Does Your IVF Require An Egg Donor?
More than 12% of Americans are diagnosed with infertility each year. Luckily, IVF, or in vitro fertilization, has given many women, men, and couples hope to start a family. IVF is a complex process that requires the extraction of several mature eggs from the woman’s ovaries. Unfortunately, this may not always be the best or most available solution. An egg donor can provide healthy eggs to the recipient to increase the chances of success.
Why egg donation can change your life
With egg donation, another woman goes through the IVF process to create enough mature eggs for extraction. This woman is sometimes a relative or someone known to the IVF candidate. But in most cases, a donation clinic or service provides the eggs. Egg donation helps explicitly:
- Women who are unable to produce eggs due to conditions like primary ovarian insufficiency.
- Women with genetic factors can be passed onto the child.
- Poor quality eggs.
- Women over 40 or same-sex couples over 40.
In almost all cases, the woman or couple still have the biological male’s sperm and an intact uterus. Egg donation can bring about a host of questions. Asking the right ones can make a world of difference.
What does my egg donor look like?
Thinking about physical appearance sounds superficial, but this is a genuine concern. Potential parents understand the egg donor will not have the physical characteristics of the mother. However, the hopeful parents may want the child to be as close in physical appearance as possible. This is not a significant concern if the egg donor is a close family member. With egg donation and fertility clinics, the woman or couple will go through a database. Databases help recipients match eye color, hair color, ethnicity, and other factors.
What is the egg donor’s medical history?
The baby should be as healthy as possible upon birth and onward. A chosen egg donor should have a thorough medical test to rule out any conditions or diseases. The fertility clinic can help with physical exams, genetic testing, and assess medical history. In the case of a donor clinic, these tests should be done in advance. Ask to see the results and make sure to raise any concerns before choosing a donor.
What about social and psychological factors?
Psychological screening is just as important. Mental and emotional illnesses can pass on to the baby. Psychological screening and family history can happen through a third party. Some recipients are also interested in social factors like employment, educational background, history of alcohol use, drug use, and gifted abilities. Of course, many social traits and behaviors are determined by the environment. However, these questions can help with future family planning.
What happens during the egg donation process?
If the woman has chosen a donor, the clinic synchronizes the donor and recipient’s reproductive cycles. This is called a fresh transfer. The egg donor receives hormone injections to encourage the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. Once the eggs are ready, a doctor extracts the eggs in an outpatient procedure using a needle. The IVF procedure proceeds as normal. The clinic creates embryos and implants them in the recipient’s uterine lining. A frozen transfer, which often happens with donation clinics, means the embryos are transferred later, and no synchronization is necessary.
What’s the success rate of egg donation?
With IVF, many factors determine whether the transfer will be successful. These include the recipient’s age, sperm quality, the quality of the embryos, and even the retrieval process. That said, the donor’s age and health play a vital part in the outcome. Younger, healthy women with no history of reproductive conditions are the best donors. The success rates are higher, even with an older recipient, since these donors produce high-quality eggs.
The right questions matter
Choosing an egg donor can be a taxing process. Many circumstances determine whether the donor is suitable for the receiver. If the donor is a family member or close friend, asking questions about physical and psychological health is still necessary. If the eggs come from a database, ask as many questions as possible about the donor’s background. With the right choice, IVF with donor eggs should have a high success rate. For more information, speak with an infertility specialist.