Sometimes due to some fertility issues, embryos
need to be donated. The donated embryos are frozen and stored. These are then
used for frozen embryo transfer. During the treatment and prior to
implantation, the frozen embryos are retrieved and tested for disease. Read on
to know in detail.
Couples resort to embryo donation when they are really
worried about fertility
issues. A number of anonymous couples may donate their embryos. This is
basically when some extra embryos remain from their earlier IVF
treatment cycles. Some clinics also create donated embryos by fertilising
donated eggs and donated sperms. Donated embryos are used in a treatment
procedure called frozen embryo transfer.
How are Donated
During treatment the clinic retrieve the donated embryo from
the frozen storage. These embryos are required to be kept in a frozen state and
duly quarantined prior to their implantation in the uterus of the woman. It is
important to ensure that the embryos are safe and not diseased. The embryo also
needs to be checked and tested that do not end up infecting the uterus and
cause other problems to the mother or the baby.
Tiny glass vials are used to carry the embryos and then they
are allowed to freeze in liquid nitrogen. The process is quite akin to the
manner in which the sperms are frozen for storage. When required during the
treatment the vials are taken out and the embryos are allowed to slowly thaw in
room temperature. Various chemical and sterile solutions are used to aid the
removal of the cyroprotectant encasing the embryo. They are actually added to
preserve the embryo during the freezing process.
How the Frozen Embryo
the embryo into the uterus of the woman it is important to prepare her body
so that it readily accepts the transplanted embryo. The physicians administer a
series of fertility drugs for this purpose and this also conditions the body
for the probable pregnancy. This initial treatment cycles continues for around
After this the woman is prescribed birth control pills in
order to regulate her menstrual
cycle. Leuprolide, which is a GnRH agonist is also administered which
suppresses the pituitary gland and results in a successful buildup of the all
important lining of the endometrium. This treatment goes on for about a month,
the birth control pill is stopped and this brings about the normal period in
the woman. The GnRH is also simultaneously discontinued.
A month prior to the transplantation estradiol is injected
that basically enhances the growth of tissues on the uterine lining. As the
lining grows and thickens, progesterone injections are prescribed to act as a
support to the luteal phase. Ultrasounds are carried out at regular intervals
to check the thickness and condition of the uterine lining.
The Preparation of
the Thawed Embryos
As the uterine lining gets prepared, it gradually becomes
conditioned for the transplantation of the donated embryo. The frozen
embryos are taken out from the storage and thawed. This happens in room
temperature and then the embryos are bought to body temperature that is, 39 o
Further, tests are carried out to analyse its formation and
health. This needs to be ensured as some embryos are found unable to survive
the freezing process. These tests are carried by a reproductive
endocrinologist. Depending on the results and the doctor decides on the number
of embryos that should be transplanted in the uterus. Generally in each
procedure not more than four embryos are transplanted.
The embryos are transplanted into the uterus through the
insertion of a syringe. It helps in the placement of the embryo inside the
catheter and then it is inserted inside the uterus of the woman. The objective
is to deposit the embryo inside the womb.
Embryo donation allows an infertile
woman, to experience all the joys of motherhood, which even adopting a baby may
not provide. This is the last resort for:
couples who are unable to conceive even after fertility treatments.
- Single women who want to have a baby but who cannot use their own eggs.
who carry a risk of passing on a genetic disorder to the child.
The procedure for embryo donation is
strictly confidential. There is no contact between donating couple and the
recipients. So fulfilling the dream of having your own baby is now possible
with embryo donation.