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Sigmund Freud
(1856-1939)

What is egg donation?

Egg donation is a form of fertility treatment in which a donor anonymously gives her eggs to an infertile patient in order to help her become a parent. Once donated, the eggs are fertilised with the recipient partner's sperm (or donor sperm if required) as in conventional IVF, and then transferred to the recipient for pregnancy. Egg donation, therefore, unlike adoption, means that the recipient couple still has a strong genetic link with the child.

There are several reasons why a woman might need donor eggs:

  • She does not produce eggs of her own, often because of older maternal age
  • She may have experienced a premature menopause
  • She may have had treatment for cancer and as a result has lost the normal function of her ovaries
  • She may be at risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder

The first known pregnancy derived from a donated egg occurred in 1984. Today, an estimated 10,000 babies a year are born worldwide from the procedure, as demand continues to grow. More and more women are planning their families later in life, with the result that age-related infertility is becoming more and more common. For many of them, egg donation will be the only way they can have children of their own.

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Sigmund Freud
(1856-1939)

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