Every year, thousands of babies are born to otherwise infertile women who opted to use donor eggs to conceive a child.
Using an egg donor may be a good choice if you are a carrier of genetic disease or are 40-something and no longer producing healthy eggs of your own – but are otherwise healthy enough to have a safe pregnancy and birth experience. But is it really the right choice? Read on to find out!
Things to Consider
If you choose to use a donor’s eggs or embryos to get pregnant, you will have a 50 percent chance of carrying to term and giving birth. If you use frozen embryos, the success rate drops down to 30 percent.
It is important to know that approximately 40 percent of pregnancies resulting from this process using donor eggs lead to multiples. If you are considering this option, be prepared for the possibility of giving birth to twins or triplets!
Also keep in mind that low birth weights and birth defects have a higher occurrence rate for women who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) and similar high-tech fertility treatments.
How It Works
If you are receiving eggs from a donor, you will have to take medications (usually the hormones Lupron, estrogen and progesterone) and undergo close medical monitoring before and during the entire IVF process.
You can select donor eggs or embryos from an anonymous donor or a friend or family member. You can choose for your partner's sperm or a donor's sperm to be combined with your donor's eggs in a lab dish, which will fertilize her eggs into embryos. Two to four of these embryos will then be implanted into your uterus using a small catheter during the IVF Procedure. You can take a pregnancy test two to three weeks after the embryos have been implanted in your uterus.
Most fertility clinics will not accept you as a candidate for the egg donation procedure if you are over 50, since older women are not as likely to have safe pregnancies. If you rely on your fertility clinic to find your egg donor, you will typically get a medically-screened younger donor – between 21-29 years old. This may be why the success rate for donor-egg IVF cases is generally twice as high as regular IVF in older women who are not using donor eggs.
Pressure on Your Pocket
Undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs or embryos can be very expensive. The cost of an egg donor cycle can typically range from $25,000 - $40,000. This is more expensive than standard IVF using your own eggs. If you use your own eggs, one cycle of IVF typically ranges from $10,000 - $17,000. IVF coverage is generally not provided by most health insurance carriers, so you should expect to cover the cost yourself.