What You Need to Know About Sperm Extraction and Egg Donation

The frustration and sadness of not being able to start a family of your own can be emotionally overwhelming. Genetics, lifestyle, and age can affect a couple’s ability to become pregnant.

doctor woman offering medical advices to a young couple in office

At Reproductive Fertility Center, our team’s primary focus is helping you achieve your family goals. Understanding what could be the cause of your inability to conceive and learning what options are available can help reduce some of the stress.

Fertility Testing

Before deciding which option will help you and your partner conceive, the first step is fertility testing. It is best for a couple under age 30 to see a fertility specialist if they have not been successful after a year of attempting to become pregnant, and if they are over age 30, they should see a specialist after six months without a successful pregnancy. Both partners should meet with a specialist to identify any issues contributing to the difficulty of conceiving.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Many couples who have difficulties conceiving choose to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process that involves extracting a woman’s eggs, fertilizing the eggs with her partner’s or donor sperm outside the body, and implanting the resulting embryo into the uterus. Women under 35 years of age are more likely to have a successful outcome using their own eggs during an IVF cycle. However, women who are over 35 years of age may have a decreased ovarian reserve, and it may be recommended to seek an egg donor for their IVF treatment.

Egg Donor

Women of any age may experience a diminished ovarian reserve that can impact their ability to conceive naturally. Egg donation is recommended if a woman is unable to produce healthy eggs, regardless of the underlying reason. While making the decision to use an egg donor can be difficult, it can significantly improve a woman’s chances of conception.

Testicular Sperm Extraction

In some cases, it is the male partner who may be infertile. Male infertility can be a result of different factors, including difficulties ejaculating or a low sperm count.

If you are experiencing difficulty conceiving because of male factor infertility, patients may be able to turn to testicular sperm extraction (TESE). This treatment can be performed alongside an IVF cycle. The sperm will be directly harvested from the testicles, in a process similar to a biopsy, and the extracted sperm will be used in a process known as ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) to fertilize the egg(s) retrieved from the female partner. Once an embryo is created, it will then be placed inside the woman’s uterus.