The major indication for use of donor oocytes is premature ovarian failure, either primary or secondary. Causes of premature ovarian failure that are potentially amenable to oocyte donation include surgical oophorectomy, irreversible gonadal damage after certain regimens of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, Turner syndrome and other chromosomal disorders causing gonadal dysgenesis. In addition, oocyte donation might be employed to avoid the risk of transmission of a genetic disorder in cases in which the carrier status of both partners is known.
Donor oocyte IVF success rates were reported to be similar in women with or without primary ovarian failure, despite recognisable differences in recipient age and degree of male factor infertility.
Oocytes for research may come from a wider range of sources:
1. Women undergoing infertility treatment. Oocytes from such women could be surplus to their fertility treatment, or they could be immature oocytes that are unsuitable for fertilisation or have failed to fertilise following IVF;
2. Women undergoing medical procedures such as the removal of ovaries. These procedures may yield immature oocytes that can be used for research;
3. Women not undergoing any form of medical treatment i.e. healthy women who undergo ovarian stimulation in order to provide oocytes specifically for research;
4. Cadavers and aborted foetuses, which may provide immature oocytes for research; and