What do you know about gamete donation?
These dates are a season of celebration and family togetherness as well as a time to bring cycles to a close, taking the opportunity to reflect on the year that is coming to an end in order to continually improve our lives for the upcoming new year. There is nothing that brings more hope and joy to a family than a new member, symbolizing a new opportunity in life, a new beginning, a source of hope, love and pride.
Unfortunately, not all couples are able to fulfill this dream, and this is due to various factors: poor reproductive prognosis, previous miscarriages, absence of gamete production, the possibility of transmitting either an infectious or a genetic disease, etc. Various circumstances can lead to the non-achievement of this desire despite countless efforts and assisted reproduction treatments. The ultimate solution for many couples, taking into account the Spanish legislation, is gamete donation.
For this reason, at IVI-RMA we would like to emphasize and recognize the immense work of the donors, who voluntarily and altruistically donate their reproductive cells in solidarity with others so that another couple may achieve a gestation. They are the Reyes Magos, (the Three Wise Men) of our field, since they are the anonymous transmitters of illusions that can make this long-awaited wish come true.
Sperm donors are healthy young men who have successfully passed a series of health and psychological tests.
The clinic is in charge of performing seminograms, thawing tests, general analyses, analyses of infectious diseases, genetic tests and an elaborate psychological interview.
The samples are stored in sperm banks where they are conserved at -180ºC.
In which cases would the use of donor sperm be advisable?
- Heterosexual couples with absence of sperm in all reservoirs
- Possible transmission of genetic disorders or infectious pathologies
- Repeated failures in assisted reproduction treatments
- Women without male partners or homosexual couples
Egg donors are healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35 who must pass a series of physical, health, psychological and genetic tests.
The oocytes are cryopreserved in specific banks for this purpose and housed in special units that are only used for the ovodonation program.
In what cases would egg donation be suggested?
- Woman with no ovarian function
- Primary ovarian failure
- Early ovarian failure
- Women with ovarian function
- Genetic or chromosomal alterations
- Advanced maternal age
- Repeated FIV/ICSI failures
- Surgical pathologies
The results obtained by artificial insemination with donor sperm are approximately 25 % per cycle and 70 % accumulated in 4 cycles. With IVF, 55 % per cycle.
On the other hand, the results of oocyte donation are approximately 55 % per cycle, and accumulated in 4 cycles of about 95 %.
What is the overall message that this data conveys?
You should never lose hope. Gamete donation combined with proper treatment and psychological support is very effective, increasing the chances of a newborn.
Therapy will always be essential to help the couple through the process, since there will most likely feelings of frustration and guilt. It must be remembered that the donation is 100% anonymous and a compatible donor will always be sought based on physical and psychological characteristics and blood group.
As assisted reproduction professionals, we must know how to diagnose our patients and advise the most cost-effective treatment. We must also be able to empathize with them and remind them that many of our characteristics are acquired and learned, not genetic. These include our gestures, looks, tone of voice, expressions, etc.
The family environment determines the habits, customs and values of the future baby, so the origin of one of the gametes that has conceived that individual will not affect the parent-child relationship. Bearing in mind that half of the genetic load belongs to one of the legal parents, there should also be no more phenotypical differences than those shown by chance in an individual who was conceived by both legal parents.
We must know how to counsel couples and recognize when we should not spend more effort both financially and physically and psychologically-emotionally, and consider a more favorable option to achieve our patients´ goal: a healthy newborn at home.