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Egg donation

What is egg donation?

When a woman is unable to produce or use her own eggs and wishes to have a child, she may receive a donated egg from another woman which is then fertilised with sperm through an in vitro procedure and implanted in her uterus.

Who needs donated eggs?

Egg donation helps women who are unable to produce or use their own eggs for various reasons such as:

  • Poorly developed ovaries
  • Removal of ovaries
  • Premature menopause
  • Poor egg production due to unknown reasons
  • Poor quality eggs that do not thrive

Where do donor eggs come from?

The donor can be anyone of suitable age, a friend or relative, or someone unknown arranged through an intermediary agency. Some women donate their eggs to commercial egg banks where they are frozen until they can be used. Donors are well screened for any diseases, abnormalities or family history of any conditions. They provide detailed information about themselves, some of which may be available to the recipient to help them choose an appropriate donor.

How is egg donation performed?

The donor is given medication to stimulate egg production. When the eggs are ripe they are retrieved with a needle introduced through the vagina and guided by ultrasound imaging. The retrieved eggs may be used immediately or frozen. Sperm from the recipient’s partner or from a sperm donor is used to fertilise the eggs. After fertilisation, the resultant embryos remain in vitro for 3-5 days after which one or more is implanted in the recipient’s uterus. Hormonal medications may be given to the recipient to prepare the uterus to receive the embryo.

What are the chances of success?

Donors should be of suitable age and well tested. The likelihood of success is closely related to that associated with the age of the egg donor.

What are the legal issues?

The egg donor does not have any rights over the child and cannot seek out the child or the birth parents. She does not have any responsibilities towards the child. In most state of Australia, a record of the genetic mother is kept and the child has the right to find out who she is after the age of 18.

Medical and scientific information provided and endorsed by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (ANZSREI) might not be relevant to a particular person’s circumstances and should always be discussed with that person’s own healthcare provider. Patient Information Sheets may contain copyright or otherwise protected material. Reproduction of Information Sheets by ANZSREI Members for clinical practice is permissible. Any other use of this information (hardcopy and electronic versions) must be agreed to and approved by the ANZSREI.

Disclaimer: All information presented on this page is intended for informational purposes only and not for rendering medical advice. The information contained herein is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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