Third-party reproduction, or conception, refers to the use of donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos or gestational carriers. The donors may be known or anonymous. Patients will consult with one of our physicians to determine if one of these approaches would be suitable for their situation.
Before proceeding, patients should be fully aware of the social, psychological, legal and ethical issues associated with such options. Psychological counselling with a licensed counsellor is mandatory. All participants in this process require infectious disease screening and Legal Counsel is required in many cases that involve third party conception.
What is egg donation?
Egg donation is a fertility treatment option for people who for various reasons are unable to become pregnant using their own eggs.
The use of donor eggs has become much more common, particularly in those over 40 years of age. This procedure has a very high success rate and it gives many people the ability to carry and deliver a child when they otherwise would have been unable to do so.
WHEN TO CONSIDER THIS SERVICE
One of the most common causes of infertility is low egg count or quality. You might consider donor eggs if you:
- Have a low egg number (also known as a low ovarian reserve)
- Have had cancer treatment that has damaged the ovaries
- Have premature ovarian insufficiency
- Have severe endometriosis
- Biologically require donor eggs
- Are in your 40’s
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING TREATMENT
If you are using a known egg donor, the donor will undergo an IVF cycle (medication to grow multiple eggs will be used, the eggs will be removed and fertilized with sperm). The resulting embryo will be transferred into the uterus to achieve a pregnancy.
There are three ways to obtain donated eggs:
- Through a known egg donor. This is someone you know, like a friend or family member, who is under 35 years of age and is healthy.
- Anonymous frozen donor eggs that can be imported to Mount Sinai Fertility from the USA. We work exclusively with Donor Egg Bank USA, one of the world’s largest and most successful donor egg banks.
- Fresh anonymous donor eggs can be obtained by travelling to the USA or other countries.
WHAT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON ANONYMOUS EGG DONORS?
Egg banks provide information on the egg donor’s race, height, weight, personal history, academic performance, and many other demographic details. Also, depending on your preference, you may choose to see photos of the donor and read an essay they have written about themselves.
What is donor sperm?
Some individuals or couples may require the use of donor sperm in order to achieve a pregnancy. Mount Sinai Fertility accepts donor sperm from several national certified sperm banks where donors are appropriately screened and the sperm is quarantined.
Donor sperm is commonly needed by:
- Single people
- Those who biologically do not have sperm
- Those who have severe male* factor infertility
*This includes people who do not identify as male but who have conditions such as abnormal sperm parameters or other urologic conditions
Canadian-compliant sperm distributors include:
SELECTING A SPERM DONOR
Sperm donors can be selected from the cryobank’s website. Sperm donors are anonymous, though some donors have consented to having their identity released to children conceived of their specimens when they reach the age of 21. Many donors provide a childhood picture. The donor database offers personal demographics (i.e., hair color, height, race, etc.), as well as essays written by the donor. In some cases, recipients can view if previous pregnancies have resulted from that donor’s sperm. While short profiles are open to the public, the extended profiles require a subscription.
In the case of a known/designated donor (i.e., a friend or family member), in accordance with Health Canada and the Processing and Distribution of Semen for Assisted Conception Regulations, certain requirements are mandatory before the donated sperm can be used. This includes an infertility work-up as well as a 6-month quarantine of the sperm to screen for infectious diseases. Mount Sinai Fertility also requires a counselling consultation for all individuals undertaking third party reproduction.
AFTER DONOR SELECTION
After the donor is selected and/or the quarantine period for a known donor has passed, the cryobank sends the frozen sperm sample(s) directly to us, where we will thaw the sperm and analyze it in our Andrology Laboratory. From there, individuals undergo an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle using the donated sperm.
People who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) may have surplus or extra embryos that they wish to donate.
Mount Sinai Fertility has an anonymous Embryo Donation Program. Current or former patients may be eligible to donate remaining embryos for use by a third party; we do not accept donation of embryos created at other facilities.
We currently have a waiting list of patients who are interested in receiving donor embryos. It is difficult to predict the wait time to receive a donor embryo as donation is not predictable, but our estimation is 2-3 years. You and your doctor will determine whether you are a good candidate to be a recipient and you will then be placed on the Embryo Donation Waiting List. The counselling and medical screening process will be started when there is a potential embryo.
Please contact our Patient Liaison, Stacey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive more information on this program or if you have been a patient at Mount Sinai Fertlity and are interested in donating embryos.