Embryo donation programme

Which couples is the embryo donation programme aimed at?

For couples who, in addition to oocytes, also need sperm, as in cases where the male partner is diagnosed with azoospermia; Embryolab operates an Embryo Donation programme. Embryos for this programme come from donor oocytes and are fertilised with sperm selected by the couple from a certified sperm bank
The Embryo Donation programme is for couples with a history of:
• premature menopause or pre-menopause
• repeated failure of IVF
• a history of miscarriages
• a history of poor quality oocytes
• a history of hereditary disease
• no response to ovarian stimulation treatments
• advanced age- for women over 40


How are the donors tested?

Donor candidate, in order to be accepted in the programme, must be under 30 years old, healthy, good looking, without significant medical or family history. External appearance (hair colour, eye colour, height, weight) is recorded in order to facilitate finding the appropriate donor for each recipient.

Donor candidates are tested at 5 levels:

Information: The candidate donor is informed of the programme’s requirements, the medication they need to follow for the process of egg collection, the potential risks and the legal framework.

Detailed history: A very detailed history of their past will be completed for each donor, including lifestyle, family and level of education.

Medical examination: Donor candidates undergo a range of haematological and genetic tests in order to ascertain that they are in good physical and reproductive health. These examinations cover:
• infectious diseases (Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, VDRL, HIV I and II)
• Blood type and Rhesus type
• General Blood
• Check for anaemia
• Testing for Cystic Fibrosis
• Hormonal control
• Test of coagulation mechanisms
• Pap Smear
Finally, they undergo a vaginal ultrasound examination to determine the accurate position and function of their ovaries.

Genetic testing
The genetic testing of all potential egg donors is a very important part of their screening at
Embryolab. The aim is to maximise the chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy

All potential donors go through a series of steps:
Qualitative in-depth and one-to-one interviews are conducted with all egg donors by
specialised personnel and include a detailed family history. Potential egg donors with a family
history of disorders such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or various cancers are excluded.

Karyotype testing is performed as part of the initial screening of egg donors. Less than 5%
of all healthy individuals are carriers of a chromosomal abnormality, but may transmit a
chromosomal defect through their gametes to the resulting embryos. The result is an
increased risk for miscarriages or a chromosomally affected baby. All potential egg donors
carrying a chromosomal abnormality are excluded.

Thalassaemia and Cystic Fibrosis are two of the most frequent gene disorders found in the
Caucasian population. Despite being healthy, a carrier of one of these gene disorders has a
50% chance to transmit the gene defect to her/his child. In case the partner is also a carrier,
there is a 25% risk of an affected baby. All egg donors are routinely tested for Thalassaemia
and Cystic Fibrosis. Potential donors diagnosed to be carriers are excluded.

For specific gene disorders: Different ethnic groups tend to be carriers of specific hereditary
diseases. Genetic tests for specific gene disorders such as Fanconi anaemia, Tay-Sachs,
Fragile X and haemophilia, may be performed based on the donor’s or the couple’s history
and ethnic background.

Extensive genetic carrier screening: Each healthy individual may carry a number of rare
gene mutations. Partners carrying mutations in the same gene may have a 25% risk of delivering
an affected baby. The potential donor’s genetic carrier screening involves the diagnosis of
multiple mutations, involving several hundred genetic diseases. The aim of this extensive test is
to reduce the risk of an affected baby to a minimum and protect the health of your future family.

Psychological Screening:
Embryolab applies the MMPI-2 psychometric test to all egg donors!
The psychological screening of donors seeks to investigate and draw conclusions about the cognitive and emotional stability and functionality of their personality. The MMPI-2 test is carried out by a qualified clinical psychologist at Embryolab and consists of two parts: the clinical interview and the psychometric personality test.

The potential egg donors are asked about: demographics, personal and family medical
history, drugs or alcohol abuse, sexual problems, education, vocational training, interpersonal
relationships, social activities, living conditions.

All egg donors are required to fill out the: “Multistage Minnesota Personality Questionnaire
MMPI-2”. This test is acknowledged as the most valid and reliable personality test worldwide.

The test lasts for 1 1/2 – 2 hours and evaluates (i) the level of sincerity of the person who
answers (i.e. whether the person answers truthfully or not) and (ii) the symptoms of
personal and social dysfunction (i.e. to what extent the person who answers possesses a
cognitive and emotional stability at personal and interpersonal level).

The psychological assessment and suitability of the potential donor is considered as
important as their clinical suitability. Embryolab is the only fertility clinic in Greece and one
of the few in Europe to apply psychological screening using specific psychometric tests.

An additional 20% of the potential egg donors are excluded after the MMPI test.

Only 40-50% of candidate donors successfully pass the five stages of evaluation and go onto the list of Embryolab donors.

What is the legal framework in Greece?
The law for the donation of oocytes and embryos in Greece states that:
· Women aged up to 50 years may benefit from donation.
· Donation should be on an anonymous basis.

Before the process starts, both the donor and the recipient sign the relevant consent forms as provided by law.
Under current Greek legislation, the process of oocyte donation is confidential, both for the donor and for the recipient.

Oocyte collection procedure:
If a candidate is assigned as a suitable donor, ovarian stimulation treatment is started (for 10-12 days) to develop the follicles. When big enough (up to 18 mm), the oocytes will be harvested. The duration of the procedure is approximately 10 minutes and always takes place under a light anaesthetic. The egg donors usually recover after 30-60 minutes and can return to their normal pace of life.
There is no risk to egg donors, as the chances for their own future pregnancies are unaffected.


• The Unit conducts detailed medical examination for the selection of the most compatible donor.
• Donation only by a compatible donor after stringent checks.
• The selection of donors takes into account both the phenotypic characteristics of the recipients and their blood type.
• Intensive genetic testing maximises the chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
• Donors are selected with extreme care and subject to psychological information provided by the Unit’s experienced psychologist.