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Using Donor Embryos

An option for dual factor infertile couples
to achieve their dream of starting a family

Introduction to Using Donor Embryos

In cases where there are both female and male factor infertility problems, or where other approaches have previously been unsuccessful, there is an option to use Donor Embryos. This in essence, is where donor eggs and donor sperm are used to create embryos ready for transfer into the woman’s uterus to develop as in a normal pregnancy.

This is also a viable possibility for single women and same-sex female couples where there is a known female subfertility factor.  Sometimes patients who have completed their family and have frozen embryos in storage may wish to donate their remaining embryos for the treatment of others.  We shall discuss the most suitable options with you based on the availability of donor embryos at the time.

How to Get Started with Embryo Donation?

We can help you get started with this process by enabling you to review male and female donor profiles for you to select which donors you feel are the most appropriate match.  In the event donated embryos from another couple are chosen for use, the non-identifying profiles of the donating couple can also be shared with you.

Unless you have chosen to provide your own donors (who may be close friends or relatives), the identity of the donors provided through IVF London will not be made known to you, likewise; your name or any details regarding your identity will not be disclosed to the donors.

IVF London only use donors in accordance with stringent HFEA criteria. This means that donated eggs will usually be provided by women between the ages of 18 and 35 and sperm from men between 18-41 years of age. Both sperm and egg donors will have been required to undertake a series of health tests to ensure that they do not pass on any serious diseases or medical conditions to you or your baby, this includes HIV and hepatitis screening.

Donor Embryos Treatment

When you have selected your donor, the sperm will be ordered in a preserved (frozen) state. It will be thawed, washed and prepared just prior to combining it with the donor eggs in our laboratory at the clinic. In the event frozen donated embryos are being used then they will be thawed on the same day of the embryo transfer.

The woman may be required to undergo a schedule of medications to prepare her uterus for successful implantation during an embryo transfer procedure, similar to that used in a traditional IVF cycle in which the embryo is carefully placed back into her uterus.

Counselling for Partners

Counselling is a mandatory requirement for both partners and individuals at IVF London  when seeking treatment using donated embryos. This is a pre-treatment session that is required to help you understand the social, ethical and legal implications of receiving a donated eggs, sperm or embryos.

Withdrawing and Changing Consent

Both the sperm and the egg donors have a legal right to withdraw their consent for the use of their gametes up to the point of insemination. Likewise couples who have donated their embryos also have a legal right to withdraw their consent prior to the embryos being transferred.

Embryo Donation and the Law

IVF London is licensed and regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority under the terms of the HFEA Act 1990 to offer treatment using donated eggs and sperm.

It is the law that the woman receiving treatment, and her partner being treated with her, will be the legal parents of any child born as a result of donated embryo(s). Although the donors will both be the genetic parent of any child born, they will have no legal relationship to any child born nor have any legal rights over or obligation to any child born. In the same way any child born will have no legal relationship to, nor rights over and no obligation to either donor.


By law, the donors identifying details must be provided to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to be maintained on its confidential register. This also applies to donors who are from overseas. In April 2005, a new law came into force to remove anonymity from sperm, egg and embryo donors. This means that children conceived after this date as a result of such donation may, if they so desire, contact the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) when they are 18 years of age or older to receive identifying information about the donor.

What Happens After Undergoing Embryo Donation Procedure?

Once the embryos have been transferred into your uterus, you will be need to continue taking any drugs that have been prescribed in your treatment and wait 14-16 days before taking a pregnancy test to see if your treatment has been successful. You can continue your day to day activities but we recommend you refrain from any strenuous physical exercise and rest if you feel you need to. The clinic will confirm your pregnancy with ultrasound scans and blood tests before discharging you back to your own GP for antenatal care.

What Are the Side Effects and Risks to Using Donor Embryos?

This risks are similar to those outcomes of a traditional IVF cycle, including multiple births, ectopic pregnancies and miscarriage. Your consultant will discuss any risks that may be relevant to your individual history and circumstances and can answer any questions you may have.

If at any time you are concerned, please do contact the clinic for advice.

Why Choose Us?

Here are some facts about your fertility journey with us that we’d like to share with you:

Every evaluation and treatment plan is uniquely tailored to meet your individual needs

You will have access to leading professionals, with over 35 years combined expertise, providing you with confidence and reassurance in your fertility diagnosis and subsequent treatment

Our multidisciplinary team includes specialists in fertility, urology, nutrition, counselling, genetics, endocrinology, haematology and weight management to provide a comprehensive range of support as and when you need it

We will work with you closely to understand your individual circumstances, identify any problems and agree with you, the best course of action to help make your dream a reality

We will always be honest and open about your chances of success with treatment.

Your comfort and care is always our top priority

Our focus remains entirely on you as an individual, your unique needs and your wellbeing

All investigations and treatments are provided within our new state-of-the-art clinic based in Elstree which offers a spacious environment with comfortable surroundings, to enhance your care and experience. We offer investigations and scans at our satellite locations too.

Our friendly consultant-led team is here to support you at every step throughout your fertility journey

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