Donor cycles involve receiving a donated egg or sperm, although the majority of donor cycles are just for donated eggs. It was chiefly for women with primary ovarian failure and men with azoospermia, although now more couples are seeking donor transfers after repeated failed IVF cycles, especially for women over 40 as a last chance option. Some of the women I see in my clinic opt for egg sharing programs where an infertile couple that canít afford IVF donate half of their eggs to the other infertile couple that pay for both cycles.
Quite a few of my patients come to me wanting to try the donor route. This is usually after trying for several years and having undergone repeated failed IVF cycles. In Europe, Spain is the biggest supplier of donated eggs. This is because there is anonymity in Spain allowing for a large number of high quality female donors willing to sell their eggs. It is best to receive donor eggs from a woman less than 30 years of age, although this doesnít always guarantee good quality eggs and a successful donor cycle. Some IVF clinics will only offer donor cycles to women over 43.
This route isnít for everyone as the child will not be biologically the womanís but can still be the manís if his sperm is used. The procedure is a lot simpler and less physically stressful than standard IVF. Women are generally put on the contraceptive pill to align their cycles with a potential donor. Once a donor is found that matches the characteristics requested, i.e. brown hair and brown eyes, then the woman will stop taking the contraceptive pill and attends the clinic. The transfer can all be done within a short break of a day or two. This is because the protocol is straight forwarded; some clinics may use estrogen to thicken the lining and then give progesterone to maintain it until the pregnancy test.
Generally with donor cycles there is very little advanced testing done beforehand, for example immune testing or an endometrial receptibility test. Itís simply put the fertility embryo back in and see. If it fails, try again. Scans and blood tests are still needed before the donor is found.
Even though a donor cycle has a higher success rate than an IVF cycle, itís still important to prep the body beforehand with an optimized diet and lifestyle and have regular sessions of acupuncture and the taking of Chinese herbs. Fertility is three parts, getting pregnant, maintaining the pregnancy and breast-feeding. Itís advisable to prep for some months prior to starting a donor cycle. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs should be continued after the transfer and if successful should be carried on throughout pregnancy. This is because women that have to go through the donor cycle route tend to suffer from poor health and will need constant support to ensure a trouble free pregnancy.
Please note that I do not offer this product or service. This page is for information purposes only. I do however offer acupuncture to assist with the donor process.