What is egg sharing?
Egg sharing is possible when one woman undergoes a cycle of IVF or ICSI treatment and agrees to donate half of her eggs to another woman who need treatment using donor eggs.
Why share eggs?
This enables treatment to be provided to the sharer at a reduced cost. It also reduces the need for donated eggs from women who otherwise would not need to undergo treatment themselves.
Who can share?
Anyone under the age of 36 can be considered for egg sharing. However, we have to undertake tests to screen patients, to ensure that they are fit and healthy and are not at risk of passing on genetic diseases.
How do I find out if I am suitable to share my eggs?
Patients require a letter of referral from their GP or another consultant in order to come and see one of our consultants. This appointment is for both partners and it begins the assessment process to determine whether you are able to be an egg sharer.
If you are able to become an egg sharer your treatment cycle will be managed in the similar way to an egg donor.
All sharer providers will be tested for the HIV virus, Hepatitis B and C, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Cytomegalovirus and Cystic Fibrosis. A blood test will be carried out to look for chromosome abnormalities.
Who will receive my eggs?
Centres have a list of patients waiting to receive donated eggs. These are women who have undergone premature menopause, or who produce poor quality eggs. They will have been carefully assessed by one of our consultants before they are accepted onto our waiting list.
You will be asked by the nurses to complete a “pen picture” of yourself. This is an opportunity for you to write about yourself in a non-identifying way. We would strongly encourage you to do this. This is information that could be given to a child if they ask about their biological mother. There have been changes in the law with respect to donation. All egg sharers are encouraged to read the HFEA leaflet ‘What you need to know about donating sperm, eggs or embryos" carefully.
How do you share the eggs?
The eggs will be assessed for quality, and divided equally between you and your recipient. If there are an odd number of eggs, you will be allocated the extra one.
What happens if I do not produce enough eggs?
Following analysis of our results, we have decided that you need to produce a minimum of six eggs in order to share. If you have 3-5 follicles you will be given the choice to go ahead for egg collection for your own treatment. You will not incur any extra charge.
What happens if I produce too many eggs?
You will be carefully monitored using ultrasound scans of your ovaries, to assess your response to the stimulation. If you produce in excess of 20 follicles it may be necessary to either cancel the cycle or possibly freeze all of your eggs. This will reduce the risk of getting Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).
Will the donation be anonymous?
No, from 1 April 2005 a new Law came into effect, which entitles people conceived through donation to find out, once they reach the age of 18, who the donor was.
Will I know if my sharer becomes pregnant?
You may, if you choose, be informed if and when the person who received your eggs has achieved a live birth and, if so, the number of children born.
Can I share again?
Following completion of a cycle, each case will be discussed with the team. Providing you are still under 36 years of age and that you responded well to the drugs and achieved a good yield of eggs with a good rate of fertilisation, you may share again.
What are the costs?
Please contact your local centre to establish the cost.
As an egg sharer you are not eligible to claim for expenses associated with your treatment as you are receiving treatment in kind in the form of egg sharing. This applies for the expenses incurred during the assessment process even if you are ultimately not suitable to be an egg sharer.
All egg sharers are required to meet the counsellor as part of the preparation process for treatment. Patients have free access to the counsellor at any time.