Donor Programme

Family formation with the assistance of donated gametes such as eggs, sperm or embryos (combined eggs and sperm), is known as third party reproduction or as donor conception. Individuals or couples who receive the donation are called recipients and those who provide the donation are called donors. Donated eggs, sperm and embryos are needed in diverse situations such as when fertility is lost by medical conditions, advanced reproductive age and/or when recipients of donated gametes are either single or in same-sex relationships. Therefore, donor programmes allow an individual or couple the ability to achieve a pregnancy when it would otherwise be difficult or impossible. The following explains the different types of donor programmes that are available across Australia and New Zealand.

Egg Donation

donor programme same sex couple egg donation

Reasons for egg donation

Who can be an egg donor?

  • Family members, friends or acquaintances: women who are known to the recipient (the mother) or;
  • De-identified clinic recruited screened donors: women who are unknown to the recipient at the time of treatment but who are willing to release identifying information to a donor-conceived person in the future. These donors are also termed ‘open identity’ donors.

Typically, de-identified donors are recruited through clinic advertisements or in some Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions donated eggs are imported through international egg donation programs that meet Australian and New Zealand standards of donor programmes. These include standards of donor family limits and donors who agree to identity information release when a donor-conceived person reaches 18 years of age (or 16 years in WA).

Screening egg donors

The egg donation journey

01Identify an egg donor: this can be a family member, a friend or a clinic recruited de-identified screened donor.
02The egg donor takes specific drugs prescribed by a fertility specialist, to stimulate her ovaries. Multiple eggs are produced and the eggs are collected through a surgical intervention (egg retrieval or egg collection).
03The eggs are fertilised in the IVF laboratory using sperm provide from the recipient woman’s male partner or in the case of a single woman or same-sex couple, through donor sperm. Fertilised eggs are called embryos.
04A suitable embryo is chosen and transferred into the uterus of the recipient. In some cases, a surrogate mother may be involved to carry the pregnancy. If there are extra remaining embryos, these are stored for future use.
05Current legislation and ethical legislative guidelines in Australia and New Zealand allow for only altruistic gamete donation. This means that an egg donor must not be paid for her eggs but can be reimbursed her for reasonable out of pocket costs.
06Rights and responsibilities of both recipients and donors are outlined in state legislation and national guidelines and will be explained to you by your treating fertility team.

Sperm donation

sperm donation

Reasons for sperm donation

Who can be a sperm donor?

  • Family members, friends or men known from broader social networks: men who are known to the recipient.
  • De-identified screened clinic recruited donors: men who are unknown to the recipient. In compliance with Australian and New Zealand laws and ethical guidelines, at the time of their donation, de-identified donors must consent for release of their identifying information to donor-conceived people when that individual reaches 18 years of age (or 16 years in WA).

Sperm donor screening

Embryo donation

embryo donation

Reasons for embryo donation

Who can be an embryo donor?

Regulatory Frameworks across Australia and New Zealand