IVF with donor embryos
IVF with donor embryos means the use of an embryo that is genetically alien to both the mother and the father. This technology is the only alternative for a successful pregnancy for some couples.
This protocol is more easily tolerated by a woman from a medical point of view. It does not require induction of superovulation and procedure of ovocyte retrieval. At the same time, the woman is undergoing standard IVF examination and minimal hormonal effects for the endometrium preparation.
Indications for IVF with donor embryos
- The inability to obtain high-quality ovocytes and sperm cells from both partners.
- The inability to obtain ovocytes from a single woman who decided to perform the IVF.
- The presence of genetic diseases.
- Several unsuccessful attempts of IVF in the past due to the poor embryos quality.
Features of donor embryos retrieval
“Fresh” and cryopreserved embryos can be used for transfer.
In the first case is performed the selection of ovocyte and sperm donors. Then, the menstrual cycles of the donor and the patient are synchronized. After the donor superovulation, the ovocytes are retrieved from the donor and fertilized by the defrosted male donor sperm. After the cultivation stage, the specified number of embryos is placed in the uterine of the patient. Usually it is one, maximum two embryos. Currently, this technology is used less and less often due to specific risks associated with hormonal problems during the synchronization phase.
The preference is given to the second option — obtaining embryos using vitrified ovocytes. Modern cryopreservation methods minimize the damage caused by the low temperature effects on the germ cells, and keep them in proper quality. When using embryos from vitrified ovocytes, the recipient does not need to “synchronize” the menstrual cycle with a female donor.
In addition, a couple may consider using vitrified embryos from a pair that has already successfully passed the IVF procedure. Usually, several good quality embryos can be retrieved within one procedure. They remain unclaimed and stored frozen. With the written consent of the donor-couple, they can be transferred to recipients, of course, in a completely anonymous condition.
In addition, in clinics there are donating embryos programs, when couples initially donate their unclaimed embryos to the clinic and do not pretend to their further use. In this case, a couple, where a man is not older than 45 years old, and a woman is not over 35, without significant physical defects, can become a donor.
In any case, using donor material, the couple is provided with information about donor’s appearance, age and nationality. The data from medical genetic counseling may also be provided.
Will the embryo be viable?
The method of embryo transfer to the non-biological mother is a well-established procedure that has been used for a long time as part of assisted reproductive technologies. A woman undergoes only the stage of endometrium preparing for implantation. After that, the embryo is transferred into the uterine using an intracervical catheter. The cost of such protocol is lower than the standard IVF, because all expensive steps have been already passed.