Generally, it takes a while for patients who opt for egg donation to assume that this treatment is their only chance of having children. They need to go through a process of acceptance on a psychological and emotional level.
But the truth is that nowadays, motherhood transcends biology. The fact that our child does not carry our DNA does not mean that it is not our own, or that our character will not show through them. In the same way, this does not diminish our value as mothers. Egg donation only implies that another woman is going to help us achieve the pregnancy that we are not able to achieve by ourselves.
Some of the most frequent questions from mothers who are planning to start an egg donation treatment have to do with the donor: How is the girl who will donate her eggs look like? Which tests will she go through? How are the donors selected? Will my baby look like me?
The first thing you should know is that Spain has one of the best regulated and open assisted reproduction laws in Europe. The Spanish legal framework guarantees confidentiality and obliges cross anonymity in egg donation: the donor will not be able to know the identity of the future parents, just as these will not be able to know the identity of the donor.
The assignation of each donor is done by the fertility clinic (through a multidisciplinary team of doctors and nurses) where the assisted reproduction treatment will be performed. Candidates for a donation must meet certain requirements:
- Be over 18 and under 35 years of age
- Be in good physical and mental health
- Have no personal history of genetic or metabolic abnormalities
- Not be in a disadvantaged social situation
- Not be an adopted child.
After a gynecological visit, a blood analysis is carried out to assess their health. A complete psychotechnical interview will be also performed in addition to the medical check-up. All the data will appear in your donor’s file. Details such as their ethnicity, blood group, and physical characteristics are also included. Once all the results are obtained and the medical team has given their approval, the donor becomes part of the donation program.
In addition, all donors undergo a genetic compatibility test (called HERES) to identify any recessive mutations they may carry.
How is the selection made?
When a woman or couple undertake an egg donation treatment, the physical characteristics of the recipient are taken into account (height, weight, eye color, hair colour and texture, skin colour and facial features). In addition, the woman usually provides a photo of her face and whole body from when she was between 20 and 30 years of age. All of this is necessary to ensure that the physical features of the donor resemble those of the recipient as much as possible.
A compatible blood group is also assigned so that the newborn's blood group matches the combination of those of his future parents. Also, possible genetic mutations between the donor and the recipient's partner are analyzed in order to avoid rare diseases in the baby.
It is not uncommon for women to ask about the educational level, hobbies, or intellectual level of the donors. In this sense, it should be clarified that education, intellectual and educational level, beliefs or likes and dislikes are not considered determining factors. It will be the environment, education and interactions with their social circle that influence such characteristics of the child.
How is the procedure done?
Once the patient has started with the medication for the endometrial preparation, the selected donor will also initiate stimulation. On the day of the donor's follicular puncture (when the eggs are retrieved), the recipient's partner must leave a sperm sample at the clinic. If needed, bank sperm will be used
At this point, and if everything has gone well, the fertilization of the oocytes is carried out in the laboratory; once the embryos reach blastocyst stage (day 5 or 6 of embryo life) the transfer will take place. For this, the endometrium of the recipient must have thickened up to at least 6 millimeters and the ovaries must be at rest. If not, the embryos will be vitrified and transferred when the recipient is ready again