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Egg Donation

Last Updated on Sep 18, 2020
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About Egg Donation

The term 'Egg Donation' is commonly used to refer to the contribution of her eggs by a woman to another, who is incapable of producing her own. Recently, the term has evolved to also encompass the donation of eggs for research.


Egg donation began as a noble and altruistic gesture to elevate an infertile woman to achieve motherhood. However, practices in reproductive medicine and the extensive use of human eggs in stem cell research have ensured that the potential for commodification of egg donation far outweighs the nobility attached to the deed.

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) or InVitro Fertilization (IVF)is a branch of reproductive medicine that promises parenthood to childless couples. Most often infertility in a woman is the result of her malfunctioning ovaries. In some women the quality of their eggs is compromised, which prevents them from bearing a child. These women who are donees, are heavily dependant on donor eggs to realize their dream of bearing a child.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) is a technology that uses unfertilized human eggs to produce patient-specific embryonic stem cell lines. Under this method, the human egg is enucleated and the nucleus of an adult cell is introduced into the cytoplasm of the egg. This is then induced to grow and multiply. The resulting cells harbor an infinite potency to regenerate and grow into any cell type. This method is mainly employed in therapeutic stem cell research, to find cures for innumerable diseases.


A Fertilized Human Egg

This article aims to discuss briefly the processes involved in egg donation and to touch upon the medical, legal and ethical issues associated with it.

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The concept of egg donation risk is always relevant for egg donors and recipients of these donor eggs. The world is becoming more ethical and people do not want to embark on any thing which will pose potential harm to a person willing to do good.

For donors, their fertility is not adversely impacted. The period on hormone treatment is for a minimal period and egg donors are carefully assessed during this short period to ascertain whether the medication should be increased or lowered in accordance with her body's response to the stimulation.

In the event that a woman experiences some challenges with conception or fertility later in life after the donor program, it is not likely a consequence to this. Examples include uterine or tubal problems. The screening process for a program requires review of the ovaries, not necessarily the entire reproductive system. Also, sperm plays a role.

The actual retrieval of the eggs is a vaginal process undertaken either under sedation or general anaesthetic. This is also not a risky process. Donor eggs retrieval or harvesting is not an operation, rather an extraction of the eggs from the follicles of the ovaries. This does not involve any cutting or scarring of the ovarian tissue.

After this program, the ovaries will appear slightly different, but not unnatural, just like they have been stimulated. Egg donors are encouraged to remain in contact with the medical practitioner in the event of any concerns.

There is no increased risk for a person receiving eggs. There is extensive screening for people who donate on all levels - by the agency, social level and medical review.


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