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Donate your eggs today so Gay culture can exist tomorrow.

Egg Donation

If prospective mothers can't produce a healthy egg for fertilization, they can turn to donor eggs or embryos. One of the most significant advances in reproductive medicine in the past decade has been the advent of egg donation, a type of in vitro fertilization that allows the eggs of one woman to be given to another. The process gives women with previously poor or even hopeless fertility prognoses an excellent chance to become pregnant and subsequently deliver a healthy baby. This also gives lesbians the chance to reproduce by donating their viable eggs to these unfortunate infertile women. Egg donation is very effective, producing the highest success rate of all infertility. In cases where the recipient’s uterus is found to be normal (by pelvic exam and ultrasound) and the egg donor is less than 34 years old, a viable pregnancy rate of nearly 60% per treatment cycle is possible. In addition about 70% of recipient couples will have enough good quality extra embryos to freeze for another attempt later on.

If infertile women decide to use an egg donor, they can find one through a fertility clinic. They will usually be able to choose based on physical characteristics, ethnic background, educational record, and occupation. Age is a factor; most donors are between 21 and 29 years old. The extensiveness of the application and screening process varies from clinic to clinic. The process generally consists of interviewing, background checks, psychological tests, social, sexual, and family histories, and medical and genetic screening. A pelvic examination is performed (including a pelvic ultrasound), blood tests to look for infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, Venereal Disease, Blood Group and Rhesus Factor and HTLV-I), cervical cultures for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and hormone blood tests to predict ovarian response to the fertility drugs. The psychological screening includes an interview with a therapist experienced in this area and may include a specialized personality inventory test called the MMPI. The clinics require photographs, detailed descriptions of physical characteristics, as well as information about personality traits, interests, hobbies, education and occupation. They wish to determine that you come from good genetic stock; that you are physically attractive, intelligent, emotionally stable, heterosexual, and disease free. The recipients want as many of their socially desirable qualities to be reflected in the donor as possible in both physical appearance and personality. While donors receive a substantial fee for their services, they are all very motivated to help couples achieve their dream of giving birth to a healthy baby. In our case, we are also motivated to contribute to the gay cause, insuring that the gay gene will survive through the next generation.

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A Common Treatment Process

It is best to think of the egg donation process as an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle split between two women, the donor and the recipient. Although the process and procedures vary from clinic to clinic, the following scenario is a common one.

You will both take birth control pills for a few weeks which serves to synchronize the menstrual cycles, and get both of them to the "starting gate" at the same time. You will receive an injection of Depo-Lupron or receive daily injections of fertility drugs (such as Follistim, Fertinex, Repronex, Gonal-F, Humagon, HMG or Pergonal) which help mature a group of eggs in your ovaries. Usually 7-12 days of fertility drugs are required before the eggs are mature.

The recipient takes estrogen in the form of an estradiol valerate injection twice a week. This estradiol is the same main estrogen normally produced by the ovaries. The recipient may also take progesterone, the only other hormone necessary to maintain pregnancy.

When your eggs are ready a further drug (Human Chorinoic Gonadotrophin) may be administered to trigger final maturation. Egg retrieval will be scheduled 36 hours after this drug is administered. Egg retrieval is a minor surgical procedure. It is generally preformed using intravenous sedation. Once sedated an ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina then an aspiration needle is directed through a guide along side the probe and inserted through the upper part of the vagina directly into the ovary. The needle is guided into each follicle for aspiration. The follicle fluid is withdrawn and the egg, if present, is identified and incubated. A needle guided by ultrasound is used to pass through the top wall your vagina and into the fluid filled egg sacs ("follicles") in your ovary. This may sound complex but is actually quite easy and causes little or no pain, thanks to the anesthesia. You should be ready to go home between one and four hours after the procedure is completed.

The fluid removed from the follicles is given immediately to embryologists who use their microscopes to find the otherwise invisible eggs. The eggs are usually inseminated a few hours after retrieval with sperm from the recipient’s partner or with sperm from a pre-selected sperm donor. This is done by embryologists who are also responsible for culturing the fertilized eggs (now called embryos) until the time of transfer to the recipient’s uterus.

All suitable eggs will be inseminated to attempt fertilization. All fertilized eggs will be grown for two days from the time of egg collection. Many clinics freeze and store embryos for a minimum six-month quarantine period. This is primarily to insure that diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis are not carried by the embryo or given to the recipient. It is often a requirement that the donor must have repeat negative infection blood screens before the embryos can be released from quarantine for use by the recipient couple.

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Risks to Egg Donors

The occurrence of harmful side effects as a result of these procedures is infrequent. Nonetheless, we counsel all potential donors about important actual or potential risks. There is some risk of infection after the egg retrieval, risk of ovarian hyperstimulation and potential long-term health hazards of the fertility drugs. The latter risk is a theoretical one as thus far no increased risks of any type of cancer (including breast, ovary and uterine) have been reported. The drugs can cause short term allergic sensitivity, pain, irritation or swelling of the injection site, development of non-cancerous ovarian cysts, fluid retention, weight gain, blurred/disturbed vision, exaggerated mood swings, hot flashes, tiredness and a feeling of vagueness. These effects are usually reversible and relatively short-lived.

Occasionally, overstimulation of the ovaries can occur. This is generally characterized by enlargement of the ovaries accompanied by abdominal discomfort and/or pain. In severe cases, additional symptoms require hospitalization. The taking of blood sample can cause discomfort and/or development of bruising at the needle puncture site. Ultrasound guided retrieval can cause discomfort during or after the procedure. Puncture of blood vessels or organs during egg retrieval can lead to infection and scar tissue around the ovaries and fallopian tubes hence affecting your own fertility. This would only happen on rare occasions. It is nevertheless clear that we don’t yet know all there is to know about long range health problems from the egg donor process and won’t for many years to come. In recognition of this fact many clinics have a policy that young women should serve as egg donors a maximum of 6 times during their lifetime.

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Legal Questions

Because homophobia on the part of the recipients and clinics prevents you from disclosing your sexual preference, you may be concerned about the possibility of legal repercussions. Actually, it is not technically illegal for you to fail to disclose that you are gay. It is unlikely that either the clinic or the recipient would be able to successfully sue you should your sexual preference become known. To date no one has been sued for non-disclosure of sexual preference for either egg or sperm donation. The fact that sperm banks have had no such lawsuits filed in 50 years of sperm donation in this country is reassuring. And yet it remains true that anyone can sue just about anyone else for anything. We nevertheless believe the risk of a future legal complication from egg donation is very small. Although legal statutes vary state by state, generally donors sign away all rights and responsibility to any child born resulting from there donated eggs. Legislation has primarily been used to protect the rights of the recipient, but it also mean that your legal responsibility is negligible. The clinics themselves bear most of the legal responsibility for donor screening. It is important to remember that genetic causation of homosexuality has not yet been scientifically verified. There is no test for homosexuality. We none the less suggest that you are evasive or equivocal rather than untruthful about your sexual preference if possible. If the application or interview questions do force you to lie about your sexuality, it is highly unlikely that these clinics will be able to somehow discover that you are gay. If they did manage to find out, they would simply reject your application. The investigation of donor applicants is minimal.

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