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London Egg Bank: Empowering a new generation of egg donors

London Egg Bank: Empowering a new generation of egg donors

Just a year or two ago there were long waiting lists for egg donation in the UK. Altruistic egg donors were hard to find and hard to recruit. But now those waiting lists have gone.

No waiting lists
What a difference a year makes! Until 2012, egg donors wishing to donate eggs for purely altruistic reasons were as rare as rainy-day taxis. But all that changed with new government regulations on egg donation and a new drive to recruit donors who wanted only to help others.

Anyone wanting a donor egg could wait up to five years for a suitable donor, but now we can meet nearly all our demands with little delay. The waiting lists have gone, which means that women needing donor eggs can be treated almost immediately – and often with a choice of donors to match their wishes.

The egg donation programme and its success rates through the London Egg Bank’s partner clinics, the London Women’s Clinic and Bridge Centre, are growing fast.

Recruiting egg donors
Most of the new generation of donors are young – between 20 and 30 – and recruited through the encouragement and information provided by social media.

Twitter and Facebook have made a huge difference in bringing the realities of infertility to a broad group of young people. Indeed, it’s now not unusual for the London Egg Bank to receive 400 e-mail enquiries a week. Many of these enquirers know someone already affected by infertility and are happy simply to do something to help women less fortunate than themselves.

Many of the young donors we see for the first time have done a lot of homework already. They’re very enthusiastic and well informed.

Extensive screening
Of course, not everyone making an initial enquiry will become a suitable donor. Tests must show that the donor’s fertility is healthy. Donors must also have other medical tests to ensure the health of the baby, so screening every possible donor is a long and important process.

Only around 40% are initially suitable, but nevertheless, around 15 women a month are now joining the program. Many donors are even coming back to donate again.

Success rates
Most egg donation treatments are currently performed in a ‘fresh’ treatment cycle with success rates of around 60% being recorded. This means that only one embryo need be transferred in most cases – to avoid any risk of multiple pregnancies. It also means that many recipient couples have additional embryos in deep-freeze storage, ready for another try.

A frozen egg bank
These same new freezing technologies may now hold the key to an even more efficient form of egg banking for the future. Vitrification, a freezing technique which rapidly reduces cells to a frozen glass-like state in just a few seconds, has now been shown in many studies to freeze eggs without any harm to their viability.

Once warmed and thawed, they are just as able as fresh eggs to make good embryos and ongoing pregnancies. Treatments can now not only be performed in a ‘fresh’ cycle, but with donor eggs selected from the frozen egg bank. Choice and supply are greater – and results, as studies already indicate, should be just as good.

For more information, get in touch call +44 (0)20 7563 4306 or visit the London Egg Bank site here.