IVF with a donor egg. How does it work and how successful will it be?
IVF is a process that involves fertilising the egg with sperm in the lab. The success of fertilisation largely depends on the quality of the gametes. In some cases, infertility arises due to poor egg and sperm factors. In such cases, IVF with donor gametes is the only way for a pregnancy to happen or to be carried to term.
This is, admittedly, not an easy decision to come to. Couples face all kinds of issues in coming to terms with having to go through with donor egg IVF, from feelings of personal inadequacy to issues with the larger family.
Yet, in the US, for example, it was reported that 12 percent of all IVF cycles, approximately 16,000 every year, involve donor eggs. Let us look at what it is and how to deal with this.
What is IVF with donor eggs?
A donor egg is an egg from an anonymous woman who is not the one planning to get pregnant. Clinics ensure that these women are carefully screened, healthy, and disease-free in the prime reproductive age (20–35) for egg donation. In many cases, the egg donors are married women already having a healthy child.
With the help of IVF, these healthy eggs are then fertilised by the sperm of the male partner of the couple planning for pregnancy.
When is donor egg IVF recommended?
Women who are suffering from premature ovarian failure or women of advanced age who have no viable eggs in their ovaries are advised to go for donor egg IVF. Also sometimes with age, a woman’s eggs are simply not healthy enough to be fertilised. At times even if fertilisation happens, it can result in non-implantation or miscarriages, adding to the trauma faced by the couple.
In such cases, a donor egg is a viable option, because the resultant embryo is likely to be healthy and result in a healthy baby.
How successful is donor egg IVF?
Around the world, donor egg IVF, is – not surprisingly – the most successful form of IVF. Success rates are typically 10 to 15% higher than with the woman’s own eggs on average.
The success rates range from 80% to the high 50s in the majority of the world, with many countries reporting success rates in the high 60s.
Who are the donors and how to choose a donor?
Some countries guarantee anonymity when it comes to the identity of the donors – but not their medical history, obviously. They may give generalised details like race, age, etc. In others, detailed information is available – including photographs (as a child and an adult), educational records, and physical and medical details like height, weight, hair colour and type, body build, and blood type, ethnic background, etc.
You can then use these details to find the best choice for you. In some countries, the child born via egg donation is entitled to seek out their biological mother when they are 18. Check the rules in your country to find out more.
Should you opt for donor egg IVF?
This is a very personal decision, and make sure you have all the information you need before you arrive at your decision. For some couples, having their own biological child is the only thing that matters, so they continue trying with their own eggs, at times shifting from one clinic to another without success. Others choose adoption instead. However, if having a child with your own eggs is no longer possible, then opting for donor eggs gives you the option of experiencing the joy of pregnancy, carrying your baby to term, forming a bond with the baby, and giving birth to your child. Also, clinics ensure confidentiality so it is up to you whether you would like to reveal to family and friends or not, that the conception was through donor eggs or your own eggs.
Most importantly, the woman carrying the baby to term is you. The woman giving birth is you. And the parents bringing up the baby are you! If you cannot get pregnant with your own eggs, this may be the best option for you to have your own biological child.
Make sure you join us for our Cope Talks this evening when we will be joined by an amazing panel of experts who will be discussing all things egg, embryo, and sperm donation. Click here to register for free.