Once the eggs have been collected from a donor, they are placed in small dishes and kept in an incubator for the remainder of the day. A prepared semen sample from the egg recipient’s partner is then placed with the eggs and the dishes are left in the incubator overnight to allow fertilisation to take place. All being well, by the following morning there should be signs that fertilisation has occurred with embryos starting to form.

Fertilised eggs are embryos that should divide and develop; ready to be transferred into the uterus (womb) of the recipient several days after fertilisation has occurred.

The embryo transfer

Embryo transfer takes place three to five days after egg collection, when the best one or two embryos are selected by the embryologist and placed in the womb of the recipient. During this procedure an ultrasound scan is used to guide and place the embryos to where they have the highest chance of implantation. Guidelines allow the transfer of a maximum of two embryos; the decision regarding the number to be transferred ultimately lies with the clinical team.

If you have given your consent to do so, any remaining embryos are assessed for suitability to be frozen for the couple, should they decide to add to their family in the future.

Embryos and blastocysts

Life begins as two, then four, then eight-cell embryos.

The cells of the embryo keep dividing on a daily basis until they reach a cluster of cells. At this stage, the embryo becomes a blastocyst. Transferring a blastocyst usually takes place on Day 5 after egg collection – an ideal stage of development that gives the recipient the very best chance of becoming pregnant.

When will the recipient know if she is pregnant?

After the embryo, or blastocyst, has been transferred to the recipient, she will have around 14 days – the ‘two week wait’ – until they find out whether or not treatment has been successful, and she is pregnant.

Generally, there is a 60-70% overall chance of the recipient conceiving, using the egg donation and any others from the process that she decided to freeze. We will keep you informed along the way and tell you how many eggs and embryos there are and whether or not they resulted in a pregnancy.

We will also let you know whether or not a baby was born as a result of your incredibly generous egg donation.