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Dr. Katerina Menelaou: FAQ intended parents & Egg Donation

I’ve tried numerous IVF rounds in the last two years and think egg donation might be the best way to go.”  

When is egg donation treatment usually indicated?

There are a few occasions where women might choose to go down the egg donation path:  

  • Women with a low egg supply due to premature ovarian failure, primary ovarian insufficiency, or early menopause.  
  • Women of advanced maternal age. The oocyte quality decreases with time; chromosomal abnormalities increase in women’s eggs from age 35 onwards.  
  • Women who experience recurrent pregnancy loss, have a poor response to controlled ovarian stimulation or have a low number of oocytes collected or embryos created.  
  • Women who have any genetic abnormalities that cannot be detected by embryo biopsy and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.  

What are the tests needed to proceed with this option? 

  • Blood tests to determine the anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) levels will indicate ovarian reserve.  
  • Blood tests to detect any sexually transmitted diseases are also required.  
  • Details of the phenotype of the donor and recipient to enable the matching process 
  • The genotype details to ensure genetic compatibility between the donor and the recipient.  

What are the chances of IVF success with donor eggs?  

According to Pedieos IVF Center, vitrified (frozen) eggs from Aphrodite Egg Bank show very high performance, with a clinical pregnancy rate of 78% on the first embryo transfer. This highly satisfactory success rate came from a 3-year study with collaborating clinics in Israel and sperm donor bank CryoBank Israel. Pedieos IVF Center has achieved average pregnancy rates between 70-80%, whether from frozen or fresh donor eggs.  

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“I am 48, and I am thinking about egg donor IVF. What are my chances?

What is the maximum age for IVF with donor eggs?

There is no maximum age for IVF with donor eggs; however, for women over the age of 50 years old, approval from the Ministry of Health is required before proceeding to IVF treatment. 

What is the best age for such treatment?

The recipient’s age does not matter in egg donation treatment; however, a healthy endometrium of the recipient is essential. 

“Is it better to use fresh or frozen donor eggs to achieve pregnancy?”

What are the differences between frozen vs. fresh donor eggs? 

There are a few differences between frozen and fresh egg donation treatments: 

  • When using frozen donor eggs, there is no need to synchronize the cycles of the donors and recipients. 
  • Because the frozen oocytes are already available before matching, the recipient knows how many eggs are available before the cycle starts, and the matching occurs in a shorter time frame. 
  • When using frozen eggs, there is more time to perform the genetic analysis on the recipient to ensure genetic compatibility with the donor. 
  1. After a frozen donor egg treatment, the recipient can reserve more oocytes from the same donor for future cycles. 

How do frozen vs. fresh donor eggs impact the success rates?

In the past, when a different vitrification method was used, the success rates were significantly higher when using fresh donor eggs. However, since a new vitrification method started being used, the success rates for treatments with frozen and fresh donor eggs are nearly the same. 

About Dr. Katerina Menelaou

Dr Katerina Menelaou received her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Surrey in 2011 and her M.Sc. in Clinical Embryology from the University of Oxford in 2013. Following that, Katerina was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where she studied the multigenerational effects of abnormal folate metabolism on uterine structure and function, and fetoplacental development. 

As a Research Scientist at Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic in Cambridge (UK), Katerina was responsible for the daily operation of the satellite laboratory of the Meiosis department of Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences (Germany). 

She currently works as an embryologist at Pedieos IVF Center and Aphrodite Egg Bank.