Procedure and medication

Donor egg treatment involves three people: the egg donor, the egg recipient and the person who provides the sperm to fertilise the donor’s eggs. This could be your husband or partner, or a sperm donor.

We welcome all women under the age of 51 whether married, in relationship or single. All of our egg donors are women under the age of 30, who have at least one child of their own. Donors undergo thorough medical screening and provide AVA-Peter with a detailed medical history of their own and their families (parents, siblings, children) as well as with their photos as a child and also as an adult. If you prefer to bring your own donor (such as a relative or friend), we can also work in this way too.

Egg Donor Choice

We offer you the unique opportunity to choose an egg donor from our extensive Egg Donor Data Base — THE ONLY ONE IN EUROPE! Alternatively, if you prefer, a donor can be matched to you by AVA-Peter Clinic according to your basic physical characteristics.

 

Synchronising the menstrual cycles

Both the egg donor and the egg recipient need to be at the start of their menstrual cycles in order to start egg donation treatment. So the first step is to synchronise the two menstrual cycles. Even if you no longer have a menstrual cycle, or do not have a regular menstrual cycle, we can induce it to begin at the right time. This is done by prescribing hormonal tablets to the donor and the recipient according to the agreed schedule. Sometime recipients need several ‘probe’ cycles to encourage the uterine lining to grow before starting the Embryo Transfer cycle. The tablets are finished on the same date by both the donor and the recipient, leading to a ‘withdrawal bleed’ (menstruation) in both women. Both of you are now ready to start your treatment. If you are using frozen eggs there will be no requirement for you to be synchronised with the donor and the treatment can be performed in your natural cycle, for more information please request a free non obliging telephone consultation.

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The egg donor’s treatment

Once the egg donor's period begins, she has an ultrasound examination (a scan of the uterus and the ovaries) to make sure the ovaries are inactive and the uterine lining is thin. Your egg donor then takes medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce eggs. After a few days, she has another scan before using another medication to suppress her own hormonal activity and prevent the premature release of egg cells. One or two more scans will be performed during the course of the treatment to monitor the growth of the follicles in her ovaries and the effect of the hormone dosage. After about 10 days, she takes an additional hormone to make the eggs ready for collection. Egg collection is performed by aspirating the eggs from the follicles using a needle introduced into the ovary via the vagina. The process is carried out under general anaesthetic to make it painless for the donor. Your donor is personal to you and you will receive all the eggs that are collected. Your donor then rests for a while to allow the effects of the anaesthetic to wear off, and takes it easy for the rest of the day. Her task is now over, and her next period will arrive in about 10 days’ time.

The egg recipient’s treatment

It is of great importance to diagnose underlying problems that may possibly reduce your chances of success. Our primary task is to help you solve them efficiently so that you can progress to successful embryo transfer as soon as possible. 

Egg recipients (women who need donor eggs to get pregnant) may or may not still have a menstrual cycle. Whether or not you do, you will usually be asked to take hormonal tablets for a certain number of days and then stop. This should result in a ‘withdrawal bleed’ or period. Sometimes more than one ‘probe cycle’ is required to ensure that your uterine lining grows well in response to the medication. Your AVA-Peter doctor will write this into your individual treatment plan. You may also have one or sometimes more injections of a ‘down-regulating’ drug to prevent premature ovulation and shifting of ‘implantation window’ - ensure optimal synchronisation with your donor. In most cases, you will then have a scan to check that the lining of your womb is thin and that there are no cysts before starting the treatment cycle. (Donor eggs are of course very precious, and your AVA-Peter doctor will want to ensure your uterus is in the best possible condition to receive them.) This involves taking oestrogen tablets, patches and/or cream to build up your womb lining again. Five days before the planned date for Embryo Transfer, you start taking progesterone in addition to oestrogen. This is normally in the form of vaginal progesterone pessaries or cream.

The male partner

The donor’s eggs may be fertilised either by fresh or thawed sperm on the day of egg collection. If your husband or partner provides sperm on your first visit to our clinic in St Petersburg, this can be frozen and then thawed on the day of egg collection this will shorten the embryo transfer visit. We advise the male partner not to ejaculate (during sexual intercourse or through masturbation) for 2-5 days before leaving his sample for either freezing or fertilisation. Sperm collection can be done at a private room in our clinic or in your own hotel room. We need to receive the pot containing the sperm within an hour of ejaculation and the sperm needs to be kept at room temperature during the transportation time.

Fertilisation and embryo transfer

The donor eggs collected are fertilised with the sperm of the male partner or a donor. They are grown in our laboratory for five days. During this time, they continue to divide and develop. At five days old, embryos are known as blastocysts. By this stage, our expert embryologists can determine which are the most promising and most viable embryos. On the day of embryo transfer, one or two of the best embryos are transferred through the cervical canal into the egg recipient’s uterus using a thin, soft plastic catheter. This procedure is usually quick and painless.

In IVF or ICSI cycles with fresh donor eggs we usually transfer one fresh embryo (one superior quality blastocyst) and freeze the remaining good quality embryos. If fresh embryo transfer does not work we usually transfer two frozen embryos. Still the final decision on whether one or two embryos should be transferred is taken by the patients on the basis of our recommendation. Our recommendation is based on the patient’s medical situation and embryo quality.

In 2013 the clinical pregnancy rates in fresh donor egg cycles were 54,0% per one fresh embryo transfer and 48,8% per frozen embryo transfer.

Our recommendation to transfer only one fresh embryo if the quality is superior is based on the following facts:

  • Transfer of two fresh embryos increase your chances insignificantly in comparison to one(clinical pregnancy rates after transfer of two fresh embryos were 61% in 2013)
  • Transfer of two fresh embryos results in 40% twinning rates
  • Twin pregnancies are known to have complications in mother and children  5-6 times  more often than singleton pregnancies

Treatment after embryo transfer

After the embryo transfer, you continue taking oestrogen and progesterone medication for two weeks and then take a pregnancy test. This can be a blood test or a urine test. If the test is positive, you should have a scan to confirm the pregnancy two weeks later. If a ‘foetal pole’ is seen on the scan (this looks like a grain of rice within the foetal sac), this provides clinical confirmation of your pregnancy. Both medications should be continued until the 12th week of pregnancy, and then you continue taking only the progesterone until you are 30 weeks pregnant.

Understand why donor egg pregnancies are so special

Please inform us of your pregnancy test result as soon as possible as we are very much looking forward to hearing your news! If you are pregnant, we would like to be kept informed of your progress and we hope that everything progresses smoothly, if however there should be any complications in the first trimester our patients are informed in advance of what to do >>>

If your pregnancy test is negative, it is sadly very unlikely that you are pregnant. Some patients of course prefer to continue their medication and take another test a few days later. If you have another negative result, the hormone medication can be discontinued.

And if this time things have not worked out as you would have hoped, we will do our best to offer you the help and advice you need.

As with all pregnancies, assisted pregnancies involve a small risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, foetal development defects, and later complications during pregnancy and delivery. The risk of miscarriage after egg donation at AVA-Peter is no higher than in women in their twenties that use their own eggs. This is because we use high quality donor eggs from young healthy egg donors, recommend you highly efficient hormone support and have very high standards of communication so as to prevent rather than cure any complications.

Pay one — get two embryo transfers!

Having questions? Ask our doctors now!

A blog by Tone Bråten family counsellor

A blog — to help you on your journey to become parents!

Our patients tell their stories



  • Willeke and Mario from Netherlands come to AVA-Peter for egg donation treatment… Enjoy this touching and sincere documentary by Jorien van Nes