Frequently Asked Questions about Ovum Donation Programs
- My friend wants to be my ovum donor and does not want to be paid. We do not know what to do to have the legal and medical work done. Can you help us?
- I have found an ovum donor over the internet. Can you work with her?
- Is your agency the largest in the country?
- I would like to use my local fertility clinic for the medical treatment of your ovum donor. Is this possible?
- Why do some of your medical programs happen in Canada? Aren't there facilities in the USA that can perform these treatments?
- I want to sign up for your ovum donor program, but I want the ovum donor ready for a transfer between April 3 and 15 because I will be on holiday at that time. Today is March 15. Please let me know if this is O.K.
- I want a 23-year-old ovum donor with a university/college education who has already had children. Do you have anyone to help me?
- Is there a difference between frozen and fresh embryo transfer pregnancy rates?
- If I undergo ovum donoation and become pregnant, where will I deliver the baby?
- How can I be sure that my egg donor will continue in the program with us?
My friend wants to be my ovum donor and does not want to be paid. We do not know what to do to have the legal and medical work done. Can you help us?
Yes. Please be sure to understand the emotional impact that this may have on your friendship, both if it fails and if a baby is born. We recommend that everyone see a psychologist familiar with third-party reproduction to explore this issue. If you decide to continue, your friend would have to go through the screening and education procedure like any other ovum donor. Please remember that age is a factor in fertility rates with ovum donors. Most 40-year-old women have friends who are also 40 years old. Your friend would not meet the criteria of our program and would not be accepted. We can certainly refer you to a medical facility for treatment, or we can help you to find another donor. It is important that she understands the legal, financial, medical and psychological implications of her decision. We would review these with her in depth. Whether there is money involved or not, legal documents must be completed. This is for the protection of all parties involved, including the unborn child. Essentially, your friend would have the same program as all of our ovum donors. Your agency fee, however, would be reduced since you do not need our services for advertising for, finding and matching an ovum donor for you. In addition, our Minneapolis & St. Paul surrogacy lawyer will walk you through the process.
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I have found an ovum donor over the internet. Can you work with her?
Yes, providing she meets our criteria for selection. She would have to go through our screening process prior to acceptance into our program.
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Is your agency the largest in the country?
No. It is not the largest. We do not spend a lot of money on fancy office surroundings, computerized data systems that can pull any statistic--relevant or not--out of the air, or expensive marketing videos. (Of course, it would be your increased fees that would pay for those kinds of expenses!) IARC provides you with ample staff to organize all aspects of your program. We provide personalized service. We have formal team meetings on a weekly basis and communicate on an ongoing basis to keep your case organized and progressing as quickly as possible. You will not get lost within a huge facility treating hundreds of clients.
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I would like to use my local fertility clinic for the medical treatment of your ovum donor. Is this possible?
Yes. We have clients who come to us from all over the world. Many American couples ask this question. IARC has used several clinics, but the process of learning about each center, its staff, practices, philosophy of treatment and its surrounding neighborhoods is time-intensive and expensive. It is impossible to do this procedure with every one of over 380 clinics in the United States. If you know of a well-organized clinic that you would like to recommend, please let us know. The clinics with which we consult at this time go out of their way to be helpful to our clients. Their staff is familiar with the unique psychological, financial and medical factors involved in ovum donation. In order for us to refer to a clinic, we must be sure of several key points:
- Safety: Our clients and ovum donors must not be sent to a potentially unsafe neighborhood. Many ovum donors' husbands feel relieved to know we have provided our donors with maps of safe areas and locations for travel, sightseeing, shopping and hotels.
- Reproductive Technologies: The reproductive technologies must be performed in a safe manner that is keeping with IARC's ethical philosophy and medical standards of treatment. The majority of centers provide excellent care. But until regulations are in place to outline standards of care, IARC is committed to working with centers that have a similar treatment philosophy. An example of this occurs when some clinics are willing to transfer six or seven embryos at a time. They may feel confident in this and have good success rates; however, there is no proof that this increases the pregnancy rate, and there is a great deal of emotional stress surrounding and some medical risk to the pregnancy as a result of the much more likely procedure of selective reduction. It also increases the number of required IVF cycles and encourages production of higher egg quantity through increased fertility medication. This is undesirable because medical complications such as hyperstimulation are more prevalent when higher doses of fertility medications are used unless careful monitoring is done.
