Lots of women are unable to have a child because they either have no eggs, or they have been unable to become pregnant because of poor egg quality or advanced age. Their only option is to source donor eggs – in Australia this is very difficult, because there are very very few egg donors available.
The World Egg Bank sources eggs from altruistic donors (women who donate their eggs for free) in the United States, imports the frozen eggs into Australia, and makes them available to couples wishing to have a baby.
The eggs are thawed in the laboratory then fertilised. Usually they are fertilised by the male partner’s sperm, but donor sperm can be used also. Once fertilised, the embryos are grown in the laboratory for between three and five days, at which point one of them is placed in the recipient’s uterus. There, hopefully, it implants in the woman’s uterus and leads to pregnancy.
Can I choose the egg donor?
Yes, you get to choose the egg donor yourself from The World Egg Bank database. You will be given photos of the donors and all of their non-identifying information, including a detailed family medical history, to allow you to choose an appropriate donor. The donors come from all sorts of backgrounds and circumstances, and may be, for example, Caucasian, African American or Asian, they may be married or single, may have children or may have never been pregnant. They are all young, aged between 21 and 29 years.
Are the egg donors screened for medical conditions?
All World Egg Bank donors available to Monash IVF have been rigorously screened for a wide range of known infectious diseases, psychiatric disorders and family medical history. All donors must have had the same screening tests that are performed on women having IVF treatment in Australia. The eggs are also quarantined for 6 months to ensure that infectious diseases are less likely to be transmitted.
Can I have more than one baby from the same donor?
Yes, you may request the same donor to donate to you again, so that potentially a biological sibling for your child is possible. However, the donor may not agree to donate again.
Does the World Egg Bank comply with Victorian law?
All World Egg Bank donors are thoroughly counselled, in the same way as recipients, to comply with Australian and Victorian legislation. They are required to have signed consent forms that allow them to be contacted in the future by children (after turning 18 years) who may be born as a result of their donation, in accordance with the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008.