What is egg donation?
Some women are unable to produce eggs, so an egg donor can be used during IVF treatment. The process involves removing eggs from a donor’s ovary, fertilising them In Vitro and implanting them back into the uterus of the woman who will mother the child. The procedure is quite complex as hormonal drugs have to be used to stimulate the donor’s egg production and the eggs have to be collected by surgical techniques. For this reason donor eggs are hard to come by especially since the laws on anonymity are changing. A ‘known’ donor like a friend or relative can donate eggs, or an unknown donor can donate.
There are contentious issues which surround egg donation, such as the woman carrying, giving birth and bringing up a child who was conceived with their partner’s sperm and a donor’s egg. The child may also want to trace his or her ‘donor’ parent later in life.
Other controversial situations have arisen recently, such as a mother donating her eggs and freezing them for her daughter (who is under ten) because her daughter suffers from a disease where she is unable to have children when she is older. This would mean that the daughter gives birth to her half sister one day.
Woman may also want to donate eggs before they undergo treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy which will destroy the eggs in her body. This means that after the treatment if she wants to become pregnant she can use the frozen eggs.