Guide to IVF with Donor Eggs

There are many reasons why a couple or individual may want to grow their families using IVF with donors. It is, in fact, one of the most common ways people are becoming parents nowadays, thanks to its incredibly higher success rates compared to other fertility procedures.
However, if you are considering building your family through this option, you probably have tons of questions about the process and how it works. In this article, we’ll look at what donor egg IVF entails, how successful it is, and other things you need to know as an intended parent.

Who is it For?

Anyone who wants to become a parent can benefit from donor egg IVF, but this procedure is usually recommended for the following reasons:
Advanced Maternal Age: As a woman gets older, the quality and quantity of her eggs may reduce, which can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Using donor eggs can help increase the chances of a healthy and successful pregnancy, especially for women who are 35 and above.
Ovarian Failure: Some women may have a condition known as premature ovarian failure, which means their ovaries are no longer able to produce viable eggs for reproduction. In these cases, IVF with donor eggs may be suggested as the only option for having a biological child.
Genetic Disorders: If a couple is at risk of transferring a genetic condition to their baby, they may want to opt for IVF using donor eggs to avoid passing on the disorder to their child.
Same-Sex Couples: Gay couples may use donor eggs in conjunction with a gestational surrogate in order to have biological children.
Single Intended Father: Egg donor IVF is also an excellent option for men who don’t have a female partner but still want to share a genetic connection with their babies.

Egg Donor IVF Process

The technique used in this process is basically the same as that of the regular IVF treatment. The only difference is that the eggs used to make the baby come from a donor, not the intended mother. Here are the steps you can expect to take if you are an opposite-sex couple undergoing IVF with donor eggs:

1. Consultation

The first step is to schedule a consultation with a fertility doctor. During this consultation, the physician will explain the process and suggest other options if necessary. He or she will also carry out a physical and medical evaluation to be sure that pregnancy won’t affect your health.

2. Recipient preparation

Your physician will have some tests conducted to find out if there are any correctible abnormalities that could prevent fertilization or implantation of the baby in the womb. Some of these tests may include basic bloodwork, saline sonogram, and comprehensive analysis of the intended father’s sperm or donor’s. You will also meet with a mental health expert to discuss your decision to have a baby through egg donation and the challenges you may face in the future. 

3. Choosing An Egg Donor

Selecting an egg donor is a critical step in the donor egg IVF process. You can find an egg donor through your fertility clinic or an egg donor agency. You may also decide to look for an egg donor yourself through ads or by asking a family member, friend, or family member to donate eggs for you. There is also an option to use frozen donor eggs if you would like to save costs and begin your treatment quickly and efficiently. 

4. Donor Screening and Cycle Synchronization

Once you have selected your donor, she will undergo an extensive screening process to determine if she’s a good candidate for egg donation. These will include a series of blood tests, genetic testing, and psychological evaluation.
When your cycles are in sync, the egg donor will begin to take medications to encourage her ovaries to produce and mature many eggs simultaneously. During this period, she will be closely monitored through blood tests and ultrasounds to know how her body is responding to fertility drugs. Meanwhile, you (the egg recipient) will also be placed on medications to prepare your womb lining ahead of embryo transfer.

5. Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer

When the donor’s eggs are mature enough, the doctor will fix a date for egg retrieval. Your partner or a sperm donor will then provide sperm that will be used to fertilize the eggs. The fertilized eggs (now known as embryos) are cultured in the lab for about 3 to 5 days.
*At the stage, you can have genetic testing done on the embryos to be sure they have the correct number of chromosomes before they are transferred.
The doctor will then deposit the highest-quality embryo(s) in your womb using a thin, flexible tool called the catheter. The remaining embryos can then be frozen to use in a later cycle.

Success Rates of Egg Donor IVF

The success rates of IVF with donor eggs are very high. However, this depends on a number of factors, including the age of the egg donor, the overall health and fertility of the recipient, and the quality of the fertility clinic.
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the success rate for IVF using donor eggs is approximately 50% per cycle for women below the age of 35 and decreases slightly with increasing age. For women aged 35-37, the success rate is around 45% per cycle and around 40% per cycle for women aged 38-40. Women over the age of 40 have a lower IVF success rate at around 35% per cycle.
Bear in mind, though, that these success rates are based on data from the US and may not be what is obtainable in other countries. Besides, IVF success rates can vary from clinic to clinic, so it’s crucial to do your research on the success rates of each of your potential fertility clinics before making your decision.

Costs of IVF with Donor Eggs

IVF with donor eggs can be expensive. As an intended parent in the United States, you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $40,000 per each cycle of IVF using donor eggs. The actual amount will vary based on your location, the fertility clinic, and the type of donor eggs to be used. Note that this is not only the cost for one round of IVF and that you may need two or more rounds before achieving a pregnancy.
Generally, the IVF costs are cheaper with frozen eggs than with fresh ones. So, you may want to consider buying preserved oocytes from an egg bank if you want to cut down the costs of your fertility treatment.

Conclusion

Egg donor IVF offers an opportunity to have biological children for people who cannot do so on their own. While it can be quite costly, it is the most successful of all fertility procedures, donor referral program, especially for older women.
However, before you commence the process of IVF with donor eggs, it’s important to think and plan carefully to be able to afford the treatment’s cost. You may also want to seek professional advice to help you deal with the emotional challenges that may ensue when you have a baby with donor eggs.
Guide to IVF with Donor EggsThere are many reasons why a couple or individual may want to grow their families using IVF with donors.
Guide to IVF with Donor Eggs. There are many reasons why a couple or individual may want to grow their families using IVF with donors. Photo Credit – Wikimedia

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