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How Does Egg Donation Work? Your Questions Answered

For those who have difficulty conceiving, egg donation may be the solution for those wishing to have a baby of their own. But how do you go about researching clinics, choosing an egg donor, or navigating the complex emotions that come with using another woman’s eggs to have a baby? This article will detail some of the most important questions women may have when using donor eggs to get pregnant.

How Does Egg Donation Work

Who needs to use an egg donor?

There are several different reasons why women are unable to get pregnant using their own eggs. One of the biggest reasons is age. Older women have older eggs, which make conceiving more difficult. Others may be relatively young, but have genetic conditions or poor egg quality that render them infertile. Women who have undergone cancer treatments or surgeries involving removal of their ovaries may mean it is physically impossible to get pregnant on their own. All of these women would be good candidates for egg donation.

 

What decisions do I need to make before starting?

Fertility treatments using donor eggs give women and their partners a lot to think about. There are ethical and moral considerations, and the couple will need to reach an agreement on pursuing treatment. Financing the cycle is a major point of discussion, along with the feelings and emotions that accompany third party reproduction. You or your partner may have difficulty coming to terms with donor eggs and it is wise to pursue those concerns with a neutral party, such as a therapist who specializes in infertility. You may be grieving the loss of passing on your own genetics to a future child. You may feel angry with your body, for failing to do what comes so naturally to others. It’s not uncommon to experience relief when choosing to stop treatments with your own eggs and move on to a donor. Most women will eventually feel hopeful that this will give them a baby, whether it’s upon their decision to use an egg donor, or after the embryo transfer has occurred. Know that these emotions are a normal part of the process.

How Does Egg Donation Work

Where should I go for my treatment?

Many clinics have donor egg programs, but not all. Before choosing a clinic that has one, you need to decide if you want to use fresh or frozen eggs. Fresh eggs do have a slightly better chance of resulting in pregnancy, but they cost more and cycles have a higher rate of cancellation due to unpredictable circumstances such as life events or a donor not responding well to medication. Frozen eggs are cheaper to obtain since the donor has already undergone the process to retrieve the eggs, and you know how many eggs you will receive, generally about six to eight. Due to advances in science, frozen eggs are catching up in terms of success rates. Not all clinics offer their own frozen egg banks. If you decide to use frozen eggs, you can select your donor from an outside egg bank and have the eggs shipped directly to your clinic.

 

How do I choose my donor?

Once you’ve settled in with a clinic, and decided which type of egg you want, the next step is picking out a donor. The process in choosing is highly individual, and how wide your pool of available donors is depends on how many requirements you have when it comes to qualities you want in a donor: physical appearances, intellectual abilities, and donor medical history. Some women choose to go with an anonymous donor, and some have friends or family who want to step in and undergo the stringent process to donate their own eggs. Once you have come to a decision, though, it’s a matter of filling out the paperwork and working with the clinic’s donor coordinator.

 

What happens during the donor egg cycle itself?

After the eggs are secured, you will begin a medication regimen to prepare your body for a transfer and attend monitoring appointments to make sure your uterus is ready to accept an embryo. Using your partner’s or donor sperm, the eggs are fertilized in a lab and the resulting embryos are transferred to your uterus or frozen for future use. A pregnancy test is done about two weeks later to see if the cycle was successful.

How Does Egg Donation Work

Conclusion

The donor egg process is fraught with many emotions and questions. It can be confusing and difficult, but with careful research and discussion, it can give women hope that their long-awaited baby will finally become a reality.

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