Third-party reproduction refers to the involvement of someone other than the couple that plans to raise the child. It involves the use of eggs, sperms, or embryos that have been donated by a third person (donor) to enable an infertile couple to become parents. Gestational surrogacy in which the pregnancy is carried by someone other than the intended parent(s) is also a form of third party reproduction.
Why it’s Done
Egg Donation – For women who are unable to use their own eggs, due to a variety of conditions like
Absent or poorly developed ovaries.
Premature ovarian failure and menopause.
Risk of transmitting genetic diseases.
Due to fertility problems resulting from chemotherapy, surgery or illness.
Women who have had IVF where poor egg quality was found on repeated cycles of treatment.
Women with advanced age and poor ovarian reserve-In cases where the male partner is sterile (azoospermia), very low sperm count or when there is a risk of transmission of some genetic disease.
Surrogacy– Surrogate is a woman who agrees to become pregnant and carry the baby to term and hand over the baby to the biological parents after giving birth. For women who cannot carry the baby for themselves because of varying conditions like.
Congenitally absent or surgically removed uterus
Small or abnormal uterus.
Repeated implantation failure or miscarriage, repeated IVF failure.
Any risk to life associated with pregnancy.
How You Prepare
Most common sources for an egg donor, sperm donor and surrogate is through ART banks and agencies. Donors are matched according to recipient couple criteria in terms of education, background, physical characteristics and blood grouping. Donors are examined for physical fitness. Screening for infectious diseases and thalassemia profile is done on a routine basis before recruiting a donor. An agreement is made between the donor and the agency. Donor identity is usually kept anonymous.
For egg donation stimulation of the donor is done with injections and simultaneously recipient women are started on medication for preparing the uterus for embryo transfer. After three to five days of egg retrieval from the donor embryo transfer is done in recipient uterus.
The semen sample is usually kept under quarantine period of 6months in ART bank and screened for HIV, HBsAg, VDRL, HCV, cytomegalovirus. Semen sample from the donor can be used either for IUI (Artificial insemination donor) or IVF depending upon the clinical scenario.
Surrogacy can be done with your own egg, with donor egg, with frozen embryos or with donor eggs and sperms.
What you can expect
The process of finding an egg donor/ surrogate requires time and careful consideration. Few months may be required for finding a suitable donor/ surrogate mother. Once the donor/ surrogate is finalized both the parties need to sign a contract and settle financial aspects. The intending couple also is required to sign the consent forms for willingness to undergo donor IVF/ surrogacy program.
Results/ Post Proceduret
A pregnancy test is done after 14days of IUI with donor semen sample or after embryo transfer through donor IVF program. Surrogates stay in the home centres managed by the agencies till the time of delivery. Their pregnancies are supervised throughout the antenatal period.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the live birth rate for donor egg IVF is 55.9 percent for fresh embryo transfer and 40.2 percent for frozen embryo transfer.
What Are the Risks?
For the intended mother, the primary risk of donor egg IVF is conceiving multiple pregnancies. To reduce the risk, as few embryos as possible should be transferred. Discuss with your doctor about whether single embryo transfer may be best for your situation.
Otherwise, there is no known risk associated with third-party involvement except for the rare possibility of transmitting certain genetic conditions.