The process of egg donation is becoming more popular with time as pregnancy success rates increase. As a result, more egg donor programs are opening every year across the globe.
This in turn causes a dilemma for the future recipient: which egg donor program is best for her and her needs? What should recipients be asking fertility clinics in order to ensure that the best medical service is provided?
Here are 5 important questions recipients should ask to find the best egg donor program for their needs:
- How are egg donors screened and chosen?
How egg donors are screened and selected can make a huge difference in the IVF process. When choosing to go through an IVF procedure, a patient should have as much information available about the donor as possible as it ensures that a healthy, fertile egg is provided.
There are no standard guidelines regarding the screening of donors, so it’s important to ask the donation program all relevant information regarding the screening process. This should help in selecting a reputable clinic with proper screening procedures for donors.
According to Invimed, egg donors should be between 21-35 years old and be tested for fertility. Thorough screening is critical to the well-being and health of the recipient, so the clinic should screen egg donors for all the following:
- Infectious diseases that could be passed on to the recipient or offspring
- Genetic diseases, defects and family background in regards to these
- Psychological and emotional stability of the donor
- Ensuring the donor’s health and dedication throughout the donation process
- Consistent medical screening including a physical exam, ultrasound, pelvis exam and blood tests.
- What tests do recipients undergo?
Before beginning the IVF procedure, a recipient should find out what tests she and her partner will need to undergo and what information should be provided. Among these should be all routine medical evaluations for any women expecting to get pregnant.
Additional tests that could be required are:
- Uterine cavity assessment
- Screening for pathogens and disorders, including sexually transmitted diseases.
- Testing of pathogens and disorders of the partner.
- Blood group and Rh factor tests to match with donors.
- If the partner is providing sperm for IVF procedure, he should receive medical evaluations as well.
Women over 45 years old may have increased difficulty in successful IVF procedures and should receive a more thorough medical evaluation which includes cardiovascular and obstetric testing.
- What additional resources are provided?
IVF treatment can be emotionally and physically challenging to both the recipient and the donor. Many fertility clinics will provide special resources to accompany both during the process.
Among these additional resources could be:
- Psychological counselling
- Support groups
- Acupuncture or massage therapy
- Financial programs or assistance
Stay informed about any non-medical support offered by the fertility clinic as it can make an impact on your wellbeing throughout the treatment.
- What records are kept?
Because there is no set standard on how records are kept at fertility clinics, the information is at the clinic’s responsibility to maintain safe and permanently. Records are a valuable medical resource and could be necessary to look through at any point in time. Because of this, records of donors and recipients should be maintained and accessible to staff on a permanent basis.
Recipients should ask what kinds of records and information are kept on donors and for how long. A basic understanding on safety nets could also be important – for example, whether there is a backup stored in a separate server in case of information being lost or destroyed.
- What is the legal contract between the recipient, donor program and donor?
Egg donation is connected to a number of legal statutes to protect both the recipients and the donors. However, laws are different from country to country or even state to state, so it’s important to be aware of local laws and they affect the procedure and stored data.
A recipient should ask about the contract that she will be signing, as well as the contract being signed by the donor. For example: is the donor required to work with only one fertility clinic at a time? Is anonymity fully protected for both the donor and recipient?
Even if certain issues are not protected by local law, it is worth checking what the clinic provides and ensures for recipients through their contract.