Egg (oocyte) donation

Oocyte donation is a technique of medically assisted procreation which is prohibited in Switzerland.

Who could be concerned by oocyte (egg) donation ?
Some women, even of childbearing age, produce little or no oocytes (eggs), which makes it difficult or impossible to procreate.
These are women who do not have ovaries, or whose ovaries are not functional. The absence of ovaries is usually due to a  surgical or medical ablation subsequent to medical conditions. Ovarian dysfunction may also be of physiological (menopause) or genetic origin. It may also result from a premature stop of ovarian function (called primary ovarian failure or early menopause) .
For these women, the donation of oocytes from another woman is the only way to achieve pregnancy. Donor oocytes are fertilized in vitro with sperm from the recipient's partner, and the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus of the recipient. The uterus of the recipient woman must be functional.
Oocyte donation is also considered for couples who have tried unsuccessfully several cycles of IVF or ICSI , as well as for women who are carriers of a genetic disorder.

Where and how to access egg donation ?
Oocyte donation is prohibited in Switzerland, which is also the case in Germany, Austria, and Italy. In countries where it is permitted, the legislation is variable.
The anonymity of the donor is the rule in almost all countries except Sweden (since 1985), Finland and the United Kingdom (since 2005). The Netherlands and Belgium have introduced a double possibility : the donor can choose to remain anonymous or not. In France, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic and Poland, the donation of gametes ( sperm or oocytes) must remain anonymous, the laws of these countries establish that there be no link between the donor and the child born of the donation. No legal relationship can be established between them.

How to  go forward?
Many couples face the issue of considering the possibility of a pregnancy and birth from a donated egg.

The other option for becoming parents remains adoption. This procedure is legal and well established in Switzerland.

Couples reflecting on oocyte donation should discuss the medical, ethical, legal and psychological issues with experts. These questions are, for example, related to the couple's acceptance of this technique of procreation, the impact on the relationships to the child, the anonymity of the donation and the management of information in the entourage.

Given the complexity of this process, couples are encouraged to first contact a physician specializing in reproductive medicine and gynecological endocrinology. Thereafter, a meeting with a specialist of the psychological aspects of medically assisted procreation is recommended. If the partners persevere in the path of oocyte donation, they will then directly contact a specialized center abroad. It is essential that each couple confronted with egg donation acquire the best possible knowledge on this particular manner to conceive a child.

The physicians of the CPMA-Lausanne are available to answer any other questions you may have.

CPMA, Rue de la Vigie 5, 1003 Lausanne, tél: 021 321 15 80