Egg Donation Information
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Who Should Consider Egg Donation?
Women Who Are Over 35
Statistically, the ovarian reserve notably decreases in women over the age of 35, along with their ability to conceive naturally. The ovarian reserve is an indicator of the number and viability of the eggs that are matured and released monthly. As the ovarian reserve decreases, a woman reaches advanced maternal age. At that point, IVF with the woman using her own eggs carries a significantly lower pregnancy rate. Depending on advice from a physician after a comprehensive evaluation, this may be the time for some (but not all) women to consider egg donation.
Women in Early Menopause
Unfortunately, even young women can experience a diminished ovarian reserve prematurely; this is also known as early menopause. A diminished ovarian reserve can be caused by a series of factors, and it can affect women of all ages. Women experiencing early menopause may consider egg donation as a solution.
Women With a Genetic Disease
In specific cases, being a carrier for a genetic disease that may impact the viability of a woman’s embryos is a strong reason to consider using an egg donor. Additionally, some genetic diseases can be passed on from a woman to her offspring; in these cases, a woman may choose egg donation as a way of avoiding the risk of passing along any diseases. Thus, by using an egg donor with a healthy genetic background, the risk of a genetic disease being passed from mother to child is significantly reduced. Also, most genetic disorders are able to be diagnosed in embryos.
Egg Donor IVF Process
Choosing an Egg Donor
At Reproductive Fertility, we work with only the most qualified egg donors. We seek out healthy, physically fit, educated young women to donate eggs to women who desire to become pregnant. The intended mom’s journey begins by reviewing the donor options and selecting a candidate that she feel best suits the needs of her family. You can read more information on our donor screening process, whether you’re interested in either choosing an egg donor or becoming a donor yourself.
Both the intended mother and her egg donor will go through hormone treatments to prepare for the procedure. The intended mom will undergo a series of injections of estrogen and progesterone that are designed to thicken the endometrial lining; this prepares the uterus for the embryo.
We harvest the eggs from the donor when an ultrasound shows that the eggs have matured. We trigger ovulation in the donor and retrieve the eggs two days later. This process is relatively painless for the donor, who is sedated during the procedure.
Fertilization & Embryo Transfer
Once we retrieve the eggs, they are fertilized with sperm. The sperm can either be a partner’s sperm or donor sperm. The embryos are then incubated and closely watched. As they develop, the embryologist will be able to assess the viability of each embryo. We typically implant embryos three to five days after egg retrieval.
After about 10 days, we perform a blood test to determine if implantation was successful. This blood test measures the levels of hCG in the woman’s blood, which indicates pregnancy. We recommend that patients do not take an at-home pregnancy test before the blood test, as a false negative can occur. Once we have confirmed pregnancy, we will release the woman to the care of her chosen OB.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is IVF using an egg donor different from traditional IVF?
In traditional IVF, you are the egg donor. The hormones you initially take help your body produce eggs for harvesting. The only difference with egg donation IVF is that this step is performed by a donor. Otherwise, both processes are relatively similar.
Do I have to transfer all the embryos at once?
No. The decision is based on several factors. By choosing to transfer a single embryo, you are giving yourself the best possible chance for a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby. The goal at RFC is to help patients deliver one healthy baby at a time. However, there may be times when two or more embryos must be transferred to achieve a pregnancy. This will always be a joint decision between the patient, the physician, and the embryologist. Embryos that are not transferred can be cryopreserved and used for later transfers.
How much do IVF treatments cost?
The cost of your IVF treatment varies depending on a number of factors. You can find detailed price information on our IVF cost page.
Can we select the embryo’s gender?
Yes, your embryo’s gender can be genetically detected. Additionally, most chromosomal abnormalities can be genetically detected before your embryo is implanted, using the same technique.