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Are egg donation and embryo donation the same thing?


Although both terms are similar, egg donation and embryo donation are two completely different assisted reproduction treatments. Egg donation consists of fertilisation through the donation of eggs from an anonymous donor.

According to data from the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), currently, almost 1/3 of all highly complex assisted reproduction cycles performed in Spain correspond to an egg donation programme. The SEF affirms that “the egg donation programme is the one with the best results in terms of pregnancy and live births”.

Embryo donation, on the other hand, is when embryos are transferred using anonymous donor embryos.

These donated embryos are from patients who did not need to use them in their own treatment. This is because, in an in vitro fertilisation cycle, several embryos are incubated simultaneously. Amongst those embryos that reach the blastocyst stage, one is transferred to the patient and the remaining embryos are frozen for later use. If the patient falls pregnant, she can donate these embryos. Although both treatments are part of the Pregnancy and Birth Guarantee Plans, the techniques used are different. In the following post, we will explain in detail what they consist of. 


The main differences between egg donation and embryo donation are that, while in the first case it is necessary to fertilise the egg in the laboratory until the blastocyst is obtained and then transferred, in the second case a previously frozen embryo is transferred. 


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Thanks to Egg donation treatment, women who cannot get pregnant with their own eggs can get pregnant with an anonymous donor. The success rates of egg donation treatments are very high. For example, at Ovoclinic:

80% success rate in clinical pregnancy and beta hCG in women with an average age of 41.3 years and with the transfer of 2 blastocysts.

One of the advantages when it comes to egg donation treatment is having a large donor bank. In this case, Ovoclinic collaborates with Ovobank. 

This entity is the first egg bank in Europe and, in addition to having a large pool of donors, it complies with rigorous selection protocols. This helps to optimise the treatment.

As our specialists advise, egg donation should be the treatment you should seek if you are a woman with:

  • Insufficient ovarian reserve or quality.
  • Early menopause.
  • Repeated miscarriages due to poor oocyte quality.
  • Previous failed treatments due to poor oocyte quality.
  • Genetic diseases.


Ovoclinic carries out the donor selection at two levels:

  1.  Ovoclinic looks for a donor who is compatible with the blood group of the patient or the couple. We also look for physical characteristics similar to those of the recipient. In this case, Ovoclinic has an innovative tool: Ovomatch. Thanks to this application, it is possible to:
  • Find the most similar donor to the mother due to facial recognition technology.
  • A Genetic Compatibility Test (CGT) can also be carried out to reduce the risk of the baby developing genetic diseases.

In the second phase, a specialised team makes sure that the egg donor meets the following requirements:

  • Be between 18 and 33 years years old, although the law establishes a maximum age of 35.
  • Psychological evaluation.
  • No personal or family history of serious hereditary diseases.
  • No history of gynaecological pathology.
  • Not to be a carrier of infectious diseases.
  • Genetic studies to rule out more than 30 recessive diseases, including the most frequent in the population.

    One of the biggest fears that our patients tell us when they resort to oocyte donation is whether their baby will look like them. As we reminded you in this post, there are studies that show that the baby can indeed inherit something from the pregnant mother due to epigenetics.



There are two types of embryo donation:

  1. Double donation, in which donor eggs and sperm are used. The embryos obtained from fertilisation are transferred to the patient, who will carry the pregnancy to term.
  2. Embryo adoption, in which the embryos are frozen and no prior fertilisation is required.

Embryo donation is indicated for:

  • Heterosexual couples in which both have fertility problems.
  • When there is a genetic incompatibility.
  • Single women with insufficient or poor-quality ovarian reserve.
  • Implantation failures or repeated miscarriages.
  • ROPA method where the eggs of both mothers cannot be used.


Patients who want to donate their embryos to other couples must meet the following requirements:

  • The eggs must come from a woman under 35 years of age, in order to have a high chance of gestation.
  • Negative serology
  • Cariotipo normal.

At Ovoclinic, in the case of embryo donation, we also aim to achieve the greatest possible resemblance with the donors, as well as the blood group compatibility. However, this physical resemblance, as exact as that achieved in egg donation, is not possible.

We hope we have solved your doubts about egg donation and embryo donation. For more information, you can do it in our ebook, download it! We invite you to follow us on our social networks Instagram, Facebook, Twitter y Linkedin.

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