How to Know When It’s Time to Consider Using an Egg Donor

couple holding hands

Every person’s journey to pregnancy and a baby will look different. Some couples are able to conceive naturally without a problem, others may need to go through hormone stimulation or in vitro fertilization. For some women, using an egg donor to achieve a pregnancy will be the best option.

Using an egg donor allows a woman to experience the joys of pregnancy and give birth to her own baby. At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, we try to give women and couples as many treatment options as possible, and sometimes we do recommend using donor eggs to achieve a pregnancy. The procedure isn’t for everyone, since there are some emotional aspects that should be taken into consideration, but it can be a great solution for women who continue to struggle with infertility.

The use of donor eggs is becoming more common, especially with women who are over 40 years of age. In 2010, about 11% of all assisted reproduction techniques used donor eggs.

When you come to AZCREI for your initial consultation, Dr. Gelety will work with you to map out a treatment plan that you’re comfortable with; fairly often, it will include looking into egg donation as an option somewhere down the line. Here’s how to know if you are a candidate for donor eggs and when it’s time to consider moving forward with the treatment.


Who May Benefit from Donor Eggs

If you’re still struggling with infertility after several rounds of IVF, you may want to begin considering using donor eggs. Some conditions can prevent or hinder your ability to conceive, even after trying other infertility treatments.

One of the most common issues when it comes to fertility is age at the time a woman attempts to conceive. The average age of menopause for a woman in the U.S. is 61.5 years old, but some women experience it before turning 40. Women’s reproductive lives are limited, and there comes a point (menopause) when you’ll run out of eggs. Your eggs cannot be replaced once your reserve has been depleted. The quality of your eggs also begins to drop off as you age, so even if you do have eggs remaining, they may not be strong or healthy enough for a viable pregnancy. In these cases, if you have not already frozen your own eggs, using a donor egg may be the only solution.

Sometimes, medical treatments such as chemotherapy can lead to early menopause or ruin the health of a woman’s eggs. Once she goes through treatments, if she’s in otherwise good health, donor eggs would still allow her to become pregnant and carry a child.

Donor eggs can also be used to prevent the transmission of genetic conditions or diseases that may be passed from a mother to her offspring.

Same sex male couples and single men who want to become parents will need to use donor eggs (and a surrogate) in order to have a child.


Process Behind Egg Donation

The process behind using an egg donor to achieve a pregnancy is relatively simple.

You get to choose your egg donor—this can be a friend or family member, or an anonymous donor. Every donor is screened to ensure that she is healthy and doesn’t have any problems that could potentially be an issue for the pregnancy or baby.

From there, the process is very similar to IVF treatments. After you’ve chosen your donor, our team will follow you through your cycle, and when the egg is fertilized, you’ll come into the office for implantation—a procedure that feels comparable to a pap smear. Once you become pregnant, we’ll schedule a few more appointments with you to make sure everything is going smoothly, and then you’ll be able to see your obstetrician for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Our team offers support, care, and guidance throughout your pregnancy journey. Whether you choose to use an egg donor or not, we want you to feel comfortable coming to us with any of your questions or concerns. To make an appointment and learn about your options when it comes to egg donation, visit AZCREI online or call us at 520-326-0001.

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