- Stress Reduction: We are firm believers that stress affects many of the body's functions. It can spark headaches, perspiration, dizziness, high blood pressure, constipation, nausea, cramping, changes to menstrual cycles, vision problems, etc. There is no reason to think the reproductive system is immune to this. IARC's staff will spend a great deal of time communicating with our associated clinics' staff members and visiting the clinics. IARC can provide maps to and from the clinics, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, airports and sightseeing attractions. We can describe the clinic's specific office, medical procedures and staff members. The couple and fertility helpers will know exactly what to expect. They will feel more comfortable and in control of their care.
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Why do some of your medical programs happen in Canada? Aren't there facilities in the USA that can perform these treatments?
Yes, indeed. We work with many fine American facilities that are equipped to do egg retrieval, IVF and embryo transfers. Nevertheless, the Canadian clinics we use afford you certain advantages. Most importantly, they are medically advanced clinics. Their pregnancy rates are excellent (equal to or above the U.S. national average). All of the current reproductive technologies are offered such as Immunoglobulin Therapy, ICSI and Assisted Hatching. In addition, the weak Canadian dollar offers some savings to our clients in travel, accommodation and medication costs. Furthermore, although we cannot take advantage of their socialized medical system directly (health care supported by the Canadian taxpayers), the Canadian system has kept overall fees for medical services much lower. This directly reduces your costs. IARC has used the services of Canadian clinics for many years and has developed excellent communication and staff participation procedures with these clinics. The Canadian clinics have staff members assigned to organizing IARC clients and fertility helpers; the process runs very smoothly. These clinics are not huge, impersonal clinics that have various doctors attending hundreds of cases at a time. You will find that the same doctor works with you throughout your program. He will understand the intricacies of your donor's response to fertility medications, stress and the slight variations in her monthly hormonal cycle.
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I want to sign up for your ovum donor program, but I want the ovum donor ready for a transfer between April 3 and 15 because I will be on holiday at that time. Today is March 15. Please let me know if this is O.K.
Sorry, no. That is not possible. The ovum donor must have a minimum of 7 weeks from the date of her last period in order to complete her fertility medications. After her medical testing is complete, we can give you a general idea of travel requirements. When she starts her period (approximately 7 weeks before the egg retrieval/ embryo transfer), we will give you a protocol that outlines all dates of travel, cycle monitoring instructions and medical procedures. Fertility treatment can be completed within approximately two and a half to four months after you sign onto the program. Her period start date and her body's reaction to the fertility medications affect this.
I want a 23-year-old ovum donor with a university/college education who has already had children. Do you have anyone to help me?
Probably not. Think of yourself at 23 years of age. If you have a university education, you may have just graduated and started your first job. Very few women with a university education have even started, let alone finished, making their families. They are not ready to think about helping others form theirs. Even 25 - 27 year olds are rarely within this group. I have worked with many donors without college degrees who are very bright and follow IARC directions quickly and without difficulty. (The medications/medical procedures can be quite complex.) If you review their applications, they often had an unplanned early pregnancy and chose to have the child. Unfortunately, this prevented them from following any plans for further education. They may, nevertheless, be very intelligent.
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Is there a difference between frozen and fresh embryo transfer pregnancy rates?
There are slightly higher pregnancy rates using fresh embryos (approximately 50% compared to 35% frozen embryos); however, there is still some discussion on this issue. The higher rates could be a function of the fact that the best quality embryos are used first. It is hard to say if the difference in rates can be attributed to the freezing and thawing of the embryos or to the quality of the embryos.
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If I undergo ovum donoation and become pregnant, where will I deliver the baby?
You will deliver your baby in your hometown with a doctor of your choice. Please let us know when your baby comes! Your news is what makes our hard work worthwhile. Most parents send us a picture for our photo album. It is an incredible feeling to know we have helped bring such happiness to another family!
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How can I be sure that my egg donor will continue in the program with us?
You cannot be sure. No agency can be sure. Of course, IARC explains the program to the ovum donor, and we outline the requirements and responsibilities for her participation on many occasions. We discuss the psychological effects of the unique relationship she will have with the couple and the child, and we afford her many chances to change her mind before she has started her fertility treatment. Some women find the reaction to fertility medications too disruptive, and some find the treatments/testing difficult to fit into their busy lives. Remember, these are women with young families of their own. Occasionally, a new boyfriend will have an impact on her involvement, or a family emergency changes her ability to participate. One ovum donor's husband had a fluke heart attack at the age of 41. These life situations are impossible to control. If this happens, we will help you find another ovum donor. The majority of the women we work with are kind, helpful, genuine and RELIABLE.
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Contact an experienced Minneapolis surrogacy lawyer for help with ovum donation programs.