Information for recipients
Donor gametes – eggs or sperm – help many people fulfil their dream to have a child when standard assisted reproduction methods have been exhausted or are not applicable.
The number of couples who need the help of a donor to become parents is constantly growing.
Gamete donation in Bulgaria is a legal act, and the use of donor gametes for assisted reproduction is regulated in Ordinance No. 28 of 20 Jun 2007 of the Bulgarian Ministry of Health on the Medical standard on assisted reproduction.
The donor IVF procedure
In donor IVF, instead of the couple’s own eggs or sperm, donor gametes are used. So for women, there is no need to undergo ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, and for men, there is no need to produce semen – the donors do these procedures.
In the female:
- Diminished ovarian reserve – a condition that more and more often affects young women of reproductive age;
- Cases of surgically removed ovaries or ovarian failure;
- Women of advanced reproductive age;
- Certain genetic diseases, etc.
In the male:
- The absence of sperm in the ejaculate (azoospermia) and surgical sperm retrieval from the testes is not applicable, or the patient has not consented to such;
- Genetic diseases;
- Erectile dysfunction, etc.
How to enrol for donor IVF at Nadezhda hospital?
Patients are enrolled on our donor IVF program only at the discretion of their treating fertility consultant at Nadezhda hospital.
- The woman certifies her wish to enrol in the program by signing a special declaration. A detailed informed consent form is also signed, in which all stages and aspects of the donor IVF procedure are clarified. The documents can be received from the Donation coordinator at the Registration desk.
- Next, the woman undergoes an evaluation of her overall physical health and fitness to carry a pregnancy without risks. A specialist medical committee does the assessment at Nadezhda hospital. After the committee has issued a positive opinion that there are no counterindications for the procedure, the patient is included on a waiting list for a suitable donor at Nadezhda hospital.
How can I choose a donor, and what information about them will I receive?
This means that patients who receive donor eggs or sperm do not know the identity of their donor. Likewise, the donors do not know the identity of the recipients who will use their gametes. An exception to this is familial donation, where a woman up to 38 is allowed to donate eggs to a direct blood relative like a sister or first-degree cousin. In all other cases, the donor is entirely anonymous to the recipient and is selected based on medical parameters and partial match of phenotype features by the hospital’s team responsible for the donor IVF program.
Egg and sperm donors are not paid to donate. Gamete donors have a legal right to reasonable compensation, but this does not relate to the motifs for the act of donation itself. This means that no financial advantage is possible in applying for the donor IVF program at Nadezhda hospital.
All gamete donors at Nadezhda hospital are men and women who come to us led by the altruistic motivation to help couples whose only chance to become parents is by using donor eggs or sperm.
Before the actual gamete donation procedure, prospective donors undergo a series of medical tests and consultations, incl. genetic testing.
Recipients can obtain the details available in their donor’s profiles, including education degrees, hobbies and interests, and details about their physical features (skin, hair and eye colour).
The waiting time for a suitable egg donor depends on a number of factors, like a match of medical parameters, time to approval and preparation of the donor for the procedures etc. Typically, after you have been enrolled in the gamete donation program at Nadezhda Hospital, you will need to wait for a suitable egg donor for between 6 months to one year.
The donor IVF procedure
The link between the donor and the recipient in a donor IVF procedure is the treating fertility consultant and the coordinator team of the Donor program at Nadezhda hospital.
- The treating fertility consultant will synchronise the donor’s ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval procedure with the hormonal endometrial pre-treatment of the recipient.
- On the day of the donor’s egg retrieval, the collected oocytes are fertilised by ICSI with the sperm of the recipient’s partner. The recipient’s partner has to visit the hospital for semen collection. Alternatively, semen can be collected in advance and the sperm frozen until the day of fertilisation.
- On the next day, an embryologist will call the couple to inform them about the number of successfully fertilised donor eggs. In collaboration with the fertility consultant, the day for embryo transfer is scheduled – usually on day three or day five after the egg retrieval.
- In the meantime, the recipient undergoes treatment with hormones called gestagens to prepare the uterine lining for embryo transfer.
If there are any surplus good quality embryos after the procedure, they can be cryopreserved and used by the couple in a future embryo transfer.
The donor sperm IVF procedure includes almost the same stages as the partner sperm IVF.
The woman undergoes ovarian stimulation, after which egg retrieval is performed. The oocytes collected from the female partner are then fertilised with donor sperm. The next day, the embryologist will call the couple to inform them about the number of successfully fertilised eggs. Embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus on day three or five.
At Nadezhda Hospital, the average success rates of donor egg IVF are exceptionally high. When talking about success rates, though, it is essential to understand that success in reproductive medicine is a value measured against the personal story of each one of the couples who come seeking help with us. We strive to personalise and approach each case with care and compassion.
According to Bulgarian legislation, the child born from a donor IVF procedure using a donor egg or sperm is the child of the couple recipient of the donor gametes.
Egg donors and sperm donors bear no legal responsibility for the child and have no rights to claims on the result of the donor procedure and the pregnancy resulting from it and the child born.
Mothers for Donation Foundation and our gratitide to donors
To be a donor, you must have a heart big enough to hold the pain and dreams of people who yearn for a child of their own. The men and women who become gamete donors at Nadezhda hospital are like this – humans with big hearts, offering selfless help where hope has exhausted its powers.
We know that their helping hand brings new Life into this world – long-awaited and paid in bitter tears. And we thank from the bottom of our hearts all the brave men and women who donate a grain of hope so that Life can be born one more time.
Learn more about gamete donation at the website of our partners – Mothers for Donation Foundation, www.maikizadonorstvo.com .