Egg donation is a scientific breakthrough and one of the more successful ways women are finding help becoming a mother, allowing women to become pregnant even when they lack eggs of their own, or their eggs are of less than substantial quality. The technique is most commonly used in women who are unsuccessful after trying naturally without success of achieving a healthy pregnancy and live birth, or undergoing multiple cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF). It is also commonly used with women with premature ovarian failure (POF), diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) or elevated FSH levels, as well as for those over the age of forty-three. Egg donation has changed the outlook for those who were unable to have children due to female infertility and for women who are at high risk for passing on genetic disorders. The combination of young eggs and optimal preparation of both donor and intended mother makes egg donation a very successful fertility procedure.
How does egg donation work? It’s essentially the same process as a traditional IVF procedure, except the process is split up between the egg donor and the intended parent. The donor undergoes the first steps of IVF (including ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval) and the intended mother undergoes the embryo transfer at teh end of the process.
Traditionally both women’s cycles must be synchronized using a combination of birth control pills and Lupron. When the cycle begins, the donor is administered the medications required for a standard IVF cycle, while the intended mother takes a combination of estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. However, with recent improvements in embryo freezing, comparable pregnancy rates are now being observed between fresh and frozen donor egg embryos allowing much greater flexibility in scheduling. Once the donor’s eggs are mature, they are retrieved using the standard ultrasound-guided method. The sperm is provided by the intended mother’s partner, or by a sperm donor. Some intended parents chose to ship sperm to a laboratory and have embryos created from donor eggs. The intended mother can then undergo the embryo transfer at a later time convenient to her, with minimal hormonal treatment.
Typically the embryo transfer is scheduled 3 or 5 days later. The intended mother continues to take estrogen and progesterone through the end of the first trimester to mimic the hormones produced by the ovary in natural conception. At the end of the first trimester (twelve weeks gestational age, or approximately ten weeks after embryo transfer), the placenta produces the necessary hormones, and the estrogen and progesterone supplementation is no longer required.
At our Donor Egg Bank at Santa Monica Fertility we have experts in house to help you have a healthy baby with the help of egg donation. If you do not see a donor that meets your needs, feel free to let us know your wish list – we work with a diversity of donors and trusted agencies to find your perfect match.
We provide personalized service, and will help navigate so that you do not have to get caught up in the time consuming aspects of the process. Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions about pregnancy with egg donation, or to schedule an appointment!