Should You Use a Donor? 5 Reasons to Consider Using Donor Eggs

Posted on Friday, April 22, 2016
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Donor egg conception is well established as the most successful treatment option offered by most fertility clinics, but fertility treatment using donor eggs is usually not anyone’s first choice approach. Although a donor egg cycle can be expensive, its high success rate has made it the most cost effective approach for many infertile patients.

1. Premature ovarian insufficiency

In this case menopause has started early, typically before age 40. Even with high doses of fertility medications, healthy eggs cannot be developed. Still, hormones can be given to support a pregnancy when donor eggs are used.

2. Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR)

In this case, a woman’s supply of healthy eggs is very low. This becomes more likely as women reach their forties, but can still occur when women are younger than forty years old. Success rates for in vitro fertilization are low in this group, especially when a woman is in her forties with this diagnosis.

Women should consider moving directly to donor egg options at the same time they consider IVF using their own eggs.

3. Advanced reproductive age

Women over 42, even those with “good” ovarian reserve, have very low chances of conception using their own eggs and should discuss the option of donor egg at their first visit. Many fertility programs have never cared for a woman over 45 who conceived without donor eggs. Some movie stars in their mid-forties have lead the public to believe that having children at their age is easy, even though their own pregnancy was a result of donor eggs.

4. Failed in vitro fertilization

Egg quality issues are frequently the reason for failed cycles of IVF. Women of any age should consider donor egg options if they have failed to conceive with IVF using their own eggs.

5. Genetically transmitted diseases

Sometimes embryos can be biopsied and tested for certain genetic diseases so that the child will not be affected. In other cases, the best approach to avoid passing on a genetic disease is to use a donor egg.

If this is a concern, consultation with a genetic counselor might help identify the best pathway to take.

When using a donor egg is the only option available to have a healthy child, the decision to choose donor egg is straightforward. For most patients, however, this decision is much harder to reach.

“When patients come to PNWF we review the success rates of each option, the costs, and the investment of time and emotion,” says Dr. Lorna Marshall of Pacific NW Fertility. “This is a big deal and takes time. We want to be there for patients every step of the way no matter what path they select. In the end, for many patients, especially for women in their forties, it makes sense to move directly to donor\ egg, rather than to use this option as one of last resort.”

Related: 5 Things to Know About PNWF's Donor Egg Program

She weighed 8lbs 7oz and is the most beautiful being I have ever laid eyes on. We were instantly in love, and I'd do it a thousand times again for her. It was painful, heartbreaking, and scary but the moment I laid eyes on my baby girl, it all melted away. I still will look at her, and can't believe she's mine. That it actually worked. She's my everything, and we're so lucky, and finally a family.

Pacific NW Fertility Patient

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