In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproduction that is performed in a laboratory.
The IVF process requires the female to produce eggs that can be retrieved and fertilized in the lab.
When viable eggs cannot be produced and ovulated the best hope for a couple to create a genetically related child is to use donor eggs.
Ovarian function naturally declines with aging but can also occur prematurely. Some women’s eggs will not fertilize for unknown reasons. It is also possible for a woman to be born with non-functioning ovaries or absent eggs (rare).
Egg donors undergo stimulation with ovulation-inducing drugs to cause the development of multiple follicles (eggs).
Once the follicles mature, the eggs are withdrawn transvaginally and combined with the male partner’s sperm as in the standard IVF procedure.
Once the embryos mature, they are transferred to the recipient mother. She undergoes hormonal therapy to “synchronize” her uterus with the donor’s cycle and prepare her endometrium to accept the embryo.
The resultant child will have the genetic makeup of the father and the egg donor.
Egg donors undergo extensive physical and psychological screening and are most often in their twenties. They receive compensation for their time and inconvenience.