Fertility experts divided on egg donation

Thirty-four-year-old Preetha and her 38-year-old husband Rajesh were helpless and devastated after three failed cycles of IVF. Fertility experts at city-based Nova IVI Fertility found that the reason was due to both male and female factors and the only option was to go for embryo donation as the parents did not want to go for adoption.

Dr Aviva Pinto Rodrigues, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVI Fertility in the city, said, “Many childless couples want to give embryo donation a shot because it makes it a more biological option. In a month, some 7-10% cycles we do are of embryo donations.”

She said, "Embryo donation is an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) technique that is fast gaining popularity in Bengaluru as an alternative to child adoption. It is a procedure where a developed embryo from different, anonymous donors is transferred into the recipient’s uterus, thereby allowing the couple to experience pregnancy and give birth to their child. Since the embryo has no genetic connection to the couple, embryo donation is considered a process that allows one to ‘adopt’ an embryo. However, unlike the traditional baby adoption, the recipient mother gets to undergo pregnancy and labour. The success rate is also 60-70% which is 10-15% higher than that of other IVF/ICSI cycles.”

However, not all fertility experts agree. “Embryo donation is not allowed as it is akin to prenatal adoption with no genetic material component. Hence it is best to adopt a child,” says Dr Kamini Rao, Director, Milann – The Fertility Center.

What is embryo donation?

Embryo donation is an anonymous process and confidentiality is maintained on the records of donors and the recipients. It offers couples privacy and secrecy, so that they need not worry about societal acceptance of their child. The donor embryos often come from individual oocyte and sperm donors who are married and have healthy children, and hence the success rates of donor embryo transfers (DET) are generally higher when compared to other IVT cycles. These donor embryos that are frozen become a source of hope for others who want to add a child to their family.