Assisted reproduction treatments are often performed using the woman's egg and her partner's sperm. But if there are severe problems with the egg or sperm, donated eggs/sperm can be used to treat infertility. In this article, we explore the procedure, merits, and disadvantages of using donor eggs and answer some of your questions about egg donation in Iran.
What Is Egg Donation?
In the first step of the egg donation process, the couple or intended parents are asked to choose the donor from several options. It is better to choose a person who looks like the intended mother regarding appearance characteristics such as skin colour, eye colour, etc. Once the donor is determined, she takes ovulation stimulants to produce more eggs. In the next step, the eggs are collected and fertilized with the male sperm in the laboratory during retrieval. The resulting embryo(s) are then transferred to the mother's uterus.
Why Choose Iran for Egg Donation?
Since Iran is an Islamic country, many Muslim couples prefer to choose an Iranian donor to help them with their fertility problem. Also, numerous experienced fertility physicians in Iran perform and observe egg donation operations in well-equipped clinics. Last but not least, the cost of egg donation in Iran is almost $4,000, while in the U.S., it is nearly $10,000. Altogether, Iran is a proper destination for donating or getting an egg, especially for Muslims and patients who have tried other fertility treatments many times.
Cost of IVF with Donor Egg in Iran
The cost of IVF with donor eggs in Iran depends on the facilities of the fertility hospital, required medications, pre- and post-operation tests, the donor’s medical and psychological evaluations, egg donor compensation, and the reputation of the fertility doctor. On average, the cost of IVF with egg donation in Iran ranges between 4,000 to 5,000 USD.
Egg Donation Timeline in Iran
The egg donation procedure involves five steps which are mentioned the following:
Finding a donor: fertility clinics have the personal and medical records of both egg donors and recipients. So, the infertile couple can choose the donor that matches them the best.
Evaluation: once the donor and recipients have matched, both parties should take several medical and psychological tests to ensure that the baby is physically and mentally healthy.
Making a contract: if the evaluations are satisfactory and the doctor approves the health condition of the donor and the recipients, they should make a legal contract.
Preparing for the process: in this phase, the donor and female partner should take hormonal medications to prepare their bodies for donating and receiving the egg(s).
Starting the procedure: the donor takes ovulation induction drugs to produce more mature eggs. During this step, the doctor will repeatedly monitor the donor with ultrasound and blood tests to ensure she responds to the medications as expected.
Best Candidates for Using Donor Egg in Iran
There are numerous terms for donating eggs, such as being between the age of 21 to 35, not having life-threatening diseases, having a clear medical history, not having STDs and genetic disorders, etc.
On the other hand, the female recipients who use donor eggs usually have one of the following problems:
- Being between the age of 35 to 45;
- Not being able to conceive naturally;
- Having premature menopause;
- Having lost both ovaries due to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or trauma;
- Congenital absence of ovaries (ovarian agenesis);
- Not responding well to ovulation induction drugs and ART techniques such as IVF and ICSI in the past;
- Having low ovarian reserve;
- Poor quality of eggs;
- Having genetic disorders;
- Having a history of repeated miscarriages.
IVF Egg Retrieval: Process
First, the egg donor should take medications that stop the normal menstrual cycle. Then, a series of drugs are injected intramuscularly to prepare the ovaries for producing multiple eggs. The specialist uses ultrasound and a special suctioning needle to remove the eggs.
Usually, the egg retrieval process, also known as follicular aspiration, takes half an hour, so it is an outpatient procedure, and the egg donor can go home after the operation. After the surgery, some women need to rest for a few days, but they can return to everyday life very soon.
It is noteworthy that egg donors should not have sex during the egg donation procedure. In the case of having sex, they have to use a method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Also, the donors should take frequent blood tests to detect AIDS, hepatitis, and drug addiction. Physical examinations and ultrasounds are also necessary before the egg donation period.
IVF with Donor Egg: Procedure
Before starting the IVF procedure with a donor egg, the doctor checks the health condition of the donor as well as the physical characteristics of both parties to find the most similar egg donor for the infertile couple. Factors such as skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, and body structure of the donor and recipients should be reviewed before using donated eggs for IVF. Afterwards, the procedure of IVF with a donor egg begins:
- Menstrual cycle synchronization: for IVF with a donor egg, the doctor prescribes hormonal medications for both the donor and the recipient to synchronize their menstrual cycles. By doing so, the recipient's uterus gets ready in time to receive the embryo. Interestingly, synchronization is only done when the infertile couple wants to use a fresh embryo, so if you intend to use a frozen embryo, synchronization is not needed.
