This fact sheet has been written to help potential donors considering the option to donate their embryos at Life Fertility Clinic. It aims to take you step by step through the process, explain why certain things are done and answer most of the questions that commonly arise during embryo donation. We suggest you read the leaflet carefully before embarking on embryo donation and follow it during the process. If you are unclear about any aspect of the process, the medical and nursing staff at Life Fertility Clinic are always happy to answer your questions or concerns.
All donors and their partners will undergo screening blood tests, genetic testing and counselling, which are mandatory prerequisites to our embryo donor program. All aspects of treatment and legal implications will be discussed along with the donor’s feelings about donating embryos and the consequences of success or failure.
WHO NEEDS DONATED EMBRYOS?
Embryo donation now offers couples that are unable to produce or use their own eggs/ sperm the chance to become parents. They may be unable to produce or use their own eggs or sperm due to:
- Premature menopause.
- Ovarian failure due to chemotherapy and/ or radiotherapy treatment.
- Absence of the ovaries.
- Carriers of a genetic disorder.
- Poor ovarian response to hormonal stimulation.
- Recurrent poor egg quality.
- Severe male factor infertility.
- Numerous IVF failures attributed to egg and sperm problems.
CRITERIA FOR DONORS
- Donors whose embryos have been created from previous IVF treatment.
- Embryos are less than 10 years old and are stored at an IVF unit.
- Must have completed their family.
- Embryos created from a donor egg or sperm cycle cannot be donated on.
- To undergo counselling with a Life Fertility Clinic counsellor.
- To be screened for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, chromosomes, and blood group.
- Give consent to treatment and complete a medical and lifestyle questionnaire in order to rule out the possibility of an inherited condition or transmissible infection being passed on.
- To provide Life Fertility Clinic with nonidentifying and identifying details to be recorded on our donor register.
- It is illegal in Australia to receive payment for embryo donation.
It is crucial to remember that all consultations, blood test results, including assessment of the medical and lifestyle questionnaire, education and counselling sessions and consent forms must be completed by embryo donors at least two weeks prior to commencement of the treatment.
A minimum two week cooling off period is mandatory prior to commencement of treatment from the second counselling session.
HOW ARE DONORS AND RECIPIENTS MATCHED?
Clinic recruited donors.
The recipients will be given a profile of the potential donors consisting of non identifying details such as physical characteristics (hair and eye colours, heights, weights, builds, complexion, race), blood groups and careers to assist in the decision making process of whether they will accept the embryos. It is very difficult to match physical characteristics due to the limited number of embryo donors.
How are the embryos donated?
The donated embryos must be quarantined/ frozen for 6 months. At the end of this quarantine period the embryos can be thawed in the Life Fertility Clinic laboratory and donated to the recipient. The donating couple must have undertaken counselling and had blood tests cleared for HIV, HTZV, Hep B&C, syphilis and chromosomes. It is important to realise that not all embryos may survive the thaw and may be unsuitable for transfer. Whilst we do ask you to sign the consent forms before treatment commences, as an embryo donor you have the right to change or withdraw your consent any time prior to the transfer of embryo(s) into the uterus of the recipient.
Life Fertility Clinic has a register in which names and details of every embryo donor, recipient and offspring are recorded. Nonidentifying donor information is released in conjunction with the donor’s consent in a profile format to match potential recipients. However, when a child born as a result of treatment using donor embryo reaches the age of 18 years, they are entitled to obtain the donor’s identifying details by applying to Life Fertility Clinic. This register also maintains and records the number of offspring generated by embryo donors. Once ten families have been attained, embryo donation must cease. As an embryo donor you are entitled upon request to Life Fertility Clinic to obtain non-identifying information about the recipient, including the number and gender of persons born.
There are many factors to consider when deciding to become an embryo donor. An important matter is that of where you stand legally as an embryo donor. As an embryo donor you can withdraw or change your consent at any time prior to the transfer of embryo(s) into the uterus of the recipient. Once the frozen embryo transfer has taken place, the embryo belongs to the recipient. As an embryo donor you have no legal rights or responsibilities to any child born as a result of the donation.
Counselling is mandatory for embryo donors who are considering donating their embryos. The couple donating must attend a minimum of two counselling sessions. This gives the donor couple the opportunity to talk through the implications of embryo donation with a Counsellor. Counselling acts as an assessment of your suitability to donate your embryos. It also gives you time to talk through your feelings about donating your embryos and how this may affect your life, now and in the future. Most couples find it very helpful to have the opportunity to reflect upon what they are planning and appreciate being able to talk freely and in confidence about such an important and sensitive matter.
- Obtain a referral from your GP.
- Make an appointment for your consultation with a Life Fertility Clinic Doctor.
- Couple to attend a mandatory one hour education session with a Nurse Coordinator.
- Couple to attend counselling sessions with Life Fertility Clinic Counsellor to discuss the implications of donating embryos.
- Couple to attend blood screening tests, complete medical and lifestyle questionnaire, and consent forms.
- Embryos donated with matched recipient.
The Donor Conception Support Group of Australia Inc.
PO Box 554
Seven Hills NSW 1730
Phone: (02) 96245110
The Donor Conception Support Group of Australia Inc. is a self-funding organisation run by volunteers and has been in existence since 1993. The membership is made up of people considering or using donor sperm, egg or embryos, those who already have children conceived on donor programs, adult donor offspring and donors.
The Donor Conception Support Group provides support, help and research assistance with:
- A bi-monthly newsletter.
- Information nights for donors (past and potential), donor recipient families, donor conceived offspring and other interested parties.
- A library with a collection of books and articles on infertility and donor issues available to members, as well as audio and video tapes. These can be borrowed at meetings and social days, or arrangements can be made to send the books to you in the mail.
- Personal stories Ð read how others have coped and dealt with donor related issues.
- Telephone contacts for personal support.
- Consumer advocacy on issues relating to donor recipients and offspring.
- Social days and activities for everyone.
PO Box 6769
Silverwater NSW 2128
Phone: 1800 888 896
Fax: (02) 97370245
Access is a consumer based, independent, non-profit organisation committed to being a national voice in promoting the wellbeing and welfare of infertile people of all ages.
Special services provided: provision of a range of fact sheets about infertility, a quarterly newsletter, a register of Australian regional infertility self help groups and a list of accredited infertility clinics. Access serves 5,000 members around Australia and internationally.
CONTACT LIFE FERTILITY CLINIC
The friendly and professional team at Life Fertility Clinic are eager to assist and answer any questions regarding our donor embryo program.
For more information or queries regarding any of the services offered at Life Fertility Clinic, please contact us.