Many women who decide to create their family with the assistance of an egg (ocyte) donor wonder who is the donor as a person, and what physical and psychological characteristics will she transmit to his/her child. People who need an egg donor are unable to use their own eggs and pass along their own genetic characteristics to the child, and it is often difficult for them to imagine carrying or parenting a child with unknown genes.
IP’s will go to great lengths to ensure their knowledge of their donor’s history by working with donors who are relatives, a close friend or a person they trust and view as a family member. However, in many countries the law requires that the egg donor is anonymous.
For instance in Spain, donation is anonymous and knowing your donor is not an option. Therefore, it is important to find a well-respected, trustworthy fertility center that has an proven egg donation in Spain program. It is essential to work with a clinic that provides appropriate screening and genetic testing for all donors is
An effective and successful egg donation program depends on several factors:
- The availability of donors in the population,
- The donor’s health (illnesses and other various infectious diseases; genetic diseases tested with Recombine Test), The clinic should be discounting some applicants if their family health history is not good or if they are carrying infectious diseases
- the quality of oocytes – This factor can sometimes be attributed to the egg donor, other times the clinic and sometimes the sperm once fertilization has occurred.
- A donor management and selection program that will provide the IP with answers to all their questions while maintaining the anonymity of the donor.
A strong egg donation program in Spain such as IVF- SPAIN consists of four simple steps:
1. Legal Requirements:
According to Spanish law, the donor must not only possess similar characteristics of the mother, but also the father, ensuring that their future children will have similarities to their parents. Although experts recommend informing children about the origin of their conception before adolescence, we find that until them this similarity provides them with the sense of belonging.
2. Patience Preference
This step is known as “phenotypic selection”, because patients usually choose physical characteristics known as phenotype similar to theirs: hair color, eyes, skin, face shape or body mass ratio. Although intelligence is not strictly genetic, many patients feel more secure if the donor can demonstrate a certain level of education or a favorable social and cultural environment.
After these first two steps, there are approximately 20 candidates that match the patient’s description, chosen from a pool of 400-500 donors. Among these 20 candidates, 2-4 are selected. This is done by comparing the criteria marked by the patients, with donor’s information and photos. This step is critical as it can inform the parent on what issues the donor may have and if there is reason for concern. The parents are not privy to the photos and full questionnaires, but alerted to key characteristics (height, hair and eye color, heatlh issues, etc.)This job is realized by doctors and the oocyte donation specialist’s team; at IVF-Spain, we have improved this work thanks to a selection of donors algorithm.
3. Genetic Matching
IVF-SPAIN is also offering a revolutionary possibility for parents using egg donors wishing to screen out or at least identify genetic diseases that can be passed along to their child, plus help match donors who share genetic similarities with the mother. This process is known as Recombine Preconceptions Genetic Testing. This test is used to identify more than 180 monogenic diseases in patients and donors. This test is used within health checks which are made to ensure donor’s oocytes optimal health.. This has the benefit of supplying the IP’s with objective information about the donor while maintining donor anonymity.
4. Matching Process
This is the 4th step in our matching process. In most casees there are 2 to 4 donors who fit the requirments of the parents. The best match is going to be stimulated(according to preference of the patient) to produce oocytes in the same time frame in which the pregnancy treatment takes place, so that when the patient is ready, there are also oocytes available for fertilization. This phase is very important because the quality of the donors treatment will determine the quality of their oocytes, so IVF-SPAIN doctors and technicians work at this stage is the key.
Author: Dr. Jon Aizpurua, gyneacologist and general director of IVF Spain.