1. Selection of the egg donor
The egg donor is selected by the Ferticentro medical team based on very strict medical criteria, after a rigorousprocess of selection and exclusion of genetic diseases and psychological evaluation. For the selection of the egg donor, the physical characteristics (phenotype) of the patient(s) are also considered.
2. Treatment of the egg donor
The egg donor undergoesovarian 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. obtaining the sperm sample
The sperm donor is selected by Ferticentro based on very strict medical criteria, after a rigorousprocess of selection and exclusion of genetic diseases and psychological evaluation. The sperm used at Ferticentro comes from donors selected by the clinic, or from certified foreign sperm banks, with excellent and comprehensive quality control procedures. The sperm is donated voluntary, and patients only pay the laboratorial expenses incurred in its collection, maintenance and treatment. The entire process takes place with full guarantee of confidentiality and with the informed consent of patients.
4. Oocyte pickup and ICSI
The oocyte pickup is performed with echographic control and under sedation, and consists of the introduction into the vagina of a very thin needle that will allow the collection of oocytes from each of the donor's ovaries. This operation takes about 15 minutes. At this time the donee begins to apply progesterone (in vaginal tablets or gel) in order to prepare the endometrium so that the implantation of the embryos can be successful.
After pickup the oocytes are transferred to culture media in the laboratory and then treated and microinjected with one sperm each (i.e., one sperm per egg). After this process, the oocytes pass to other culture media, leading to the formation of embryos.
Between 2 and 3 days after fertilization, the embryos (usually only two) are transferred to the donee’s uterus, so that they may implant and lead to a pregnancy. The Portuguese law defines that the maximum of two embryos can be transferred, but this is always a clinical decision and each case is evaluated individually. In cases where there are several good embryos the transfer can be done on the fifth day, and patients do not have any additional cost with prolonged culture.
The embryos are transferred to the uterus, with no anaesthesia required. It is recommended that after embryo transfer the patient should avoid intense physical activities and, if possible, rest at home for at least 3 days.
Although usually only one of the transferred embryos are implanted, patients should take into account that in some occasions the two can implant, leading to multiple pregnancy. For this same reason, the number of embryos to be transferred should always be a clinical decision and adjusted to the specific case of each patient.
5. Embryo cryopreservation
Surplus embryos - those which have not been used in the treatment and which are viable -can be frozen and used in a later cycle (for a second pregnancy or if the first attempt fails); may be donated for scientific research; may be donated to other beneficiaries of Assisted Reproductive Techniques treatments; or can be destroyed. It is up to the beneficiary (s) of the treatment to decide on their destination - provided that the conditions laid down by law are respected.