THE DONOR PROJECT
Australia’s leading natural health project helping couples create their unique families
Trying for a baby has become increasingly difficult for Australian couples. One in six Australian couples of reproductive age experience difficulties conceiving. Many are seeking medically assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injections) to enhance their conception possibilities.
But for other couples, neither natural conception nor ART/IVF prove successful using their own eggs and/or sperm. Both egg and sperm donation programs are becoming increasingly popular and offer a unique opportunity for heterosexual couples, gay couples or singles to become parents
At The Donor Project, we believe every woman deserves the opportunity to be a Mama and every man a Dad. The Donor Projects mission is to inspire and support intending parents to fulfil their dream of parenthood and create their unique family using donor eggs. We want to empower couples to make informed fertility choices and change the conversation around using donor eggs to encourage couples to think outside the square to help them get their baby sooner.
We guide you to find your perfect egg donor angel. Most importantly we prepare you physically and emotionally for pregnancy and becoming a family.
The Donor Project is designed to educate, empower and inspire couples to think beyond “infertility” and consider all the possibilities to fulfil their dream of becoming a parent, and to change the conversation around what it means to have a donor-egg conceived child.
The Donor Project has two very important aims:
1. We will help match you to your perfect egg donor angel
2. We will prepare you physically, mentally and emotionally for a successful conception & pregnancy. We want you and your body to be baby ready prior to donor egg transfer. The 12-week program is a combination of 12 on-line weekly modules jam-packed full of education material, information, nutritional and lifestyle advice for you to follow to ensure you are ready. We have done all the hard work for you! It includes 4 face-to-face consultations which can alternatively be conducted via Skype or Telehealth. Even though you are using donor eggs, you both still need to be at optimum health.
“Optimal health of both parents, prior to conception, is a major factor that will positively influence reproductive outcomes, a successful pregnancy and subsequent health of the baby”.
Dr Miranda Myles
Thinking about using an Egg Donor?
One in six Australian couples of reproductive age experience difficulties conceiving; they are trying alternative methods, including egg donation.
Egg donation offers women unsuccessful in using their own eggs, the opportunity of pregnancy, and the dream of creating their family. Egg donation is the process whereby another female donates her eggs to the female recipient, otherwise known as the intending parent, and has a success rate (defined as a live birth) quoted between 50-75%. The success rate is directly correlated with the age and health of the donor, the quality of sperm used and the subsequent quality of the embryos.
Finding an egg donor
It can be very difficult in Australia to find a donor. Most of the major IVF clinics will provide egg donation services, however they suffer long waiting lists and very few available donors.
It is generally a requirement that you find your own egg donor, ideally aged between 20- 33yrs old. Specific websites and FaceBook groups offer advertising space for a donor, but it can take months if not years to find a local one. In Victoria it is illegal to advertise for an egg donor without written permission from the Minister for health.
Under the Human Tissue Act 1982 (Vic), no person is permitted to publish an advertisement relating to the selling, buying or donation of tissue unless the advertisement is approved by the Victorian Minister for Health and contains a statement to that effect.
- There are places to advertise- specific websites, FaceBook groups, but it can take months if not years to find a local one, as there really is a distinct shortage. Being an egg donor is an enormous commitment and requires screening, appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, and taking medications, including hormones as the objective is to produce as many eggs as possible the recipient.
- In Victoria and for all Victorian residents, there is an additional problem- it is illegal for an Egg Donor or an Egg Recipient to advertise without written permission from the Minister for health. Under the Human Tissue Act 1982 (Vic), no person is permitted to publish an advertisement relating to the selling, buying or donation of tissue unless the advertisement is approved by the Victorian Minister for Health and contains a statement to that effect. Therefore, if you are advertising to receive or donate eggs, your add must be approved first; both donors and people looking for a donor will be breaking Victorian law if they publish an advertisement without the Minister’s approval. http://www.eggdonorangels.com.au/we-are-looking-for-an-egg-donor-angel/)
In Australia, all Egg Donors and their partners must attend one counselling session with the clinic’s counsellor. IP’s also attended one counselling session. Finally, the donor, the donor’s partner, and the recipient/s attend a combined counselling session
Australian egg donors are truly altruistic.
In Australia, egg donors are not paid for their services.
The IP’s cover all medical costs (IVF procedure, drugs, appointments, counseling etc..) and associated “reasonable, out-of-pocket” expenses due to the IVF procedure such as parking, time off work, babysitting, travel but there is nothing extra for their donation. These angels donate purely altruistically as it is illegal to buy or sell human tissue, including sperm, eggs and embryos. Being an egg donor is a huge commitment involving up to 20 hours of medical procedures, some which are invasive over many months (up to 5). It can be pretty tough to try to find someone prepared to go through the process in the first place (the IVF drugs, the anaesthetics, the egg collection, the emotional and physical trauma) to only have the basics covered. No cream on top. This is in stark contrast to overseas donors that have all the medical costs, and out of pocket costs covered, plus they are paid in addition for the egg donation. How much is dependent on the country, the service, the organization. You may not ever know how much they are paid. It is a business transaction, thus there are a greater number of donors available. For our first donor, our payment helped cover her University expenses. She gave me a cell to grow and create my beautiful child, and we helped her pay for her education. Business. Done.
Who needs an egg donor?
