Infertility in a Pregnant World

All individuals feel that biologically we have a right to have a baby. When this basic right is taken away it can be pretty devastating. Despite advanced fertility treatments available today, some couples may still face difficulties conceiving because of an egg, sperm or ovarian factor. In such cases, the egg or sperm cannot be used to create healthy embryos, and egg or sperm donation is undertaken. Gestational surrogacy is a wonderful option for family building for women who cannot carry a pregnancy but wish to have a biological child, and for gay men. The phrase “third-party reproduction” refers to the use of eggs, sperm, or embryos that have been donated by a third person (donor) to enable an infertile individual or couple to become parents. Donors may be known or anonymous to the intended recipient.

At Medfem, we understand that gamete donation or surrogacy is not a couple’s first choice for conception and pregnancy, and we recognise the emotional investment in the process. We realise that this is a difficult decision and one that you need to discuss at length. Besides having the support of your doctor and nursing team at Medfem Fertility Clinic, our clinic psychologist will be able to help you and your partner to examine the issues surrounding your options.

Our team of professionals strives to make the process confidential, safe and effective. We carefully screen each donor or surrogate with a comprehensive health questionnaire, physical, psychological, genetic, and ultrasound examinations. Each recipient’s health status is carefully evaluated to ensure a safe pregnancy. Our treatment options are dedicated to the ultimate goal of a healthy child.

Egg Donation

There are many reasons why a woman may not be able to use her own eggs to conceive a child. In some cases the woman may not have any eggs at all: her ovaries may have been removed from a previous operation, her ovaries may have been damaged during cancer therapy, or she may have experienced early menopause or have diminished ovarian reserve. In other cases, a woman may simply not have enough eggs or they may be of poor quality, or she may be a carrier of a specific genetic disorder. Whatever the reason, egg donation can be an effective fertility treatment for women who are unable to conceive using their own eggs.

In egg donation, embryos are conceived using eggs obtained from a young egg donor and sperm. In order to maximise success rates for the intended parents, the donor undergoes ovarian stimulation with injectable medications and multiple eggs are produced. Simultaneously, the intended mother’s uterus is prepared for implantation. As in a standard in vitro fertilisation cycle, the eggs are then harvested from the donor and fertilised with the intended father’s sperm in the laboratory. The embryos are next transferred into the recipient’s uterus so that she may carry the pregnancy.

Some reasons for using donor eggs include:

  • Repeated unsuccessful IVF cycles involving poor egg or embryo quality
  • A risk of transmitting a chromosomal or genetic disorder
  • Poor response or diminished ovarian reserve
  • Early menopause
  • Removal of the ovaries

Egg donation is a wonderful alternative for couples who cannot conceive using other methods. The experience is exceptionally gratifying to the couple as well as the donor.

Sperm Donation

Donor sperm can be used in many different situations. Commonly, unwed women seek reproductive help using donor sperm. This includes women in lesbian relationships. Married couples often choose donor sperm to help build their families when other attempts to correct male infertility have not been successful or do not present reasonable chances of conception. Most people take it for granted that they’ll have children one day. Yet one in six couples are infertile. Approximately 40% of this unfortunate event is due to male factor infertility. Azoospermia (no sperm present) may exist from birth or may have developed later on in life due to illness, injury, surgery or poor lifestyles. Assisted reproductive treatment (ART) using donor gametes have provided new opportunities for treating infertile couples, single women and same-sex couples. Sperm banking or more formally referred to as sperm cryopreservation has become one of the major assisted reproductive treatments.

Embryo Donation

Embryo donation is a procedure that enables embryos that were created by couples undergoing fertility treatment to be transferred to infertile patients to achieve a pregnancy. Indications for embryo donation include untreatable infertility that involves both partners, untreatable infertility in a single woman, recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to embryonic factors, and genetic disorders affecting one or both partners. The process of embryo donation requires that the recipient couple undergo the appropriate medical and psychological screening recommended for all gamete donor cycles. Also, the female partner undergoes an evaluation of her uterine cavity and then her endometrium is prepared with oestrogen and progesterone in anticipation of an embryo transfer.


A surrogate is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another couple or woman. There are two types of surrogacy arrangements:

  • Traditional surrogacy in which the surrogate is inseminated with sperm from the male partner of the intended parent couple (donor sperm may be used as well)
  • Gestational carrier in which the surrogate carries a pregnancy created by transferring an embryo created with the sperm and egg of the intended parents (donor sperm or donor eggs may be used as well). A gestational carrier has no genetic relationship to the child.
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