Many couples struggling with infertility will consider egg donation during their family-building journey. One condition that often requires the use of donor eggs is premature ovarian insufficiency or “early menopause,” which happens when a woman’s own eggs have been depleted or the ovaries stop working properly before she turns 40. For many women in early menopause, the uterus will still respond to hormone use and be able to successfully receive an embryo. Using donor eggs is often the best way for these women to have a healthy baby.
In other women, fertility medications will lead to the production of eggs, but none that result in a healthy pregnancy. These women have very few genetically normal eggs remaining, making the likelihood of a healthy live birth extremely low when they use their own eggs. This is most often seen among women 40 or older.
What is Egg Donation
In vitro fertilization (IVF) using donor eggs is a commonly utilized fertility treatment throughout much of the world. The egg donor process entails ovarian stimulation of a young, female donor with fertility medications followed by an egg retrieval procedure performed by a fertility doctor. The eggs may be transferred into the recipient immediately after extraction (“fresh”) or after they have been frozen and thawed. Pregnancy rates using donor eggs in the U.S. have been excellent because egg donors are between 19 – 31 years, when their egg quality and quantity are high.
To be considered for egg donation at CCRM Fertility, a potential donor must undergo an extensive health, genetic and psychological screening by a team of medical professionals including fertility physicians, nurses and genetic counselors.
Egg donation offers a highly-successful family building option for couples facing infertility when IVF using the mother’s own eggs has not been successful or has very low likelihood for a healthy delivery.
Dr. Katherine McKnight is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM Houston.