An infertility diagnosis can be a heartbreaking moment for many couples trying to expand their family. Fortunately, modern medicine offers a variety of fertility treatment solutions known as ART (Assisted Reproduction Technology). Usually, most couples first try procedures likes IUI or IVF with their own eggs, however, for some couples egg donation would turn out to be the only successful solution. Egg donation treatment is not typically the first choice. Many couples who are trying to conceive would never consider using donor eggs as their first option. It is only natural that they may feel confusion, indecisive or even isolated, especially when they see other couples having babies almost effortlessly. For many people having a child or children is a dream come true so for them, a recommendation to use donor eggs can be very difficult to accept.
However, a large majority of couples diagnosed with female infertility choose egg donation treatment in the end. Why? First of all, it is a method that is much more successful than IUI or IVF with a woman’s own eggs and a great solution for those women who are able to carry a pregnancy themselves. With donor eggs, there is a very high chance that you will become a mother in a very short time, even after just one cycle. What are the medical indications for egg donation? When do doctors recommend using donor eggs?
- Early Menopause. If you were unlucky enough and your menopause started in your twenties or thirties, it will not be possible to use your own eggs. If your partner has healthy sperm, you can still use his biological material and donor eggs and undergo a fresh or frozen egg donation cycle. You will be able to carry the pregnancy and give birth to the baby who will be genetically related to your partner. This is a solution for those couples who are not ready to make a decision to use a surrogate and wish to experience the pregnancy. Early onset of menopause should not prevent you from becoming a mother.
- Low quality or quantity of eggs. After the age of 35 female fertility starts to decline rapidly. It is a completely natural process and so far modern medicine has not found a way to slow it down. Certainly, there is a chance of conceiving naturally at 35 or 40, however, it is only about 4%. Couples in their 40s may have a hard time conceiving naturally and this may become a stressful, time-consuming and, often, fruitless process. You may try to have IVF with your own eggs in your 40s, however, you should bear in mind that your eggs may be low quality and may develop into abnormal (aneuploid) embryos. This may result in lack of implantation, early miscarriage or many chromosomal birth defects such as Down’s syndrome. Also, egg quantity after the age of 35 is lower. Did you know that only about half of fertilized eggs reach the blastocyst stage? This means that if out of, for example, 10 retrieved eggs, only 4 get fertilized successfully, you will probably have only 2 blastocysts. Egg donation is highly recommended for women in their 40s and has the edge over IVF with own eggs and it significantly boosts your chances for success.
- Genetic Diseases. If you have a known family history of genetic diseases, your doctor may recommend you and your partner undergo testing to determine if there is any risk of passing along the diseases to your offspring. Some of the diseases that you can be screened for include:
- Tay-Sachs disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sickle cell disease
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Spinal muscular dystrophy
If the risk is too high, the medical indication for you will be again egg donation. Egg donors are tested for genetic diseases so the risk is eliminated.
These are three main reasons for which infertile couples decide to have egg donation treatment. Those women who have had donor egg treatment did not have second thoughts when they finally saw the positive pregnancy test results. All in all, the end result – the smile on your baby’s face – can be the best reward ever.
How to prepare for IVF? Start with looking for an organisation that offers free IVF clinic comparison services to fertility patients, check your budget and savings, improve your diet and start exercising regularly.
*This is a collaborative post