The decision for an egg donation is not an easy one to make. Many questions and doubts arise regarding the treatment which helps to become a mother with donated eggs. One of the most asked questions is: Can I know who my egg donor is? What information can I receive about her?
According to Spanish law, egg donation can only be carried out anonymously. Women who undergo this treatment will never be allowed to know the identity of their egg donor.
Egg donation as a common practice
Women who are unable to conceive with their own eggs find that egg donation is the last possible way to fulfil their dream to have a child. Many couples come to the different clinics of the IVF-Life group here in Spain in search of a treatment using donor eggs. Often, unfortunately, egg donation treatment is accompanied by genetic grief. The realization of having to give up their own genes in order to become a mother is not easy for everyone.
In Spain, thanks to the law that regulates assisted reproduction and guarantees the anonymity of donors, egg donation is already a common practice in spanish fertility centres. This law makes it possible to ensure that donations are safe and of high quality.
How is my egg donor selected?
At IVF-Life, the selection of donors is regulated by the Spanish law on assisted reproduction, which stipulates that the donor and the mother-to-be must share the highest possible phenotypic similarities, i.e. a very close physical resemblance. During their first visit at our clinic, a photo of the parents-to-be is taken so that their physical characteristics can be compared with those of our donors. In this way, we ensure that the perfect match is found for every patient.
However, the reason why it is not possible to predict the exact phenotype of the child is due to the following factors:
- Genes and how they interact with each other
- Environment (mother’s uterus)
The distribution of genetic characteristics depends on nature and cannot be influenced. This process is completely normal and can occur in any couple that has a child with or without the help of reproductive medicine. Therefore, characteristic features may not appear to the same extent in the child as it does in their parents (e.g. green eyes instead of blue eyes).
Parents can, however, express further requirements such as the wish to choose a donor with the same blood type, which will then be taken into account when selecting the donor.
Egg donor: Who is suitable and what test are required?
The Spanish law on assisted reproduction sets a number of requirements for donors in order to avoid the transmission of hereditary diseases.
Age plays a major role in the selection of the donor, as the quality of the eggs strongly depends on this factor. While in Spain the legal minimum age for egg donation is 18 years and the maximum age is 35 years, the average age at IVF-Life is 25 years. Through our many years of experience, we have observed that the pregnancy rate is highest using eggs from donors under the age of 30.
Furthermore, according to this law, no more than 6 children can be born from the same egg donor.
The donors are also screened for the most common diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, hepatitis, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus and syphilis to ensure that no sexually transmitted diseases are present. A genetic test and chromosomal analysis are also performed to rule out possible genetic alterations. Their muscle mass index (BMI) is also measured and must be between 18 and 25 to ensure good health.
At IVF-Life we even go one step further. All of our donors have to undergo a carrier screening panel. This preconception genetic test provides us information on more than 300 recessive monogenic diseases, allowing us to rule out the transmission of diseases such as cystic fibrosis and fragile X syndrome.
A fertility test is also part of the process. The anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), a marker that provides information about the woman’s ovarian reserve, is analysed extensively.
Finally, a psychological test is carried out, as the aim is to guarantee the donor’s health before, during and after the treatment.
Being a mother – more than just passing on DNA
Thanks to our heroines , the egg donors, many couples are finally able to fulfil their long-awaited dream to have children and become parents. We often receive messages of immense gratitude from the parents-to-be addressed at their anonymous egg donor, expressing the joy and emotions that the journey of egg donation has brought them.
But not to be forgotten is the important role of the future mothers. They have faced uncertainty, given up their own genes and placed their hope in the egg of an anonymous heroine in order to be able to fulfil their desire to become a mother. And all this effort may not be undermined. It is a big step and a hard one too, but it is all worth it.
At IVF-Life we understand that being a mother is much more than just “planting the seed”. It also implies the dedication that has to do not only with the act of creating a life, be it “naturally” or in a laboratory. Being a mother begins with pregnancy and the birth of their child. When we begin to feel the bond between mother and child in the womb, that is when we learn what “being a mother” really means.
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