  

At 16, children can also ask the HFEA for non-identifying information about a donor. They can obtain a physical description of the donor; the year and country of their birth; their ethnic group; whether the donor had any children when they became a donor, and the number and sex of those children; other information the donor may have chosen to share (about their occupation, religion and interests for example); their ethnic group(s); whether the donor was adopted or donor-conceived (if they are aware of this); their marital status at the time they made their donation; details of any screening tests and their medical history; the information they have shared about their skills; their reason for donating; a goodwill message, and a description of themselves as a person (pen portrait).

At age 18 a donor-conceived child can ask the HFEA for the donor’s name, date of birth, the town or district where they were born, and their last known postal address. If a donor-conceived child has given their consent, the HFEA can also share their identity with any donor-conceived, genetically related siblings who ask for the information.

Donors can find out the number, sex and year of birth of any children conceived from their donation. They can’t find out their identity unless a donor-conceived child contacts them when they are able to do so after they reach 18.

In the UK, the eggs of a single donor can be used to create up to ten families (not including their own), but the donor has an option to restrict the number of families to fewer than ten if they wish to.

If you wanted to have treatment to conceive a brother or sister for a child conceived using donor eggs then this is possible – the sibling would count as part of your existing family, not a further family – but this is only possible if the clinic has a further stock of eggs donated by the same donor.

We would encourage you to be open with your child about their origins if you had treatment with donor eggs. Studies suggest that being open and honest can avoid the difficulties which arise when a child discovers their origins unintentionally or unexpectedly.

This is especially important because of the recent increase in the use of DNA testing and ancestry matching websites. Our counsellors can assist you and guide you in how and when to have this conversation with your child.

In UK law, egg donors must give their consent to the creation of embryos using their eggs and to the storage of any embryos. Even though embryos may be allocated to you, only the donor’s consent is relevant to decisions about the future use and storage of embryos, and donors do have the right to change their mind about donating their eggs at any time before embryos are used in treatment.

However, it is very rare for a donor to withdraw their consent and if they do, then we can continue to store embryos for a one-year “cooling off” period so that the donor has a chance to be sure about her decision before embryos have to be disposed of.

As with any pregnancy, you can prepare yourself and your body for a healthy pregnancy and give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.

You should try to get to a healthy weight, stick to good exercise and dietary habits, quit smoking and reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine. You should also take a folic acid supplement and any other vitamins your doctor might recommend.

Once the embryo has been implanted, you should try to reduce stress and get on with everyday life as much as possible until it’s time to take a pregnancy test.

Our donors offer many different reasons for their generous donation. The most common reason is a desire to help others, to give other couples the ability to build their own family which otherwise would not be possible.

Some of our donors say they were inspired to donate when a friend or family member was facing difficulties in conceiving and they could see how their donation could really help others. Others say a friend who was conceived through fertility treatment has inspired them. A small number of our donors have donated as part of their own fertility treatment, in an egg sharing arrangement.

You can find out more about some of our donors by reading their stories on our blog.

Egg availability, anonymity, safety, cost and practicalities are among the things you should consider when you are deciding where to go for treatment. Read up on your options on where to go for treatment.

Choosing an egg donor is a personal and emotional decision, dependent on the circumstances that have brought you to this point, and so our best and first advice is to take your time. Read more on how to select the right donor for you.

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