The use of someone else’s eggs to achieve pregnancy. The donor is usually anonymous but can be known. The eggs might be fresh (collected and immediately fertilized and transferred) or frozen (collected and frozen for later use).
The female reproductive cell, also called an oocyte. Medically an egg is called an Oocyte.
Egg Donor (ED)
Also known as oocyte or ovum donation, is a process that enables a woman to donate her eggs to another woman who is not able to produce viable eggs on her own, or for couples or individuals in which there is no egg provider. Types of donors include:
Altruistic Donor: Men and women who give their sperm or eggs without needing treatment themselves. In the UK they may receive expenses but not payment.
Anonymous Donor: Donor to whom a donor conceived child or their parents has no right to identifying information. Some non-identifying information may be available. Most of our donors are anonymous.
Egg Share Donor: Egg share donors agree to share their eggs with one or two women.
Identifiable Donor: Donor who is anonymous to the recipient at the time of donation but is willing to be known to the child from age 18.
ID Release Donor: Donor whose identity will be made available at a specified time to the recipient and/or offspring
Known Donor: Donor whose identity is known at the time of donation.
Egg Freezing vs. Embryo Freezing
The egg freezing procedure and the embryo freezing procedure both start the same basic way: with hormone medication, injected over for 8–12 days, that stimulates the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are collected from the ovaries and frozen to a temperature so low that all activity within the cell—including aging—pauses, freezing them in time
During embryo freezing, the eggs are fertilized using IVF before they are frozen, and develop, over a period of several days, into embryos.
A procedure to collect the eggs contained in the ovarian follicles.
Egg Sharing (Split or Shared Cycles)
Egg sharing involves a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or an egg freezing procedure who then shares some of the eggs retrieved with another individual in need of eggs to achieve pregnancy. The woman who shares her eggs (the sharer) usually receives the IVF treatment or egg freezing procedure for free or at a reduced cost, while the other individual (the recipient) gets the donor eggs required to attempt achieving pregnancy through IVF.
Egg sharing differs from conventional egg donation in that both the donor and recipient are provided an opportunity to have a baby.
The process of cryopreserving your eggs to stop the biological clock, so they can be used in the future. An advancement in egg freezing technology, uses a flash-freezing. With its ultra-rapid freezing process and use of cryoprotectants, egg vitrification prohibits the formation of damaging ice crystals, thus sealing the egg in a glass-like protection.
The earliest stages of development of a baby from the point of conception to the eighth week of pregnancy. An embryo begins its growth as a single cell, and then divides every 12-24 hours. By Day 3, it is about 4-8 cells, and is referred to as a multicell embryo. During the early growth of the multicell embryo, all of the energy and chemicals required for cell division come from the mother’s egg. By Day 5, the embryo, now called a blastocyst, is about 70-100 cells.
During IVF, the embryos are cultured for up to six days and receive quality grades each day
- Germinal vesicle (GV): The egg has not begun meiosis yet, so it is considered immature.
- Metaphase I (MI): The egg is in the first phase of meiosis; however, it is still not completely mature because it has not entered the second phase of meiosis. This kind of immature egg may mature after a couple of hours of temperature-controlled incubation.
- Metaphase II (MII): The egg is in the second phase of meiosis and is mature. Eggs at this stage of maturity are ready for fertilization.
Embryo Transfer (ET)
Placement of embryos into a woman’s uterus through the cervix after in vitro fertilization (see also fresh embryo transfer or frozen embryo transfer)
Escrow Account/Fund Management
A financial account the intended parent establishes to disperse funds that will be used to pay egg donor expenses.
In 2010, California bill 2426 was signed into law, specifying how funds for surrogacy and egg donation must be managed in the state. California Family Code Section 7961 now requires that client funds for these types of assisted reproduction must be deposited into one of two specific accounts:
(1) An independent, bonded escrow depository maintained by a licensed, independent, bonded escrow company.