Using an egg donor may not be for everyone. It is an important decision to make, but the focus should be the end result; a happy, healthy baby that otherwise you may not have been able to conceive.
The need to use an egg donor Angel really is for any intending mum (or intending parents) unable to conceive using her own eggs.
Reasons for seeking an egg donor may include:
• Poor quality eggs and/or low AMH
• You are an older intending mum
• Previous unsuccessfully attempts at IVF treatments utilising your own eggs
• Experiencing premature menopause
• Carrying the risk of passing on a genetic disease and don’t want to pass this on
• Ovarian dysfunction due to cancer, chemotherapy or serious illness
• Absence of ovaries
• Same sex (male) parents
It’s ok to grieve.
Take a deep breath and know it is ok to feel sad, angry, scared, overwhelmed as you feel that you have lost your genetic link to your future child. But remember, family requires love, not DNA.
Is it my baby?
Yes, biologically, epigenetically & energetically, you are the Mum. It’s fascinating to consider that three different humans can come together to create one gorgeous, unique little human. When you receive a donor egg, you are getting one cell. That’s it, one cell. It may be the most precious gift you will receive, but it is still only one cell. One cell doesn’t make a baby. One cell doesn’t even make an embryo. It is up to the Mum and the Dad to develop that cell. That one cell requires beautiful good quality sperm to fertilise it, to divide and develop into 2 cells, 4 cells, 8 cells, a blastocyst. And then it needs Mum to grow, nurture and nourish it, to give it its vibe, its energy, its very essence.
Women who carry a child using a donor egg impart an important genetic gift to their children. Molecules known as MicroRNAs that are secreted in the mother’s womb can change the genetic information of the child. The microRNAs floating in a mother’s endometrial fluid change the embryo. Practically speaking, this means the carrying mother’s DNA influences the way the baby develops. Her genetic material essentially helps to “decide” which of her baby’s genes get turned on and off. Even more, it means the baby will acquire some DNA from the mother, even if the egg comes from another woman.
A new study from researchers at the Fundacion Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad and Stanford University suggests women who carry a child using a donor egg still impart an important genetic gift to their children. Molecules known as MicroRNAs that are secreted in the mother’s womb can change the genetic information of the child. The researchers proposed microRNAs floating in a mother’s endometrial fluid might change the embryo. Practically speaking, this means the carrying mother’s DNA influences the way the baby develops. Her genetic material essentially helps to “decide” which of her baby’s genes get turned on and off. Even more, it means the baby will acquire some DNA from the mother, even if the egg comes from another woman. No matter how she becomes pregnant, a woman performs an invaluable service by carrying the child. This new research suggests she also exerts a significant influence on her child’s genetics, development, and lifelong health. Definitely your baby!
You give to that baby something that only you can give- your energy, your blood. For 40 weeks you will help create its soul, its vibe, its very essence, and without that, there is no human. You give that baby so much more than your eyes. Eyes are merely a window to the soul, and given you help create the soul; it will have your eyes. You will be amazed at how many people tell you your baby looks like you. I promise.
And then there’s the microbiome. Did you know we are more bacteria than we are human cells? And that baby’s microbiome comes from only one place- you, the Mama. During a vaginal delivery, your baby travels down your birth canal and is exposed to your microbes. Your baby takes in the beneficial bacteria from you that subsequently colonizes its gut and establishes its microbiome. This bacteria shapes a newborns immune system, helping them fight off disease. Even if your baby is belly born via caesarean, your microbes can still be passed on to your little one via a process called Vaginal Seeding. Commensal bacteria present in breast milk and maternal areolar skin bacteria contribute to the early seeding of the infant’s gut.
Local (Australia) vs International
In a nutshell – the differences between local (Australia) versus international
There are pros and cons on each side of the argument and it is really important for Intending Parents (IP) to make an informed decision around some of the legal, financial and emotional costs involved.
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So I would love you to let me inspire your fertility and create your family. Ok, so what next? You are three steps away from starting to create your unique family-
- Register your interest to find out more about Our Donors & the 12-Week Program
- Complete the Screening Application form and return to us
- Book your 1/2 hour Telehealth session with Miranda
To help match you with your perfect donor I work collaboratively with an amazing team in Malaysia and your donor angel can be coming your way within 12 weeks. You have the choice of Caucasian or Asian Donors and all are aged between 20-30 yrs. The Caucasian donors are from Ukraine & Eastern Europe.
The donor angels undergo complete and comprehensive screening by our experienced medical team prior to acceptance into the program. Full medical examinations are conducted by our fertility specialists and assessments include full spectrum blood tests, follicle counts, ovarian health scans, hormone levels, AMH & blood type, sexually transmitted disease, HIV & hepatitis. They are also genetically and socially screened. The donors are also counselled to ensure she is suitable for egg donation and to ensure they clearly understand their responsibilities and are comfortable with the arrangement they are about to enter into. Once the IVF medications have begun, the donors are also required to have an Antral Follicle Count on day 2 of their cycle. This assesses how the donor will respond to the IVF medication and is quite unique to our program – we are the only service in Asia to do this as standard procedure. The team in Malaysia prevent the donors from having ‘back to back’ donations as many agencies do and insist that each donor has a rest cycle of at least 2-3 months between donations, with a maximum of 5 donations in total to ensure continued quality of donations.
12 Week Program Outline