Donors may come to the clinic in one of two ways. "Clinic recruited" woman may have seen advertising and offered to be a donor for a coupe on the clinic list. These donors will be over 21 years old with an upper age limit determined by each clinic - this may be around age 36. Some couples choose to do their own advertising via a clinic to ensure they have first choice of any respondents. Alternatively , couples bring their own donor to the clinic. This is often a faster way of accessing donor treatment. It is possible for personal donors to be older than the clinic determined limit as long as donors and recipients accept the issues involved.
Woman whose ovaries have stopped producing eggs ( ovarian failure ), produce poor quality eggs, or woman who do not have ovaries will require donor eggs to achieve a pregnancy. Donor eggs may also be used by woman with genetic disorders that may affect a child. Woman who have had treatment ,such as chemotherapy, which stops then functioning of their ovaries, may also need donor eggs.
In New Zealand, donors are expected to be available for the donor children, or their families, if they need information. The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (HART Act) 2004 created a central register of offspring and their donors. At 18 years of age ( or younger in certain circumstances ) the offspring can access details of their donor if they wish, and should be able to locate them. Clinics suggest some counselling support for the offspring and their donors to help make the meeting successful. In New Zealand, egg donation must not be commercial, so no payment may be made to the donor. However, most clinics charge a compensation fee which is paid directly to the donor ( around $1700 per cycle ) to help reimburse expenses such as travel. This is expected to reimburse costs of transport to the clinic for treatment, time off work, pre-pregnancy vitamins, , and childcare if required during egg collection. This will be discussed with donors by the clinic prior to starting the IVF cycle.
Using donor eggs
Egg donation can offer people an opportunity to experience the pregnancy and birth of a child they will raise. Some people will feel more comfortable using someone they know as a donor ( family member of friend ). For others, it is better to use a previously unknown donor. Many people do not know anyone they feel they could ask to be a donor. The counsellors will help you sort out what is best for you and your future child. The recipient(s) will work closely with the doctor, counsellor and nurse at the clinic to consider all the implications of treatment. The children created by the treatment will need to know their genetic information at some stage. It is important that the recipient(s) have thought through all aspects so they can feel confident about their decision. While the donor is undergoing her IVF cycle , the recipient woman has her cycle matched so that the embryo's are able to be put back into an optimal environment in the uterus. The male of the couple (sperm donor) will need to provide sperm to fertilize the eggs. The clinic will guide you both to make this the best possible situation.
You may feel the need to thank your donor in some formal way. This is usually not their expectation but they will probably appreciate your recognition of the time, emotion and energy they have invested in the process. Some people buy flowers or a small gift.
There is usually a waitlist for clinic recruited egg donors in New Zealand, this may be up to 12 months.
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When couples make the decision to have a child they develop dreams and expectations about this child. Being faced with the reality that they will not be able to have a child that is fully genetically their own means they have to re shape their dreams and expectations. If you have experienced miscarriages, you may feel a sense of guilt or betrayal of those pregnancies that were lost. Recipient mothers may worry about developing a bond with the child, and also that the child will love, recognize and bond with them as a mother, perhaps compared with their father who has a genetic link. Parents may also be concerned on an ongoing basis about the emotional impact to their child of being conceived via a donated egg.
Both donors and recipients may be concerned with the level of contact expected by the other party. It is advisable to discuss these issues ( if not already covered by the counselling ) thoroughly. Some days along the egg donation journey may be particularly challenging. For example, egg collection day may feel like a formal closure on the recipient mothers fertility journey with mixed emotions of grief and of joy at the prospect of a pregnancy.
Be prepared for questions from well-meaning friends/family or outsider around physical resemblance or lack of. Endeavour to be confident in your choices and the way you plan to parent you child(ren).
Being a donor
There are important issues to be considered prior to being a donor. When you first ring the clinic to express an interest you will be sent information about some of the issues and the process of IVF. If you decide to investigate further, appointments will be made for you with a doctor, counsellor, and nurse. These appointments will provide you with the opportunity to consider all aspects of being a donor, and allow the clinic to check that being a donor will not be detrimental effect on you. There are a number of screening tests for you to complete. these will ensure you are in the good health necessary to be a donor. There is a period of "quarantine" before your donation is used. This allows you to complete all the clinic procedures and also gives you time to reflect on your decision.
If you are a clinic donor, you will provide eggs for one recipient couple. Staff at the clinic will work with you to help you describe the sort of people you wish to donate to. You will see their profile prior to beginning the treatment. Sometimes donors and recipients choose to meet at the clinic in a non identifying way. While this is reduces your confidentiality it also helps you feel comfortable about the couple you are donating to. Being a donor requires having an IVF cycle. The goal of IVF is to use drugs to stimulate your ovaries over a period of approximately 2-4 weeks to produce a number of eggs. You will be taught by the nurse to administer the daily injections used to stimulate the growth of the eggs. Staff will ensure you understand the risks associated with IVF ( see "Making Babies With Help" for more information ). The eggs are collected and fertilized in the laboratory with the recipients man's sperm. After egg collection the clinic will monitor your well being to ensure your body settles down after the IVF cycle.
Watch FNZ's video on Egg Donation here