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Egg donation or gamete donation is a medical procedure which involves the collection of healthy eggs or oocytes from a fertile donor and using them to help other women to conceive. It is a very advanced procedure that has brought about a revolution in assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Causes of diminished ovarian reserve

Every woman is born with a limited reserve of eggs which is in billions and after attaining puberty these eggs are lost along with the menstrual blood on a monthly basis. By the time a woman reaches her mid 40’s, all the eggs get exhausted and she attains menopause. In some cases, however, the eggs may get exhausted before time, leading to infertility.

The egg reserves of a woman can get diminished before time owing to the following reasons:

  • Excessive smoking
  • Genetic abnormalities 
  • Aggressive therapies and the use of certain medicines.
  • Removal of ovaries.
  • Hormonal problems like PCOD

Extracting the eggs

Before extracting the eggs, it is very important to prepare the donor. In some cases, the donor needs to take some medicines to stop their normal cycles. A series of fertility drugs are given that stimulate the ovaries to produce a large number of eggs. This procedure is known as hyperstimulation. During this, the donor is at a slightly higher risk of becoming pregnant. Hence, it is better to avoid sexual intercourse or use a condom. 
The donor will have to undergo frequent tests and screenings to monitor their overall health.

Right before the extraction, the donor is given an injection and the eggs are removed from her ovaries by transvaginal ovarian aspiration. The procedure which lasts for about 30 to 40 minutes is carried out under the influence of painkillers, sedatives or anaesthesia.

What happens after donation?

The eggs are extracted as an outpatient procedure which means that they do not need to get admitted. However, it is important to take rest for some days, until you completely recover from transvaginal ovarian aspiration. Some women completely recover within a day or two.

Criteria for donor

There are certain eligibility criteria that cannot be overlooked while looking for a donor. 

  • The donor should be between 21 to 35 years of age.
  • The donor should be tested negative for chronic diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.
  • The donor should be physically as well as mentally sound. 

In order to make sure that a woman is eligible to donate her eggs, she would have to undergo certain formalities. These include;

  • Written or online application
  • Interview 
  • Physical screening
  • Blood tests
  • Drug test
  • Ultrasound
  • A Brief study of medical history
  • Infectious disease screening
  • Inherited disease screening.
     

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