Did you know?

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 (intended recipient) to become parents.

Learn more: Guidelines for third party reproduction

Egg Donation

An egg from a fertile woman that is donated to an infertile woman to be used in an assisted reproductive technology procedure such as IVF. The woman receiving the eggs will not be biologically related to the child (unless the donor is a relative), but will be the birth mother on record. The eggs from the donor are then fertilized and the resulting embryos are transferred to the recipient’s uterus.

Egg Donor Screening

A potential donor should undergo a thorough physical and psychological evaluation in order to protect her own health and that of any future biological offspring.

Medical Screening

Donors will generally be asked to complete a detailed medical history to identify any genetic abnormalities or diseases.

Prospective donors will also undergo a fertility evaluation to verify the capacity of their ovaries to produce eggs. This consists of a pelvic ultrasound as well as a blood test. A more extensive physical exam, blood tests, and cultures will also be performed once the physician has verified the donor's ability to produce healthy eggs. The tests include the following:

  1. Blood type
  2. Rh incompatibility
  3. HIV
  4. Hepatitis
  5. Syphilis
  6. Drug Use
  7. Chlamydia
  8. Gonorrhea
  9. HTLV I

In addition, genetic screening can also be carried out. It is recommended that genetic testing be used only to screen for diseases that would have "severe medical consequences for recipient and offspring."

Psychological Screening

All prospective donors should undergo a psychological evaluation during screening to limit the possibility of emotional harm. Psychological screening is generally aimed at identifying emotional problems, evaluating donor motivations, and verifying that women have a thorough understanding of the physical, psychological, and legal risks that could result from donation.

Legal Counselling is advised for both the egg donor and the recipient parents in order to ensure that all legal risks are known and accepted by each party.

The egg donation process consists of two phases.
1

Ovarian stimulation

2

Egg retrieval

Ovarian stimulation

Donors receive a series of hormonal drugs which cause the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs during one menstrual cycle.

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Egg retrieval

2. Mature eggs are removed from the donor through a surgical procedure called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, performed under conscious sedation (a mild anesthetic in which the patient is awake but pain-free).

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Sperm Donation

The sperm donated by a fertile man who is not the recipient’s partner.

Therapeutic donor insemination (DI or TDI) is one option when:
  1. the male partner has severe abnormalities in the semen parameters, such as low sperm count or motility
  2. the male partner has no sperm
  3. the male partner has difficulty ejaculating his sperm
  4. the male partner has a significant genetic defect and the recipient is either affected or a carrier, or the recipient has previously produced a child with the genetic defect.
  5. females who desire pregnancy and do not have a male partner

Sperm donation can also be used for IVF cycles

Choosing a sperm donor

There are 3 sperm banks in the GTA who have Canadian compliant sperm, i.e. sperm that has been tested according to the Canadian guidelines and has been quarantined for at least 6 months. Patients are usually referred to these 3 banks and are able to choose the sperm donor that best suits their criteria.

The banks are:
Outreach Health Services
Can-Am Cryoservices
Repromed

If you choose to use a known sperm donor, Health Canada mandates a full investigation of the donor and the sperm will be quarantined for 6 months prior to being released for use in a donor insemination cycle.

Psychological counselling is required by the recipient couple / woman prior to initiating this procedure.

Once the sperm donor is chosen by the recipient, the treatment cycle can be started (either for IUI or IVF). The sperm will be ordered by our clinic for delivery close to the time that it is needed.

Gestational Carrier & Surrogacy

Gestational Carrier vs Surrogate: What is the difference?
A gestational carrier
is a woman who carries a pregnancy for another.
A surrogate
is a woman who donates her egg and carries a pregnancy for another.

The use of a gestational carrier is the more common option in Canada. The child is not biologically related to the gestational carrier. Instead, the embryo is created via in vitro fertilization (IVF), using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors, and is then transferred to the gestational carrier.

The following people might consider using a gestational carrier:

  1. Couples in which the female partner has no uterus
  2. Anyone who is unable to safely carry a pregnancy to term because of abnormalities in the uterus or medical conditions that make it unsafe to be pregnant
  3. Hopeful single parents
  4. Same-sex couples
  5. People who have struggled with infertility and have had repeated failed attempts at IVF

Psychological counselling is required by the recipient parents as well as the gestational carrier prior to initiating this procedure.

Legal Counselling is also required for both the gestational carrier and the recipient parents in order to ensure that all legal risks are known and accepted by each party.