Thursday, April 8, 2010

U.K. Patient Has One More Question: How Would I Go About Egg Donation?


Dr. Ramirez,

I see that having an operation to fix my tubes would be useless.

My last question concerns egg donation-If I decide (after 1 or more IVFs) that my only option is to try egg donation could you please tell me what I should be considering when I choose a clinic. I have heard that in Valencia, Spain there is a clinic that is connected with the local university and only uses young women, mostly students, to donate eggs after they have been thoroughly screened. Have you heard of this particular clinic? I understand that you cannot recommend a particular clinic.

Most importantly, what should I be making sure is involved in the egg donation operation? Is there anything I can do to ensure that I have a better chance of success?

I can't thank you enough for all your advice. Sincerely, P. from the U.K.


Hello again,

I cannot give any information regarding the clinic in Spain, as I have no contacts in that country. I have heard of an organization recently called Global IVF & I think it might be a good place to start (

In terms of finding a clinic, you would need to find a good IVF center. It is one that does an adequate number of IVF cycles per year with good published results. You should in particular examine the Donor IVF pregnancy rates. In the U.S., these rates are over 60% per cycle.

Donors can be obtained from three sources: (1) someone you know or find, like a sibling, friend, acquaintance, etc., (2) a donor registered with the IVF clinic or (3) through a donor agency. Usually the costs increase from source 1 to 3. Almost all clinics or agency recruit donors that are under the age of 33, so I would not consider one older that that age, unless it were someone you personally knew, like a sister. In addition, if the donor had proven fertility such as a previous pregnancy, or previous successful donor IVF cycle, then that would be preferential as well. In the US, we have strict rules regarding eligibility and medical history for donors. They are extensively tested to make sure that they don't have any transmittable diseases or genetic diseases. I don't know about Spain.

In the US, donors are usually selected by the recipient, and not by the clinic. I have had information from other European couples that they have to choose the donor the clinic provides, and have no choice. In the U.S., the donors have a full profile, including pictures for you to choose from. Many patients like to choose someone with the same characteristics, background, education, etc. However, the more criteria you have, the more difficult it becomes to find an appropriate donor.

I hope that gives you the information that you need.

Good Luck, your questions are all relevant ones and I hope you continue to inquire of your physicians as much as you need to!

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

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