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IVF/ICSI with donor eggs

IVF/ICSI with donor eggs
In situations where it is not possible for medical reasons to perform the treatment with a couple's own oocytes and sperm (for example, if they are not produced or are not of sufficient quality to be used in the treatment; or because of the risk of transmission of genetic diseases), there may be the need to resort to donor gametes or to a donated embryo transfer.

IVF / ICSI with donor eggs (oocyte donation) enables women in ovarian failure or with certain genetic diseases to fulfil their dream of becoming pregnant and being a mother. The treatment is done respecting the highest quality and safety standards as laid down by the National Board of Medically Assisted Procreation and by the recommendation of internationally accepted good medical practice.

Stages of treatment

  • 1. Selection of egg donor

    The donor isselected by Ferticentro using strict medical criteria involving testing for genetic diseases and a psychological evaluation. For the selection of the egg donor, the physical characteristics (phenotype) of the patients are also considered.



    2. Treatment of the egg donor

    The egg donor undergoes  ovarian stimulation treatment (administration of subcutaneous hormonal injections) for one to two weeks. Stimulation is controlled by ultrasound scans and blood tests, and the oocyte pickup is done under sedation.



    3. Treatment of the receiver

    The treatment of the donee  is subject  to various therapeutic protocols depending upon whether she has mentrual cycles. It  is always necessary however to administer medication (tablets and in some cases a single injection at the beginning of the cycle) in addition to having monitoring and evaluation scans.


    At this stage of preparation which might include the synchronization of cycles at the same time as donor stimulation (lasting for around 15 days)  there is always a close communication between the patient(s) and Ferticentro.



    4. IVF / ICSI and embryo transfer

    As in IVF / ICSI using a couple’s own sperm and eggs, the oocytes are transferred to culture media in the laboratory after pickup, and then treated and microinjected with one sperm each (i.e., one sperm per egg). The oocytes pass to other culture media, leading to the formation of embryos.


    Between two and three days after fertilization, the embryos (usually only two) are transferred to the donee’s’s uterus, so that they implant and lead to pregnancy. The Portuguese law defines that a maximum of two embryos can be transferred, but this is always a clinical decision and each case will have to be individually evaluated. In cases where there are several good embryos, transfer can be done on the fifth day, with no additional cost from the prolonged culture.


    The embryos are transferred to the uterus, and no anaesthesia is required. It is recommended that after embryo transfer the receiver should avoid intense physical exercise and, if possible, rest at home for at least 3 days.


    If two embryos are transferred it is usual that only one will implant; patients’ must be aware however that ocassionally a multiple pregnancy might occur with two embryos. With this in mind  the number of embryos which are transferred will always be based on a clinical decision and will be reviewed against the specific needs of each patient.



    5. Embryo cryopreservation

    Surplus embryos - those which have not been used in the treatment and are viable - can be frozen and used in a later cycle (in cases where the couple intends to have a second child or if the first attempt fails); may be donated for scientific research; can be donated to another patient(s); or can be destroyed. The couple is responsible for the embryo destination - provided that the conditions laid down by law are respected.

When is the ICSI with donor eggs recommended?

There is indication for IVF / ICSI with oocyte donation in the following cases:

  • Primary ovarian failure
  • Disgenesis of the gonads
  • Repeated failure of IVF / ICSI (implantation failure after 5 attempts, repeated failure of ICSI fertilization)
  • Age of women> 45 years
  • Significantly decreased ovarian reserve
  • Hereditary diseases (X chromosome diseases, autosomal recessive diseases, chromosome translocations)
  • Doenças hereditárias (doenças ligadas ao cromossoma X, doenças autossómicas recessivas, translocações cromossómicas)

Treatment costs

To find out more about treatment costs, please fill our contact form.

More information

  • Like any medical treatment, IVF / ICSI with oocyte donation can cause adverse reactions; these reactions are rare and if they do arise are typically moderate and transient in nature. Although couples at Ferticentro are closely monitored by their doctor (who is always available by phone) and all procedures are done according to the most strict and internationally accepted safety criteria, it’s important that our patients are aware that less pleasant situations, although highly unlikely, can occur, since these are potentially true in all medical procedures. Adverse reactions to drugs used in IVF/ICSI cycles with oocyte donation are not very common and are generally mild. The most frequent symptoms include hot flushes, irritability, fatigue and headaches. Generally, they pass after a while, with no reasons for concern.


    If these side effects persist or worsen you should contact your Ferticentro doctor.


    IVF / ICSI with oocyte donation is an extremely safe procedure for the recipient couple.

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