is Embryo Donation?
This procedure is similar to egg
donation. However, instead of borrowing the egg
and using the recipients husband's sperm for fertilization,
both the egg and the sperms are derived from donors.
Who can opt for embryo donation?
All the patients who are eligible for egg donation can also
be eligible for embryo donation. In egg donation, there are
the problems of getting patients to donate their eggs. Furthermore
it is a relatively costly procedure, as compared to embryo
donation. Embryo donation also yields the highest pregnancy
rate-as high as 30-40%. Hence if the couple has no objection
in using donor sperm, it is a preferred method of choice!
What is the source of Embryo Donation?
In our program there are many young patients who need IVF
/ ICSI procedure, but who cannot afford it. These patients
produce lot of eggs and hence many embryos.
After taking proper informed consent of these patients,
some of the extra embryos are used for the recipients. In
return, the costs of the drugs of the younger patient are
borne by the recipient. This embryo sharing is beneficial
for both the patients.
Alternatively, when we perform IVF,
young women often produce many eggs, and therefore, many embryos.
The best quality embryos are transferred into the womb. The
extra embryos can be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen
at (minus)-196 0C. If the patient gets
pregnant and do not want more children, they often agree to
donate their embryos to other infertile couples, to help them
to start a family.
Of course there is voluntary donation by family, friends or
altruistic individuals. However this is rare.
What is the pregnancy rate with embryo donation?
The pregnancy rate in our clinic is 30-40% per cycle. The
reason for the high pregnancy rate is two fold. Firstly, these
are often excellent quality embryos. Also, since we prepare
the Endometrium using hormones, the uterine receptivity to
these embryos is usually very good.
How is Embryo Donation performed?
This is similar to egg donation. In patients who are menstruating
(having their periods) the hormonal control of the cycle is
taken over by starting GnRh
Analogue Injection such as Suprefact, Lupride or Nasaral spray
starting from 21st day of previous cycle. Once the patient
gets her period, Estradiol Valerate tablets( Progynova 2 mg)
is started from the 2nd day of period. On the 10th day an
ultrasound is done to assess the receptivity of the Endometrium
by measuring its thickness.
An Endometrial thickness of more than 9mm is good for pregnancy.
Once this is achieved, one can wait to obtain good quality
embryos, to place back into the womb. It is important to note
that with this regime, one can wait for as many as 35 days
after starting Progynova, for an embryo transfer. The procedure
is non-surgical, and there is no risk involved.
In case of menopausal woman, who have stopped having periods,
cyclical hormones are given for 3-6 months till the time the
patient starts having her periods. After that the procedure
is the same, starting with Progynova tablets from the second
day of period. In these women, there is no need to give GnRh
analogues such as Suprefact, as the hormonal control has been
naturally shut of.
What about confidentiality of the procedure?
In our clinic, embryo donation is totally anonymous, unless
it done by a friend or relative of the recipient. There is
no contact between the donating couple and the recipients,
who never see each other. There are no records maintained
about the origin and the ultimate resting place of the embryos.
How is this procedure different from
adopting a child?
Unlike traditional adoption, the couple undergoes a medical
rather than a legal procedure to have a baby. For infertile
couples, embryo donation offers a great opportunity to be
pregnant, to bond with their child prior to birth, and to
give birth. In addition, embryo donation may be much more
affordable than traditional adoption in countries such as
the US. In India younger couples are given preference for
adoption. Couples more than 45 years of age have a very poor
chance of adopting a baby. Embryo donation also offers couples
privacy and secrecy, so that they do not need to worry about
societal acceptance of their adopted child. Also in India,
certain groups such as Christians and Muslims cannot adopt.
Embryo donation is the only solution to these patients.
Isn't this just similar to surrogacy?
In surrogacy, another woman accepts the embryos of a couple
and carries the pregnancy for the benefit of the infertile
couple. In contrast in embryo donation, the infertile couple
carries the embryos of another couple and ultimately delivers
the child that they will parent.
Will the child be normal and what
will he look like?
The incidence of abnormal child, miscarriage
and other mishaps, is the same as that of natural pregnancy.
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The embryos for adoption are normally derived from parents
of Indian origin. The children born are generally healthy,
with black hair, black eyes, and brown skin-akin to a normal