For some people, the opportunity to use donated eggs and sperm presents their only chance to have a baby. Although the medical procedures involved are relatively straightforward, there’s the potential for many complex legal and emotional issues on all sides that need to be carefully considered before you make the decision to go ahead with this treatment option.
All donors at Hollywood Fertility Centre must be known to the recipients, and must undergo counselling and screening as to ensure the parties are physically and emotionally equipped.
There are many reasons why you might need to use eggs donated by another woman to have children. You may have experienced premature menopause, perhaps your ovaries were affected by chemotherapy or a serious illness or maybe testing after recurrent failed IVF cycles shows your egg quality is poor and unlikely to lead to a baby.
The decision to use donor eggs or to become a donor is a complex one, with lifelong implications. At Hollywood Fertility Centre we acknowledge and respect that all participants presenting for this treatment have their own unique circumstances and needs. Due to the intense hormone treatment required to collect eggs, egg donation is a serious step for anyone to consider.
We recommend that egg donors ideally be under 35 years of age and have already completed their families. This is so that in the rare event of a complication occurring it does not jeopardise the donor’s own chances of having a family; and secondly, to ensure that her desire to become a mother has already been met. You will need to be aware that there are certain circumstances where Hollywood Fertility Centre will not be able to provide treatment. These are:
In every other situation, it is up to the treating doctor to determine, in consultation with you, if the donor participants are suitable for your treatment. Hollywood Fertility Centre counsellors and nurses are not gatekeepers to treatment, but at times they may raise concerns or special considerations with the donor, the recipients and the treating doctor.
Egg donation is an extremely generous act from one person (the donor) to another (the recipient). In Australia, it is illegal to pay someone to be an egg or sperm donor. They voluntarily give their own gametes for the wellbeing and happiness of another person.
Donor sperm might be your best opportunity of having a baby if the male partner in the relationship has no sperm of his own, if you’re in a same-sex relationship or if you’re a single woman.
Sperm donors are required to be over 18 years of age and younger than 40. Donors over 40 may be eligible in exceptional circumstances and following exploration of potential risks within the donor and recipients.
Please refer to the Western Australian eligibility criteria at www.rtc.org.au
When you have found a donor you and your partner are happy with, the next step is for your donor to see the Hollywood Fertility Specialist. Your Fertility Specialist will spend time in private with your donor (and their partner if appropriate). If there are no obvious medical, psychological or social reasons why she or he would be unsuitable, your Hollywood Fertility Specialist will refer all of you to our counsellors.
The WA Reproductive Technology Council (WA RTC), The Reproductive Technologies Accreditation Committee (RTAC), The Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) and The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines stipulate that:
"In using gamete donations, clinicians must carefully consider the physical, psychological and social wellbeing of the person to be born and the participants, and are enforced by the Reproductive Technologies Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of the Fertility Society of Australia."
Counselling before treatment using donated gametes is required at all IVF clinics in Australia, as outlined by RTAC and the WA RTC.
Before the treatment for egg retrieval or sperm collection and IVF takes place, all the people directly involved will be required to attend counselling sessions with the Hollywood Fertility Centre counsellor, including a session with both the recipient couple, and the donor (and his or her partner if they have one) present together.
In WA, there are mandatory cooling off periods, after which you all meet with the counsellors again prior to consenting to treatment. Sperm donation is a mandatory 6 month cooling off period and egg donation is a 3 month cooling off period.
Counselling helps all parties involved in the process to understand the implications of the proposed treatment and how it will affect the donor, the recipients, the donor’s partner, their families and any children born as a result of the treatment. Educational and psychological counselling specifically covers the feelings of the non-genetic parent and the donor, and the perceptions of the needs of the offspring throughout childhood and adolescence.
Our specialised fertility counsellors are here to help you, so do not hesitate to contact us for further information at any stage of your journey.
Eggs and sperm, like most human tissues, can carry diseases. Donors will be tested for disease when they donate. However, a negative test is not conclusive, as some diseases take many months to show up in blood tests. Sperm must be quarantined for four months (usually within the six month cooling off period) before using it in insemination or IVF.
We recommend that embryos generated from egg donation are quarantined for six months prior to embryo transfer – however, you may request to waive or reduce this six months quarantine – following consultation with your specialist.
All donors need to be tested for infectious diseases before the cycle and then again at the end of the recommended quarantine period. Tests include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C.
Ask a question on fertility treatment or our clinic to our experienced Fertility Advisor.