Patient Portal: Egg Donation

Few couples come to us seeking egg donation in the first instance, most reach this decision after investigations reveal serious fertility concerns or following the heartbreak of unsuccessful fertility treatment. However, those that have their baby in their arms can attest to the wonderful opportunity egg donation is to help you achieve that dream- to carry and nurture your baby in the womb, give birth to your baby and welcome your baby into your family.

Egg donation may be suggested as a treatment option in cases where ovarian function is so poor that the chance of achieving pregnancy with the woman’s own eggs is extremely unlikely; in cases such as

  • Premature ovarian insufficiency/premature menopause
  • Following IVF cycles where egg numbers and/or egg quality have been severely poor.
  • Where the female partner has had both ovaries surgically removed or has non-functioning ovaries from birth
  • Infertility as a result of chemotherapy
  • Women with Turner’s syndrome

Egg donation is the process by which a ‘donor’ undergoes the stimulation part of an IVF cycle so that she produces several eggs. These eggs are then collected and fertilised with the recipient male partner’s sperm. One or two of the resultant embryos are transferred into the female partner’s (‘recipient’) uterus 3 or 5 days later in order for her to become pregnant.

There are two sources of donor eggs. All donors are screened rigorously before selection for a donor programme.

Known Donor

Source: Frequently a friend or relative

Criteria: Donors should be 21-37 years and have completed their family

Unknown Donor

Source: Waterstone Clinic affiliated clinics in Spain or US, or, a sourced fertility clinic outside Ireland.

Anonymous donor – sourced and screened by the fertility clinic abroad. Matched for hair colour, eye colour and height.

Non-anonymous donor – less readily available. Sourced and screened by the fertility clinic abroad. More detailed information available including the option of contacting the donor when the child is 18 or older.

Due to the difficulty recruiting egg donors in Ireland, couples are forced to look to other countries in their search for an egg donor. In an effort to protect their interests and ensure they receive the best care, our team has developed an Egg Donation Support Service.

Couples we assist say that local support helps alleviate some of the stress involved in undergoing donor egg treatment in a foreign country, and that it is helpful to have an experienced clinician acting as intermediary between themselves and the service provider.

Most of the groundwork for treatment is carried out in Ireland, with one trip to the clinic abroad. The simplicity of the service enables couples to avail of donor egg treatment abroad with minimum disruption to their everyday lives.

We have established links with a number of clinics in Europe and the USA, including Shady Grove in Washington.

Shady Grove Fertility is a leading provider of donor egg treatment in the United States, performing over 1,000 cycles a year. Shady Grove Fertility’s success stems from their uncompromising pregnancy and delivery rates as well as their unique financial programs which help make treatment more affordable.

We are also equally happy to work with a clinic of your choosing.

Waterstone clinic fertility specialists will support you throughout your cycle, liaise with the egg donation clinic and perform all scans and investigations deemed necessary by the clinic you are attending. This means you are only required to travel abroad for embryo transfer.

Step 1

Meet with egg donation co-ordinator

Our egg donation co-ordinator will address every aspect of the treatment process. Depending on the package you choose you may have to attend the clinic abroad for consultation and in order to freeze a sperm sample. Equally we can arrange for this to take place at our centre in Ireland.

Step 2

Counselling session

Waterstone Clinic’s egg donation counselling service offers the necessary support and advice that couples need whilst undergoing egg donation through our independent and experienced counsellor.

Step 3

Blood tests

Comprehensive viral screening and other necessary blood tests that may be required.

Step 4


This session will allow time for further questions to ensure you are fully informed of the process. Once all your questions have been addressed consent forms are signed.

Step 5

Donor selection. Depending on the treatment package chosen, you may have the option to select your donor from a database. Other packages allow selection of your donor in accordance with your physical characteristics such as hair colour, eye colour, skin colour and height.

Step 6

Donor and recipient treatment. Our egg donation support service ensures our expertise in preparing the recipient’s womb for embryo transfer. Our egg donation co-ordinator will liaise with the egg donation clinic to ensure that the donor and recipient’s treatment cycles are synchronised for embryo transfer.

Step 7

Fertilisation and embryo development

At the egg donation clinic the donor’s eggs will be fertilised with the male partner’s sperm. You will be kept informed about the development of the embryos.

Step 8

Embryo transfer

Depending on the egg donation package you have chosen, your embryo transfer may occur at Waterstone Clinic or you may have to travel to the egg donation clinic for embryo transfer. This procedure is similar to a smear test. It does not require any sedation. A fine catheter (tube) containing the embryo(s) is inserted into the recipient’s womb and the embryos are carefully deposited.

Step 9

Pregnancy test and early pregnancy care

Two weeks following embryo transfer you will perform a pregnancy test.

If you are pregnant, Waterstone clinic will perform an ultrasound scan two weeks later (six weeks of pregnancy) to check for the number of pregnancy sacs and foetuses. At eight weeks we perform another pregnancy scan to check for the presence of a fetal heartbeat on ultrasound scan.

In the event that you don’t become pregnant our egg donation co-ordinator will discuss with you your plans for further treatment if desired.

What are my chances of having a baby from egg donation treatment?

Egg donation carries one of the highest success rates of all fertility treatments. This is due to the selection of young donors, many with proven fertility.

The chance of having a live born baby from this treatment is 50-60% per cycle.

Our in house programme live birth rate is 65%.

Speak to our team