Health Articles - The Science behind Egg Donation & Egg Retrieval


by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA - Date: 2009-11-07 - Word Count: 419 Share This!

In today's world, medical science has developed so much that it gives infertile couples opportunities to have children. This is possible by a procedure called in vitro fertilization by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb, in vitro. It is the most efficient and technologically advanced method of fertility treatment in which fertile women donate their eggs to couples who cannot conceive. Genetically disordered and women beyond the fertility period may also welcome this procedure. Women, who are willing to donate their eggs, have to meet certain criteria for the egg donation process to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy. They must be in the age group of 21 to 35 years, must be a non smoker, and have no STD or other diseases. Different egg donation organizations have different criteria to meet their standards. Egg donors also have to go through certain psychological tests to qualify for the process.

  Prior to the commencement of the infertility treatment, it is mandatory to enter into a written third party reproduction agreement. Legal agreements must be drafted in such a way that the parental rights of the child is established and both the mental and physical well being of the donor must be taken into consideration. Once the legal procedures are complete, the donor becomes qualified for the medical procedure. In the ovulation process, a woman's ovaries usually release one egg per cycle. In order to retrieve multiple eggs for the in vitro fertilization process, the donor is given hormonal medications. This process is known as ovarian hyper-stimulation. Women mostly receive three classes of drugs during this period.

Serious complications of ovarian hyperstimulation are rare and a majority of donors may suffer from mild side effects and temporary menstrual like syndromes. In the egg retrieval process, an ultra sound is performed to determine the size of the egg follicles. Once the egg follicles reach a certain size, they are ready for removal from the woman's ovaries to attempt fertilization. A needle is inserted through the vagina to suction out any follicles that may be present in the ovaries. Once a viable egg is found, it will be placed in an incubator, which will later be mixed with the man's sperm for fertilization. After this process, the next step is embryo transplant.

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