Egg donation is an effective way to overcome infertility when a donated egg is healthier than eggs from your ovary. Once Intended Parents have made the decision to move to egg donation, they need to know more about their potential donors. Progeny, a fertility benefits company, outlines the importance of donor screening.
Screening for Egg Donors refers to the way Egg Donation Agencies, IVF Centers, Third Party Reproductive Lawyers, and Surrogacy Agencies evaluates potential donors to be sure their eggs will offer a safe alternative for family building.
The Importance of Egg Donor Screening
Donors are screened to:
- Prevent passing infectious diseases to the recipient
- Minimize the chances of passing genetic disease or defect to the child
- Ensure the psychological and emotional stability of the donor
- Ensure the donor’s dedication and health throughout the donation process.
The donor should undergo a thorough medical and family history along with a genetic screening, to rule out any hereditary diseases (such as having a family history of cancer, heart disease, mental illness, etc.) or genetic abnormalities (such as being a genetic carrier for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, etc.) that could affect the offspring.
Medical screening typically begins with a fertility evaluation to verify the capacity of the donor’s ovaries to produce eggs. This usually consists of a physical exam, pelvic exam, ultrasound, and blood tests to check for hormone levels.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs the donation of tissue, including eggs in the US. The FDA requires certain infectious disease testing, and that the donor is screened for lifestyle factors that could present risk to the recipient of the donor eggs.
The FDA does not allow any physician discretion in ordering and interpreting donor eligibility tests. Anonymous donors must pass all of the FDA required tests to be eligible to donate. Directed egg donors (those that are known to the intended parents prior to the donation process) may still donate, as long as the physician and recipient feel that no risk is posed from the donation.
While in the past, genetic tests were offered for specific genetic disorders for which the couple is at risk, today’s genetic tests are available based on diseases that can be tested and are most prevalent. They are no longer offered based on ethnicity, but their interpretation and accuracy may take ethnicity into account.
Current technology does not allow evaluation of the entire genetic code of a donor. The panels that are available minimize the risk of transmitting a genetic disease, but do not eliminate the risk. For this reason, the sperm source is tested when an egg donor is screened. Similarly, the egg source is screened when donor sperm is used. A thorough understanding of the risk of transmission of a genetic disease can be performed by consulting with a genetic counselor.
All prospective donors undergo a complete psychological examination to identify emotional problems, evaluate donor motivations, and verify the donor understands the physical, psychological, and legal risks that could result from donation. Additionally, donors are assessed for psychosocial aspects of their past and current life’s circumstances.
In order to move forward in the egg donation process, all donors must be psychologically cleared. Psychological clearance is required to protect the well-being of the unborn baby and the well-being of the intended parents. The same also goes for an egg donor but is additionally inclusive of what the donor carries genetically since the biological components are used.
At EDI, we know the decision to use an egg donor is not an easy one. Our entire team, along with licensed counselors in therapeutic support, specializing in fertility, will work with your IVF clinic and physician to provide you with the information and support you need when growing your family.
Story Source: This article originally appeared on Progeny’s website.