An Infertility Choice – Egg Donation

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By Heidi Hayes

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, you may have already tried fertility treatments like IUI and IVF without success. You might feel devastated, thinking your chance to conceive a child is over. Thankfully, there is still an opportunity available for you to experience the miracle of life – using egg donation. Below is a short guide explaining the process; if pursuing donor egg IVF interests you, you can read the “Definitive Guide to Egg Donation” 

Getting in Touch with Your Emotions

The decision to use donor eggs can stir up a plethora of emotions. You may grieve that your eggs are no longer viable to conceive a child – or feel anger and jealousy of others capable of having children without intervention. Additionally, coming to terms with the knowledge that you won’t share a genetic connection with your child is quite complicated. You may be struggling to decide whether to tell your child, family, or friends about your child’s origin, or even wondering if you’ve picked the right donor. These are all valid fears that need to be worked through before you continue your journey.

For couples planning to undergo donor egg IVF, it’s advisable to seek counseling for help in coping with these emotions throughout the process. Dedicated professionals are also available via your donor egg program to guide and assist you through any anxieties you may have.

Choosing the Donor

The first step of using donor egg IVF is to decide between using donor eggs from a friend, a family member, or an anonymous donor. If you choose an anonymous donor, you can find a donor through your fertility clinic or an egg donation agency. You may select your donor based on attributes like physical characteristics, economic and educational background, and occupation – just to name a few. The selection process is often compared to looking for a partner through a dating agency.

If using a known donor like a friend or family member, you both must undergo professional counseling about the medical and emotional impact of the donation, then sign a contract that defines the parental rights, financial obligations, and any future contact between parties.

Fresh or Frozen Donor Eggs?

To select the opportunity that best suits your situation, you should understand the methodology, pricing, timelines, and success rates of both fresh and frozen donor eggs.

Choosing Fresh Donor Egg IVF:

Synchronizing Cycles

When using fresh donor eggs, both you and the egg donor take medications to synchronize your cycles. The donor uses gonadotropin to stimulate her ovaries to develop multiple mature eggs, and you use estrogen and progesterone to prepare your uterus for pregnancy.

Gathering the Eggs

Once the eggs are mature, the donor’s physician retrieves them from her ovaries with a thin needle.

  Fertilization and Transfer

In a laboratory, an embryologist combines your partner’s (or male donor’s) sperm with the donor’s eggs. After three to six days, 1-2 embryos are transferred to your uterus by your doctor. Any remaining embryos may be cryopreserved for future use.

Timeline

An IVF cycle using fresh donor eggs may be completed in 8 weeks, although the necessary donor pre-screening can take as long as 3 months. 

Cost

The expected total cost for an IVF cycle with fresh donor eggs may be between $27,000 to $40,000 depending on legal fees, donor and recipient expenses, etc.

Success Rate

Fresh donor egg IVF success is the highest of any assisted reproduction treatment, with a delivery rate of roughly 50% per transfer.

Choosing Frozen Donor Egg IVF:

No Cycle Synchronization

Fertility treatment with frozen donor eggs is much simpler than with fresh eggs, as no cycle synchronization with your donor is required. You will still need to prepare your uterus for pregnancy by following a strict regime of medication and hormones.

Thawing, Fertilization, and Transfer

Frozen donor eggs are first thawed, then fertilized with your partner’s or male donor’s sperm.  As with fresh donor egg IVF, three to six days after fertilization your doctor transfers one to two embryos to your uterus – remaining embryos are cryopreserved for future use.

Timeline

With frozen donor eggs, completion of a donation cycle is about five weeks from start to finish.

Cost

Since frozen eggs are already retrieved and ready to use, the donor’s expenses are already factored into the price and the total cost can be as little as $13,000 to $24,000 for the entire process.

Success Rate

Frozen donor egg IVF success is comparable to fresh, with a delivery rate around 44% per transfer. Clinics with experience in thawing frozen eggs often mirror the success of fresh rates and may even exceed them.

Becoming a Parent Through Donor Egg IVF

Revitalize new hope for experiencing pregnancy through donor eggs. You are able to carry and feel your baby inside you, give birth, and breastfeed your own child just as any other mother. For couples who strive to conceive and don’t wish to give up on their dreams of pregnancy, it is a true blessing.

If you wish to undergo IVF using donor eggs, take the first step by enrolling in an egg donor program today – and look forward to your dreams of motherhood coming true!

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Author Bio: Heidi Hayes is the Executive Vice President of Donor Egg Bank. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.

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