Egg Donor IVF – Everything you need to know

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Egg donor IVF

Egg donor IVF is a fertility treatment method for those who cannot use their eggs, for any condition. If using a screened egg donor (not a family member or friend), the success rates for egg donor IVF are good. It is more than the average IVF success rates for couples not using a donor egg.

Even though in egg donor IVF the intended mother will not be genetically linked to her child, the intended father is genetically related. This makes it a more appealing idea than embryo donor IVF. In an embryo donor, none of the intended parents is genetically related to the child.

When do you need an Egg Donor?

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In a standard IVF treatment, you may take fertility drugs to promote egg production in your ovaries. Once your eggs reach maturity, your IVF specialist retrieves them through an ultrasound-guided needle.

Your doctor places the eggs in a petri dish with sperm cells, and hopefully, some eggs are fertilized. The resulting embryos are then transferred to your uterus or transferred to a gestational carrier’s uterus. You can also decide to freeze the embryos for a later cycle.

But what if your ovaries are not producing enough eggs for regular IVF? Or what if your ovaries are absent? Then your specialist may recommend an egg donor IVF. 

Here are some conditions in which egg donor IVF is beneficial:

  • Age-related infertility (women age 40 or older)
  • If you are a single male with a gestational carrier
  • Genetic disease condition on female partner’s side
  • Less ovarian reserves 
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency ( premature ovarian failure)
  • After-cancer treatment (if the ovaries or eggs were removed or damaged)
  • Continues cancelled IVF treatment due to low or poor ovarian response
  • Unexplained IVF failures
  • If you are born without ovaries due to a congenital anomaly

Where to Find an Egg Donor?

Your fertility specialist can discuss with you in detail your options for finding an egg donor. However, there are several common sources:

Donor Sources

  • A family member or friend
  • An infertile couple who are willing to share their retrieved eggs
  • Egg bank (these are frozen eggs)
  • Egg donor agency
  • IVF clinic giving you IVF treatment

Depending on your contract, you may get a chance to meet with your egg donor. Or, you might never have any contact with them. Some donors do agree to be contacted in the future by the donor’s offspring. 

So, before you decide, discuss your decisions with a lawyer familiar with reproductive law—also, an infertility counsellor or psychologist.

Risks of Egg Donation

Egg donors face the same risks as women going through standard IVF. The fertility drugs used to stimulate the ovaries to come with risks and side effects that the donor must know about.

The donor is at a higher risk for developing OHSS (Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). It happens because donors are usually young and very fertile. Their risk is higher than an infertile woman going through IVF.

The donor must know the signs and symptoms of OHSS so they can deal with it quickly. An untreated OHSS can threaten her fertility and even her life, in some cases.

For the intended mother, the prevalent risk of donor egg IVF is multiple pregnancies. To reduce your risk of multiple pregnancies, transfer as few embryos as possible.

Talk to your IVF doctor about a single embryo and whether it is suitable for your situation.

Success Rates of Egg Donor IVF

The live birth rate for donor egg IVF is 55.9% for a fresh embryo transfer and 40.2% for a frozen embryo transfer. However, success rates depend on your IVF clinic.

If you are opting for egg sharing with another infertile couple, then the success rate may be lower. The same applies when using a family member or friend as a donor, who may not necessarily be an ideal donor candidate.

Talk to your IVF specialist about your odds for success.

The good news is that if you are facing infertility, you may be able to experience pregnancy and childbirth. By using a donated egg that is fertilized by your partner’s sperm and then implanted into your uterus, you can have a healthy pregnancy.

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