The first pregnancy achieved with egg donation was reported in 1984. Since that time, there has been increasing use of egg donation to help infertile couples/individuals conceive. Egg donors are identified, and through the process of IVF, eggs are obtained from the donor’s ovaries and donated to the intended recipient. Sperm obtained from the recipient’s partner is used to fertilize these eggs, and embryos are transferred into the recipient’s uterus. If pregnancy occurs, the recipient will have a biological but not genetic relationship to the child; her partner (if he provided the sperm) will be both biologically and genetically related.
Egg donation initially was intended for women with ovarian failure. Typically, women were prematurely menopausal as a result of disease, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgical removal of their ovaries. Egg donation is appropriate for women who were born without ovaries. Due to the success of the procedure, as well as the improvements in IVF technology, these indications have been expanded. Egg donation may be offered to women who are to be affected by or be the carrier of a significant genetic disease who would prefer not to pass this disease on to her offspring. This indication includes women who appear to have an egg factor as the cause of their infertility often is candidates for egg donation. In many instances, this includes women with multiple failures to conceive after IVF, women of advanced reproductive age, and women with inadequate response to ovulation induction.