Using donor eggs

The decision to use donor eggs often comes after a long fertility journey that may include multiple failed treatment cycles.

At the Lister Fertility Clinic, we run a dedicated egg donation programme that is one of the longest running and most successful in the UK with 50% of couples achieving a livebirth from a single donation between 2012-2015.

As such, we are aware of the emotional strain that infertility places on most couples and in particular the issues that surround egg donation. The dedicated egg donation team, whose key members have worked in the Lister Fertility Clinic for many years, allow us to provide the continuity of care, friendly but professional environment and support that we feel is essential to your experience. This is supported by our team of counsellors.

Who needs egg donation?

Several categories of women may require egg donation - these include women who still menstruate and have normal ovarian function, as well as women whose ovaries no longer function normally who may have gone through the menopause. Egg Donation may be an option for women who have no ovaries or had them removed, have had cancer treatment which have damaged the ovaries, are post- menopausal or producing too few or poor quality eggs, have tried to conceive unsuccessfully using fertility drugs or IVF, have had several recurrent miscarriages or have a high risk of passing on a serious inherited disorder.

How do you find me a suitable donor?

Our egg donation team screens a constant flow of new egg sharers and donors each month. Once a potential recipient of an egg donation has registered on our waiting list, they can email or call the team at any point. Our current waiting list is approximately 3 months long. The team works hard to find a match for donor recipients, based on their preferences and provides patients with the maximum amount of information allowed under the HFEA guidelines. Recipients are not penalised for declining a match. For those who decide UK donation is not for them, we also liaise with several top-rated overseas clinics.

How much information do I receive about my donor?

All information we can give you is non-identifying and you may ask for this information at any point. We try to match donor and recipient physical characteristics as closely as possible; however, we advise that the results of this cannot be guaranteed.

Recipients will be told the following information:

  • Age
  • eye colour
  • hair colour
  • body type
  • ethnicity
  • skin tone
  • height
  • BMI <30
  • educational background
  • profession
  • hobbies
  • relevant medical history and allergies.

Can I recruit my own egg donor?

The Lister Fertility Clinic team understands that many people prefer known donors (family member or friend), or one-to-one donation, and have streamlined the process to ensure that patients with their own donors can start treatment as soon as possible.

A recipient of an egg donation may have a friend or family member who is happy to donate to someone else on the waiting list (rather than directly to the recipient), thus enabling the recipient to bypass the waiting list.

A recipient of an egg donation can also utilise an advertising pack to build their own bespoke advertisement or poster with our marketing team to recruit their own donor.

The Lister Fertility Clinic also works with Altrui, a private donor recruitment company.

How does the treatment process work?

Preparation for treatment for both the donor is run in parallel. The donating woman will receive fertility drugs (similar to those given to women undergoing IVF) in order to enhance her egg production while the recipient receives Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to prepare her uterus for the transfer and hopefully a pregnancy. Once the eggs are collected form the donating woman they are fertilised using sperm from the recipient's partner (or donor sperm). After fertilisation has occurred, one or two embryos are placed into the recipient woman's uterus.

Will the treatment be anonymous?

Yes, unless using a known donor, neither egg donor nor egg recipient will meet. However, information about the donor will be held at the central register with the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA). At the age of 18 a person born as a result of sperm, egg or embryo donation will have access to identifying information about their donor. This will not apply to donation treatment received before 1 April 2005.

The only information the donor may access is whether somebody has been successful using their own eggs.

Will I have counselling?

You will be seen by a counsellor on your first visit to discuss the ethical, legal and social aspects of using donor eggs. The Lister Fertility Clinic offers additional support via the "Open Door" to counselling i.e. free counselling before, during and after treatment.

What support is available?

If you have any questions before, during or after your donation, please feel free to call The Lister Fertility Clinic team, who will be glad to help. As well as the counseling team we recommend the Donor Conception network (a parent-led and child-centred organisation based on mutual support) and the Daisy Network (a support group for women suffering from premature ovarian insufficiency).

General enquiries

The Lister Fertility Clinic
The Lister Hospital
Chelsea Bridge Road
London SW1W 8RH

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