- Ovulation stimulation: after performing transvaginal ultrasound, the egg donor should take ovulation induction drugs to produce more eggs in each cycle. Most of these drugs should be taken for ten days and contain gonadotropins.
- Egg retrieval: when the follicles have reached the proper size, the doctor sets an appointment and removes the mature follicles from the donor's ovaries. This procedure is done vaginally and with the help of ultrasound imaging and a special needle. The male partner should provide a semen sample to the IVF lab on the same day.
- Blood and sperm tests: in this step, laboratory technicians separate healthy and motile sperm to use in IVF procedures. Also, the doctor asks the male partner, the egg donor, and the egg recipient to take a blood test to ensure their blood types are compatible.
- In vitro fertilization and embryo transfer: finally, the donated egg is fertilized with the sperm of the recipient's partner in the laboratory. After fertilization, the egg must remain in the laboratory for about 3 to 5 days to multiply its cells and become a blastocyst. When the embryo and the mother's uterus are ready, the embryo is transferred into the womb with a narrow tube.
Disadvantages of Using Donor Egg
Generally, using donor eggs doesn’t have a severe disadvantage. However, there may be some cons, such as:
- The procedure is stressful;
- High blood pressure in pregnancy;
- Genital infection;
- Premature delivery;
- Severe stomachache after embryo transfer; and
- Severe nausea and vomiting.
Getting Pregnant by Donated Egg in Iran
Couples who want to use donor eggs in Iran should consult a fertility and IVF specialist. Since egg donation is a complicated procedure, they must consider all aspects, including psychological, psychological, legal, etc.
Before transferring the embryo to the uterus, the egg receiver should take medications such as birth control pills to postpone ovulation. After a few weeks, the doctor will check her uterine wall to see if she is ready for pregnancy. Then, three to five days after fertilizing an egg with sperm, the doctor inserts one or two embryos into her uterus.
Success Rate of Pregnancy with Donor Egg in Iran
The success rate of pregnancy with a donated egg depends on the embryo's quality, the donor's age and the number of embryos transferred. The success rate with fresh donated eggs is about 50%, while the success rate with frozen eggs is more than 40%. Also, remember that using donor eggs and transferring more than one embryo to the uterus can increase the chance of having multiple pregnancies. 40% of cases where donor eggs are used lead to multiple pregnancies.
I Want to Get Fertility Treatment with Donor Egg in Iran; what’s Next?
To arrange your trip to Iran for fertility treatment with a donor egg or sperm, contact Raadina Team. Raadina Co. can provide you with the best fertility packages, including accommodation, transfer, medical visa, and legal documents for using donor egg/sperm. Also, if you need an appointment with a fertility doctor or a medical lab, our experienced team can help you book one.
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FAQs about Egg Donation in Iran
1) Is egg donation invasive?
Yes. Egg donation is an invasive procedure with some risks and side effects; however, most donors will recover from the complications of egg donation soon after egg retrieval.
2) Is egg donation painful?
Not at all. Egg donation is made under anesthesia so that you won’t feel any pain during and after it.
3) Does egg donation affect future fertility?
So far, no investigation has confirmed the relationship between egg donation and infertility. As a result, you will not have any problem getting pregnant after egg donation.
4) Does the use of donated eggs cause weight gain?
During the egg donation process, the donor takes hormonal medications and ovulation induction drugs, all of which cause accumulation of fluid in ovaries and bloating. Thereby, the egg donor will receive a temporary gain of several lbs. But, after the first menstrual cycle, the ovaries will shrink, and the donor will lose the gained weight without much effort.
5) Can donor eggs be used in surrogacy?
Yes. Women over 45 who don’t have mature eggs and those incapable of carrying the child in their uterus due to genetic and congenital disorders can use this method. In surrogacy with a donor egg, the egg is fertilized in the laboratory through the IVF method, and then, the resulting embryo is transferred into the surrogate’s womb.