It’s an indisputable fact; women are born with all the eggs they will ever have – no more, no less. So, for some women, conceiving with their own eggs may take longer or can be more difficult than expected. There are a variety of factors that can lead to decreased fertility, but one of the most common is simply older age. Thirty-five is when many women find themselves at peak personal success in their careers, health, and romantic interests – but it is also around this time that fertility begins to decline, ultimately making conception harder.
Fortunately, women over thirty-five can still experience pregnancy joy through use of donor egg. But how exactly does the donor egg IVF process work, and what emotions may surface when choosing this route?
What to Consider Before a Donor Egg Cycle
Most women need time to come to terms with being unable to use their own eggs to conceive; women who have a partner can greatly benefit from having heartfelt discussions together regarding this loss. Professional counseling can also be hugely beneficial.
There are also financial considerations to mull over, as donor egg is truly an investment in your family’s future. However, thanks to advancements in cryo-preservation techniques, frozen donor egg cycles have an almost equal success rate to fresh cycles. This means one donor’s eggs are shared, which leads to greater affordability and access to treatment.
Choosing an Egg Donor
Once a woman is medically cleared to undergo the donor egg IVF procedure, she can begin the exciting process of choosing an egg donor. Matching with the right donor may take some time, especially depending on whether the recipient is using fresh or frozen donor egg.
With frozen eggs, the recipient gains access to a national donor database; she can browse hundreds of profiles, and select her perfect match based on criteria such as physical appearance, education completed or special interests and hobbies. Matching with a frozen egg donor also leads to a shorter wait time on average, as her eggs are already stored and waiting for the perfect family.
When using fresh donor egg, the recipient browses her clinic’s database of local women who have agreed to donate; however, the database may be smaller, and there is a possibility that a donor you’ve selected may be disqualified during the screening process or may not be available to cycle for several months.
Receiving Donor Eggs
Once matched with her perfect donor, the process begins. If using a frozen donor egg bank, the selected donor’s eggs – usually six to eight in total – are shipped to her clinic for use as soon as she is ready. If using a fresh egg donor, the donor begins the egg retrieval process by taking medication to produce several eggs. After careful monitoring of her egg maturation, she is put under anesthesia while the eggs are surgically removed from her ovaries. The mother-to-be may receive all of the donor’s eggs, or she may split them with another couple, known as egg sharing. The main benefit of egg sharing with others is also sharing the overall cost of the retrieval procedure.
The Transfer Process
Whether the recipient uses fresh or frozen donor egg, the process for the mother-to-be is the same moving forward. Certain medications are taken to prepare her body for the embryos formed by fertilizing the donor eggs with either her partner’s or donor sperm in a laboratory. Once the embryos are ready, she returns to her fertility clinic to have them transferred into her uterus. Afterwards, there is a waiting period of about two weeks before finding out if the transfer was successful.
The Emotions Involved
Going through infertility is stressful, and needing an egg donor to get pregnant comes with many emotions. A woman may need time to grieve the loss of her own biological offspring. She may also have anxiety as to the outcome of the cycle. But she should also have feelings of great hope that this cycle will result in pregnancy and, ultimately, holding her own little one. There may even possibly be relief that she can finally find closure in no longer using her own eggs. Whatever feelings may be present, it’s important to allow the emotions time to be processed.
Pregnancy Possibility Through Donor Egg
There are many things to consider while using donor egg, and the process can be overwhelming. But using an egg donor allows a woman to have a baby when the use of her own eggs is no longer an option, and it is a wonderful way to grow a family.