Partner-to-partner Egg Donation

Partner-to-partner Egg Donation

In response to lesbian couples each wanting a part in the creation of their family, the Fertility Institute offers partner-to-partner egg donation. You can choose to do partner-to-partner egg donation with anonymous sperm, or with directed sperm donation.

In this scenario the partner donating her eggs goes through an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.

What is Involved in an IVF Cycle?

1Stage 1: Ovarian Stimulation
The first phase of IVF is controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) to stimulate a woman’s ovaries into preparing more than one egg. Whereas IUI only involves a few eggs released for potential fertilization, IVF involves the production of multiple eggs, and leads to better odds for successful conception.

Controlled hormonal ovarian stimulation results in the development of several follicles, which are fluid-filled sacs that contain the maturing eggs. We carefully monitor the process, using blood tests to measure hormone levels, and ultrasounds of the ovaries to assess maturation of the growing follicles. Based on these results, we adjust the doses of medication as necessary. Commonly used injectable medications include Gonal-F®, Follistim®, Bravelle®, and Menopur®.

While one partner is undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation to produce multiple eggs (the egg donor), the partner intending to carry the baby (the egg recipient) is taking oral medications to prepare her uterus for embryo implantation.

2Stage 2: The Egg Retrieval Phase
When ultrasound and blood tests indicate that the eggs are near optimal maturity, we will instructed you to administer an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). This “trigger shot” activates the final maturation of the eggs.

Approximately 36 hours after the hCG injection is administered, egg retrieval occurs. Using ultrasound guidance to help us identify the follicles containing the eggs, your doctor inserts a thin needle through the vaginal wall and guides it into the follicles, gently removing the mature eggs, one at a time.

Egg retrieval is done here at the Fertility Institute in our state-of-the-art procedure room, usually with the patient under conscious sedation or light anesthesia. The entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes. The patient does not feel or remember anything, and is able to breathe comfortably, on her own, during the procedure.

3Stage 3: Fertilization and Embryo Culture
As soon as each egg is retrieved, it is placed in a special culture medium in the lab. Several hours later, the eggs are inseminated with your selected donor sperm, or directed donor sperm. In vitro embryo development is carefully monitored by our embryology team within the Fertility Institute’s embryology laboratory. Successful fertilization of the eggs can be seen under a high-powered microscope on the day following egg retrieval.

4Stage 4: Embryo Transfer

After the early embryos have developed In vitro for several days in one of our state-of-the-art incubators in the embryology laboratory, they are ready to be placed into the uterus of the partner designated to conceive, in a procedure called the embryo transfer.

The embryo transfer procedure is painless and does not involve any needles or sharp instruments. The embryo (or embryos) is (are) loaded into a long, thin, soft tube called a catheter which is then threaded through the natural opening of the woman’s cervix and guided, via ultrasound, to a spot near the top of her uterus. Once the soft tip of the catheter reaches its intended destination, the embryo is gently deposited in the appropriate location, determined by your physician.

The embryo transfer procedure is performed in the procedure room here at the Fertility Institute, and takes approximately 10 minutes.

Additional testing options: PGD/PGS

Another option for couples undergoing IVF is to conduct genetic testing of the embryos via preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). PGS screens for abnormal embryos and PGD screens for specific genetic diseases, if the egg donation partner is a known carrier of a specific genetic disease. More information on these optional procedures can be found on our PGD/PGS page here.