Egg Donation: Who Should Consider Using Donor Eggs?

When a couple considers egg donation, careful thought as well as a good deal of research should go into making the final decision. The choice to use donor eggs will impact the couple for the rest of their lives. The majority of the time, the conclusion to use donated eggs will follow many years of failed attempts at conceiving a biological child.

IVF Process of Egg Donation

In vitro fertilization is not any different for the process of egg donation than it is for biological conception. Some times though, fertility medications may be given to the egg donor in order to accelerate the production of multiple eggs in her ovaries. Simultaneously, the recipient of the donor eggs might also be given a drug to have her cycle mimic that of her donor, so that her body is ready to accept the embryo when it is time to be implanted in her uterus.

Qualifications of Effective Egg Donor

Are there any 'qualifications' that would make one egg donor more effective than another? While it is possible to have a successful conception from any egg donor who is in her child bearing years, younger is definitely better. In fact, the ideal age for a donor is between 18 and 25 (no older than 31).

Good Candidates to Use Donor Eggs

Anyone whose egg quality has diminished, or who has a reduced egg count, might consider egg donation. The term that applies to both the quantity and the quality of the egg supply in a woman's body is the ovarian reserve. When the ovarian reserve is deficient, the chances are very slim that the couple will be able to conceive a child. Many times though, the uterus remains functional even though the egg quality is below normal. This provides an opportunity for couples to conceive by using donor eggs.

Most Common Reasons to Use Egg Donation

  • A woman's advanced biological age -- recent studies have indicated that by age 37 or 38, the loss of fertility increases dramatically. By the time she reaches age 44, her productivity is only about 5% of what it was when she was in her early twenties.
  • Premature Ovarian Failure -- early menopause (happens before age 40)
  • Genetic disorder, such as sickle cell anemia or Tay-Sachs disease that can be passed on to children from the mother
  • An elevated level of follicular stimulation hormone (FSH) in the blood, because it an indication that there is more than likely an issue with either the reproductive system or the pituitary gland
  • Repeated, failed attempts at in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Turner Syndrome, which means she only has a single X chromosome
  • Failure of the ovaries to react to injectable, stimulating drugs

When considering egg donation, it is important to note that the cost of one donor egg or embryo IVF cycle varies quite a bit depending on the clinic where it is performed. If you live in the United States, you can expect to pay anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000.

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