Dr. Jain is truly an expert in the field of egg donation. He completed his training in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Southern California, the location of the first successful egg donation in 1987. He remained at USC for almost a decade as a tenured professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology during which time he published a landmark article in the Journal of the American Medical Association on egg donation in women over fifty years of age. More significantly, he helped to pioneer the next generation of egg donation utilizing frozen donor eggs. He was instrumental in creating one of the first frozen donor egg agencies in the world.
Egg donation allows women to become pregnant even when they lack eggs of their own, or their eggs are of poor quality. The technique is most commonly used in women who are unsuccessful after undergoing multiple cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), those with premature ovarian failure or elevated FSH levels, and those over the age of forty-three. The combination of young eggs and optimal preparation of both donor and intended mother makes egg donation a very successful fertility procedure.
The process of egg donation requires that the components of a single IVF cycle be divided between the donor and the intended mother. The donor undergoes the initial steps of IVF, including ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, and the intended mother undergoes the embryo transfer.
Traditionally both women’s cycles must be synchronized using a combination of birth control pills and Lupron. When the cycle begins, the donor is administered the medications required for a standard IVF cycle, while the intended mother takes a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. However, with recent improvements in embryo freezing, comparable pregnancy rates are now being observed between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in scheduling. Once the donor’s eggs are mature, they are retrieved using the standard trans-vaginal ultrasound-guided method of follicle aspiration. The sperm is provided by the intended mother’s partner (or by a donor) and fertilization takes place in the laboratory.
Alternatively, sperm can be shipped to Santa Monica and embryos created from donor eggs. The intended mother can then undergo the embryo transfer at a later time convenient to her with minimal hormonal treatment.
Typically the embryo transfer is scheduled 3 or 5 days later. The intended mother continues to take estrogen and progesterone through the end of the first trimester to mimic the hormones produced by the ovary in natural conception. At the end of the first trimester (twelve weeks gestational age, or approximately ten weeks after embryo transfer), the placenta produces the necessary hormones, and the estrogen and progesterone supplementation is no longer required. However, with recent improvements in embryo freezing, comparable pregnancy rates are now being observed between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in scheduling.
For more details, see The Egg Donation Cycle.