(2) A trust account maintained by an attorney.
The surrogacy, egg donation agency, or fertility treatment facility should inform clients about their two options and direct them to deposit funds there for retrieval during the fertility process.
Our agency will inform the escrow agency/fertility attorney how much is to be distributed according to the contract that is drawn up between an egg donor and the intended parents.
Client-trust accounts held by attorneys are regulated by the California State Bar, to which each attorney is accountable. In addition, the California State Bar has created the Client Security Fund, which protects clients against financial losses from dishonest conduct. Law firms have no financial interest in holding accounts for clients; no interest earned off the account may be appropriated by an attorney
Estradiol Level (E2)
The amount of estradiol, a form of estrogen, in the blood. It is produced by the follicle where the egg is growing for that month. The mature follicle (the egg right before ovulation) produces about 200-300 pg/ml of estradiol.
The penetration of the egg by the sperm and the resulting combining of genetic material that develops into an embryo.
An attorney with experience in third-party fertility contracts and parental establishment procedures. This is a specialized area of law where the egg donor contracts are legal, written agreements between the intended parents and the egg donor that state the rights and obligations of both parties throughout the arrangement. They might include such specifications as future contact, travel expenses, timelines for retrieval, anonymity preferences, privacy considerations, or any number of other provisions based on the unique case.
Fertility Clinic/IVF Clinic
IVF Clinic or Fertility Clinic is the location where all of the IVF medical procedures will be completed. The IVF clinic is chosen by the Intended Parents based on the physician they have chosen to work with.
A structure in the ovaries that contains a developing egg. A woman’s eggs develop inside fluid-filled cysts (sacs) inside the ovaries, called follicles. During a natural menstrual cycle in which no fertility drugs are taken, several follicles begin to enlarge around the time when the woman is having her period.
However, over the course of the next few weeks, only one of these follicles develops to maturity, ruptures, and releases its egg during the process of ovulation. The other follicles that had begun to develop stop growing and degenerate (dissolve), therefore, only a small percentage of eggs present in the ovaries are ever ovulated during the woman’s reproductive life span. We can “rescue” follicles and eggs that would otherwise degenerate by giving shots of fertility drugs which contain FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).
When the follicles are ready for egg retrieval — generally after eight to 14 days — injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (Pregnyl, Ovidrel) or other medications can help the eggs mature.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Levels
A hormone released by the pituitary gland. FSH stimulates the growth of follicles and has a role in the maturation of oocytes. The measurement of FSH levels in the blood is one of the most widely used tests to assess a woman’s ovarian function and is typically taken on day 2 or 3 of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH)
FSH helps a woman produce more than one egg per cycle for the purpose of egg retrieval. It is taken once a day for nearly 10 days. Clomid is a common FSH.
Fresh Embryo Transfer
A fresh embryo transfer is the transfer of a newly formed embryo during an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle into a uterus without prior freezing of the embryo. A fresh embryo transfer does not need rigorous hormonal treatment to prepare the uterus for implantation.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
A frozen embryo transfer (FET) is procedure where embryos that were cryogenically stored (frozen) from a previous IVF or donor egg cycle are a thawed and transferred to a uterus as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.
Genetic Carrier Screening/Testing
A carrier screen is a genetic (DNA) blood test that investigates whether you have (“carry”) recessive gene changes – also called mutations – that could cause certain serious genetic diseases in your children. Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. In carrier screening your DNA is tested for mutations in a certain number of disease genes. The results can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. While carrier tests will not identify all carriers of all genetic diseases, many carriers will be identified such as: cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, hemoglobinopathies, Tay-Sachs disease, and others depending on your ancestry. Expanded carrier screening refers to testing for a large number (generally 100 or more) genetic conditions simultaneously on one test.
This screening is also part of two very different but complementary genetic screening strategies for egg donors: (1) genetic carrier screening, and (2) genetic summary or assessment of the donor’s family history (see below).