One in six Australian couples will have a fertility issue at some point in their lives and one in 10 couples will have trouble conceiving their second child. You are not alone.
Don’t panic, your fertility journey doesn’t have to be an express service straight to IVF. Some simple changes can improve your chance of conceiving naturally.
It's important to remember the emotions, worries and thoughts you are currently trying to deal with are valid and common. You are not alone. Read on
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The World Health Organisation predicts that infertility will be the third most serious health condition in the 21st Century
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For some people, the opportunity to use donated eggs, sperm or embryos presents their only chance to have a baby. Although the medical procedures involved are relatively straightforward, there’s the potential for many complex legal and emotional issues on all sides that need to be carefully considered before you make the decision to go ahead with this treatment option.
All donors need to be tested for infectious diseases before the cycle and then again at the end of the recommended four month quarantine. Tests include HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cytomegalovirus and human lymphotropic virus (a rare cause of cancer of the lymph nodes).
Although quarantining gametes is not mandatory, we recommend it as best practice for medical reasons. We understand, however, that some patients are willing to accept the risk of infection and will waive the quarantine in order to proceed immediately with treatment.
There are many reasons why you might need to use eggs donated by another woman to have children. You may have experienced premature menopause, perhaps your ovaries were affected by chemotherapy or a serious illness or maybe testing after recurrent failed IVF cycles shows your egg quality is poor and unlikely to lead to a baby.
The decision to use donor eggs or to become a donor is a complex one, with lifelong implications. At Genea we acknowledge and respect that all participants presenting for this treatment have their own unique circumstances and needs.
Because of the intense hormone treatment required to collect eggs, egg donation is a serious step for anyone to consider. Sometimes donors come from the community - women who have a family of their own and wish to share that joy with another. More often, the donor is known to the recipient - a friend, sister, or cousin. In either case, Genea requires that the donor and recipient couple undergo counselling before the procedure begins.
We recommend that egg donors ideally be under 35 years of age and have already completed their families. This is so that in the rare event of a complication occurring it does not jeopardise the donor’s own chances of having a family; and secondly, to ensure that her desire to become a mother has already been met.
You will need to be aware that there are certain circumstances where Genea will not be able to provide treatment. These are:
In every other situation, it is up to the treating doctor to determine, in consultation with you, if the donor participants are suitable for your treatment. Genea counsellors and nurses are not gatekeepers to treatment, but at times they may raise concerns or special considerations with the donor, the recipients and the treating doctor*.
Egg donation is an extremely generous act from one person (the donor) to another (the recipient). In Australia, it is illegal to pay someone to be an egg donor. They voluntarily give their own eggs for the wellbeing and happiness of another person.
* Genea accredited doctors are independent and not employees of Genea. If you would like a second opinion about your treatment, you may want to consider consulting another Genea Fertility Specialist.
Donor sperm might be your only option of having a baby if the male partner in the relationship has no sperm of his own, if you’re in a same-sex relationship or if you’re a single woman.
At Genea, we are currently working with Fairfax Cryobank to source donor sperm for our patients. Unfortunately, there is a waiting list for sperm from Fairfax Cryobank. This is due to the fact that sperm donors available to Australian patients are limited because of our identification laws. In Australia, donor conceived children are entitled to know the identity of their biological parents, if they so wish, once they reach the age of 18. All donors must agree to have their identity released when any offspring turn 18, regardless of whether the donor is Australian or not.
You can also have treatment with Genea using a so-called known sperm donor. Your donor can be a friend you've known for some time or someone you have recruited online. Regardless, they must also agree to have their identity released when any offspring turn 18.
We will not go ahead with treatment using sperm where the identity of the donor is not available to be released to any resulting offspring.
Genea does not refuse treatment to anyone because of marital status or sexual orientation.
Here's more information about the NSW Legislation surrounding donor eggs, sperm and embryos (gametes).
Counselling is an important part of any IVF cycle at Genea.
If your egg or sperm donor is known, they will meet with your Genea Fertility Specialist. Your Fertility Specialist will spend time in private with your donor (and their partner if appropriate). If there are no obvious medical, psychological or social reasons why she or he would be unsuitable, your Genea Fertility Specialist will refer all of you to our counsellors.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines stipulate that:
Counselling before treatment using donated gametes is required at all IVF clinics in Australia, as outlined by RTAC.
Before the treatment for egg retrieval or sperm collection and IVF takes place, all the people directly involved will be required to attend counselling sessions with the Genea counsellor, including a session with both the recipient couple, the donor (and his or her partner if they have one) present together.
Counselling helps all parties involved in the process to understand the implications of the proposed treatment and how it will affect the donor, the recipients, the donor’s partner, their families and any children born as a result of the treatment. Educational and psychological counselling specifically covers the feelings of the non-genetic parent and the donor, and the perceptions of the needs of the offspring throughout childhood and adolescence.
If you are planning to use donor sperm or donor eggs sourced from a sperm or egg bank, you (and your partner if you have one) will also need to speak with our counsellors.
Our specialised fertility counsellors are here to help you, so do not hesitate to contact us on for further information at any stage of your journey.
Eggs and sperm, like most human tissues, can carry diseases. Donors should be tested for disease when they donate, however, a negative test is not conclusive, as some diseases take many months to show up in blood tests.
The best way to solve this issue is to freeze sperm, eggs and embyros for four months and then retest the donor. If that test is negative, the gametes are considered disease-free.
We can understand that not everyone wants to wait four months before having treatment. If that’s the case, your Genea specialist will try to ensure the donor is healthy and does not have an increased risk of passing on a serious medical condition, but normally it is not possible to be certain of this. Genea takes no responsibility for any diseases contracted by the recipient from the transferred eggs. Sperm must be quarantined for four months before using it in insemination or IVF.
If you’ve reached a point in your fertility treatment where your Fertility Specialist has advised you to consider using an egg donor in order to help you conceive we recommend that you try to find someone with whom you share a close and trusting relationship to undertake this journey with you.
The majority of egg donation treatments at Genea happen because of the help of a close friend or relative, such as a sister or a cousin.
It might be useful to note that the more people who know of your need for an egg donor the more chance there is of someone offering to help. It is important that the person who helps you is not dependent on you. For example, it should not be someone who works for you. Also, we have a firm policy at Genea that we will not facilitate egg donation from a daughter to her mother.
We do understand that for some people the option of donation from a friend or relative is not possible. The next step is to consider recruiting someone unknown to you. Thinking about involving a third party in such an intimate aspect of your lives will understandably raise many anxieties for you as a couple. It is important that you both are completely comfortable with this. We at Genea can not in any way act as an agent for you or your egg donor. It’s a personal decision and one that you must be prepared to take complete responsibility for.
To find a potential donor you might turn to the Internet:
or advertise in a family orientated publication such as Sydney’s Child
While it’s not our policy to encourage you to enlist a stranger to help you, we can, from our knowledge of the experience others have had, highlight some of the issues you should consider should this be a path you choose to take.
When making contact with a potential donor (and there are people who are genuinely looking to help), you should protect your privacy until you are relatively confident that the donor is genuine and if the ethnicity of the donor is important to you, be sure to specify it from the start.
Suggestions others have made include:
Balancing work and IVF
Read the article
Are you looking for specific information about treatment options? Our Fertility Advisors are more than happy to help point you in the right direction. Give them a call, send them an email, or scroll down to the footer to see if one is available on Live Chat now.