Facts and Questions
History of Egg Donation
Before the 1980's, the concept of egg donation was unheard of. The first medical center to announce that they had started the process was the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. More precisely, this was first accomplished in 1983 in the United States, and afterwards an Australian couple was able to successfully give birth by egg donation in 1984.
The Earlier Method of Lavage
The earliest method, or the predecessor to egg donation, was a procedure known as lavage. The physician would wait until an egg was released from the donor, and then they would use the sperm of the recipient’s male partner and inseminate the donor. Then, after waiting a suitable amount of time, a syringe would be used to wash out the fertilized egg. Of course, this did not always happen as the physician planned. In some instances, the egg did not become fertilized, or the fertilized egg was lost. The main problem with the previous lavage procedure was the fertilized egg would become implanted into the donor woman’s body, and she would become pregnant.
What Is Egg Donation?
Egg donation is just one component of the process called in vitro fertilization, where eggs are fertilized within a laboratory setting. The process of egg donation resulted when extra eggs were released from women who were undergoing in-vitro fertilization. IVF women are stimulated with medication to release extra eggs that can be collected and fertilized in the laboratory. These extra eggs were donated to other women who could not release their own eggs.
The theory behind egg donation is quite simple, and it involves one woman donating her healthy egg to another woman, who is unable to produce her own eggs. The egg is fertilized by the partner of the woman who will receive the egg. In some cases, the egg has to be fertilized by donated sperm. Fertilization occurs within the laboratory, and then the fertilized egg is implanted into the womb of the woman who will carry it to term. Using this method, a woman who is not able to produce eggs, or has lost her ovaries, can still give birth.
The Reasons for Egg Donation
There are various reasons for a couple to undergo egg donation. Firstly, the woman’s ovaries might have been infected in the past, rendering her unable to produce eggs. Another common reason for lack of egg release is the early onset of menopause in some women, or women who have already entered menopause and want to have children. This is because a woman who has completely entered menopause is unable to ovulate and release an egg. Egg donation is also an option for a woman who has a birth defect, in which her ovaries are missing, or in the case of cancer, her ovaries had to be removed. It is also an option for same-sex couples that would like to be parents.
In the last few years, the popularity of a child conceived by this method has also tremendously increased. There is a large risk that the baby can receive a genetic disease from its mother, or a genetic disease after the genes of both parents are combined.