Surrogacy

Egg Donation / Surrogacy Programs at Chicago Infertility Associates

I. History

Egg donation has been performed in the USA since 1986.
In egg donation, oocytes (eggs) from a young woman are fertilized with the sperm of the recipient’s partner to create embryos.
These embryos are transferred into the patient’s (the recipient) uterus, and the pregnancy proceeds there.
Surrogacy is a variation of egg donation, where the “egg donor” is the patient herself, while the “recipient” is the surrogate, (gestational carrier) who will provide the embryos with a uterus to develop in. The resulting baby is born to the surrogate, and will be returned to the patient and her partner. These procedures enable women with severely diminished ovarian function, or severe genetic diseases to carry a child conceived with their husband’s sperm, and for women without a uterus to have a child related to them and their partner.

II. Types of Egg Donation/Surrogacy Programs offered at our Center

Anonymous egg donation – the identity of the egg donor is not known to the recipient couple. However, a detailed history and photographs are used in donor selection. Our program as well as some specialized agencies has anonymous donors.
Known egg donation – the identity of the egg donor is known to the recipient couple (for example a friend or relative).
Surrogacy – Surrogacy is an “open procedure” in which the surrogate and the couple know each other. Our program may, and specialized agencies do have surrogates to choose from.

III. Summary of Medical Procedures for Egg Donation

Egg donors undergo a preliminary screening prior to inclusion in the donor pool (including a detailed history, discussion of medical/social/emotional/financial/legal aspects of egg donation).
Recipient picks a specific egg donor – a large selection of anonymous egg donors is available through our office or various agencies. A recipient may also choose an egg donor who is known to her (such as a friend or a family member).
Further extensive, detailed evaluation of the donor occurs – including genetic, psychological, and physical, as appropriate.
4. Ovulation induction of the egg donor – with injectable medications used for allowing the doctors to have control of the reproductive axis and to stimulate the development of multiple eggs from which embryos will be formed.
Preparation of the uterine lining of the recipient – with a combination of injectable and oral medications to gain control of the reproductive axis, and to help thicken and mature the endometrium to allow implantation of the embryos.
Egg retrieval from the egg donor – A simple, ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive procedure used to retrieve the eggs from the ovaries. It is performed under conscious sedation (twilight sleep), transvaginally with a needle. There are NO INCISIONS in this outpatient procedure.
Fertilization of the eggs with the recipient partner’s sperm in-vitro (in the laboratory) by insemination or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Embryo transfer of the embryos into the recipient.
Cryopreservation (freezing) of extra good-quality embryos, when available.

IV. Summary of Medical Procedures for Surrogacy

Surrogates undergo a preliminary screening by the agency prior to inclusion in the surrogate pool (usually including a detailed history, discussion of medical/social/ emotional/financial/legal aspects of surrogacy)
Patient picks a specific surrogate – a large selection of surrogates is available through various agencies. A patient may also choose a recipient who is known to her (such as a friend or a family member).
Further extensive, detailed evaluation of the surrogate occurs (including genetic, psychological, and physical, as appropriate).
Ovulation induction of the patient – with injectable medications used for allowing the doctors to have control of the reproductive axis and to stimulate the development of multiple eggs from which multiple embryos may be formed.
Preparation of the uterine lining of the surrogate – with a combination of injectable and oral medications to gain control of the reproductive axis, and to help thicken and mature the endometrium to allow implantation of the embryos.
Egg retrieval from the patient – A simple, ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive procedure used to retrieve the eggs from the ovaries. It is performed under conscious sedation (twilight sleep), transvaginally with a needle. There are no incisions in this outpatient procedure.
Fertilization of the eggs with the partner’s sperm in-vitro (in the laboratory)
Embryo transfer of the embryos into the surrogate.
Cryopreservation (freezing) of extra good-quality embryos, when available.
VI. Information for Potential Donors
Your cycle will be anonymous, unless you are donating eggs for someone you know. This means that the recipient couple will not know your identity and you will not know theirs. The couple will look at your photograph, however, in order to assist with matching your looks with their needs.
You will be able to help a couple have a family, which is noble and altruistic.
Egg donors will be compensated financially for a completed cycle. The compensation does not depend on whether the recipient conceives.
Egg donors need to be between the ages of 18-30.
Egg donors must be healthy. A detailed explanation of the entire process and additional criteria, as well as a history and physical examination will be provided free of charge to potential donors. Psychological or genetic testing may be necessary prior to initiation of an egg donation cycle. These will be provided free of charge to the donor as well.
Egg donors must be willing to provide the office with their pictures. These photos will be used by potential recipient couples to assist in your selection. The photos will be returned to you upon request.
The completed cycle duration is approximately four weeks. You will need to take daily injections during this time, most with a tiny needle (subcutaneous). These are easy to administer in the convenience of your own home, or you may come to the office for administration. There is only minimal discomfort associated with the injection administration.
You may also take our Donor Egg Program Eligibility Questionnaire