While the America Institute of Reproductive Medicine – Alabama (AIRM) is not an egg or sperm bank, we do offer donation services for third-party reproduction procedures. Birmingham reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Cecil A. Long has assisted thousands of infertile patients throughout his career. The phrase third-party reproduction means the use of donor eggs, sperm, or embryos to achieve pregnancy. The recipients of those select gametes will then undergo fertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Dr. Long performs egg retrievals and egg transfers at the Brookwood campus. We can help you discover more about this life-giving treatment option at AIRM.
Types of Donations
If problems with a woman’s eggs make it impossible for her to become pregnant, donor eggs can be used in IVF treatment to achieve pregnancy. Women who do not want to pass certain genetic conditions on to their children may also use donor eggs.
Some patients use egg donors they know, such as family members or close friends. Others work with egg donation agencies to find donors, many of whom prefer to remain anonymous. Although women who use egg donation will not be genetically related to their child(ren), they will be able to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
Donor sperm is used by patients who do not have a male partner, or by couples whose male partner has a very low sperm count, blocked sperm ducts, or problems with sperm production. Sperm donors are thoroughly screened by sperm banks for communicable diseases. In addition, their sperm is quarantined for 6 months until sexually transmitted disease testing is complete.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), sperm donation has been used for more than 100 years. The use of donor sperm among couples with male factor infertility has decreased in recent years due to the effectiveness of ICSI, which injects one sperm directly into an egg to increase the chance of fertilization and successful pregnancy.
Embryo Donation & Adoption
When patients have IVF treatment, there may be more fertilized eggs (embryos) created than the individual or couple will use. Some may choose to donate their embryos to other patients experiencing infertility, rather than storing, discarding, or donating their extra embryos to scientific research. Embryo donors may be known to the adoptive parent(s) or remain anonymous.
Patients may consider embryo adoption if they are carriers of genetic disorders and do not wish to pass it on, or are unable to conceive using their own sperm and/or eggs. While they would not be genetically related to their child(ren), embryo adoption makes it possible for the intended parents to be involved in their child’s growth and development from the earliest stages.
"After 8 years of infertility, including 7 miscarriages, 2 pre-term labors, failed inseminations and multiple failed IVF--traveling all over the country to see the "best" fertility specialists, we met Dr. Long. As I type this, I hear my twin daughters playing in the background, and I have tears in my eyes."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Aug 21, 2011
"Dr. Long and his entire team at AIRM are a special group of people. They truly care about each of their patients and make us all feel like we are the only ones in the practice. They care about us and their goal is to help make miracles happen - which they do every day. I previously went to another clinic in Birmingham and I have to say the patient experience is night and day in every way possible. From the front desk, to billing, to patient care - this group has been such a blessing. I am so grateful to have a practice with a brilliant Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Karen Hammond, to help guide us through our infertility struggles. Dr. Hammond and Dr. Long are the perfect pairing and I can't say enough good things about AIRM."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jun 05, 2019
"Dr Long was able to diagnose the cause of my infertility, treat it with the required surgery, and perform 1 IUI to achieve pregnancy. The whole process was so quick but also done with such kindness and care. Once pregnancy was achieved he monitored it so closely and it felt like he cared as much as I did. I felt completely safe in his care. And his entire staff is wonderful! They knew my husband and I by name. Can’t say enough good things!"- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jun 04, 2019
"Dr. Long and AIRM truely care about their patients. Their reproductive clinic shows kindness and empathy to patients in an unparalleled manner. Staff members quickly respond to questions and attend to each patient's individual needs."- Anonymous / RateMDs / Jun 03, 2019
"10 years of infertility and multiple doctors - My husband and I saw other fertility specialists both in Birmingham and around the country before going to see Dr. Long. We had been told that we needed an egg donor and possibly a sperm donor by 2 other Drs., but Dr. Long said he felt like we could get pregnant with our own eggs/sperm. He was absolutely right! I'm listening to my 3 year old twins as I type this!! We saw his partners, Dr. Allemond and Dr. Honea, for procedures that fell on the weekends, and I felt comfortable with them as well. I've yet to meet a former patient of Dr. Long who didn't end up having a baby."- Anonymous / Vitals / Apr 10, 2013
In fertility treatment, surrogacy is an option for individuals or couples who are unable to carry a pregnancy. A surrogate is a woman who carries and delivers a baby on behalf of its intended parents. In gestational surrogacy, the gestational carrier agrees to have the intended parents’ embryo(s) transferred into her uterus, and will carry and deliver their child. In this arrangement, the gestational carrier is not genetically related to the resulting child(ren). The intended parent(s) and the surrogate should seek counseling from a mental health professional who is familiar with the complex psychological and emotional issues related to the surrogacy arrangement.
Who should consider using a donor or a surrogate?
- Men or women who are known carriers of genetic conditions and do not want to pass them on to their child(ren)
- Women who were born without ovaries, have premature ovarian failure, or who have reached menopause
- Women with medical problems in their uterus, who were born without a uterus, who have had hysterectomies, or who currently have medical conditions that make pregnancy impossible or very risky
- Men with azoospermia or very low sperm count, blocked sperm ducts, or sperm quality problems
- Men or women who have been treated for cancer or other serious diseases using radiation or chemotherapy that has damaged their fertility
- Women or couples who have experienced several unsuccessful cycles of IVF due to poor egg or embryo quality
To begin the egg donation process, both the donor and the recipient take birth control pills to synchronize their menstrual cycles. While the egg donor takes stimulation medication, the donor egg recipient takes hormonal medication to prepare her uterus for pregnancy. The recipient is monitored with labs and sonograms (typically 2 – 4 times during the cycle) to evaluate endometrial development. Medications might be adjusted during this time frame.
On the day of the donor’s egg retrieval, the intended male parent (IP) will be asked to provide a specimen to use for IVF. The donor eggs are then fertilized using the male partner’s sperm or donor’s sperm in a laboratory using IVF. Over the next few days, embryos are monitored by the embryologist for growth and development. 3 – 5 days after fertilization, the most promising embryos are transferred to the recipient’s uterus, where they will hopefully implant and grow into a healthy pregnancy.
Egg Donation Risks
The risks involved in egg and embryo donation are comparable to those involved in traditional IVF. Sperm donation presents minimal health risks to the recipient, since the sperm donor is thoroughly screened and the sperm is quarantined prior to donation to ensure it is disease free.
Donation and surrogacy can be emotionally or psychologically challenging for patients and their families. Counseling by professionals who are experienced in providing support to fertility patients can be very beneficial. Partnering with a surrogate or gestational carrier involves some legal risks related to the complex contracts used to define the relationships and outcomes. Prospective parents should seek advice from lawyers who are experienced in the field of third-party reproduction.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 30 Minutes
- Average Procedure Time
- 15 Minutes
- Post-op Follow-up
- 1 Week
Discover More About Donation
Whether you are thinking of donating your eggs for couples needing treatments or want to learn more about other infertility procedures, we would like to talk to you. Please call and schedule an appointment with our board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at your earliest convenience. We can help provide more information about donations at AIRM.