IVF (In vitro fertilization) may be performed with a couple’s own eggs and sperm or with donor eggs, sperm, or both. A couple may choose to use a donor if there is a problem with their own sperm or eggs, or if they have a genetic disease that could be passed on to a child. The donor program is always anonymous.
In all cases, the donor sperm is obtained from an independent sperm/ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) bank. Sperm donors undergo extensive medical and genetic screening, as well as testing for infectious diseases. Donor sperm is frozen and quarantined for six months, the donor is re-tested for infectious diseases including the AIDS virus, and the sperms are only released for use, if all tests are negative. The donor sperm may be used for insemination or in an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) cycle. Unlike intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycles, the use of frozen sperm in IVF (In vitro fertilization) cycles does not lower the chance of pregnancy.
Donor eggs are obtained from anonymous donors through independent ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) banks.
Egg donors undergo much of the same medical and genetic screening as sperm donors. Until recently, it has not been possible to freeze and quarantine eggs like sperm. The egg donor profile may be chosen by the infertile couple directly from an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) bank. Egg donation is more complex than sperm donation and is done as part of an IVF (In vitro fertilization) procedure. The egg donor must undergo ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. During this time, the recipient (the woman who will receive the eggs after they are fertilized) receives hormonal medications to prepare her uterus for implantation. After the retrieval, the donor’s eggs are fertilized by sperm from the recipient’s partner and transferred to the recipient’s uterus. The recipient will not be genetically related to the child, but she is a biologic parent in the sense that she will carry the pregnancy and give birth. Egg donation is expensive because donor selection, screening, and treatment add additional costs to the IVF (In vitro fertilization) procedure. However, the relatively high live birth rate for egg donation provides many couples with their best chance for success.