Patients who are thinking about using an egg donor as part of their fertility treatment often have questions about various aspects of the process. Here are some answers to the issues that often come up in consultation:
In general, the uterus does not age in the same manner as the ovary. The success rate is similar for women in their third, fourth and fifth decade of life – assuming that the patient is in good health and otherwise a suitable candidate for this treatment.
The typical upper age limit for a fertility patient using donor eggs is 55. Dr. Jain has substantial experience treating patients in the 50+ age range. He is also the senior author of an article on successful fertility treatment techniques for women over 50 that was published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002.
Almost all egg donations are done anonymously. In these cases, the donor does not have any information about the recipient. Recipients have access to medical history and photos of the donor to aid in the selection process. In directed donations, both parties have access to more information.
According to current laws, donors do not retain rights to eggs or resulting embryos after donation.
Egg donors go through a thorough screening process in order to select qualified candidates and help ensure that information provided about the donor’s medical history and health status is accurate. The process includes a medical evaluation (including an examination of reproductive organs and blood tests to check hormone levels), genetic screening, STD and drug testing, and psychological counseling.
Dr. Jain can provide information on reputable local egg donation agencies where patients can review potential egg donors. The length of time required for selecting a donor and going through a retrieval cycle varies. Patients who want to shorten the time involved in selecting a donor may wish to use frozen eggs which are available immediately.
Some patients choose the shared egg donation offered by Dr. Jain. In this process, two couples share the eggs retrieved from one donation cycle. This reduces the cost of the eggs for each couple by about 50%.
Birth control pills and other hormones may be used to manage the recipient’s periods and ensure she is ready to receive the donated eggs at the appropriate time.
The recipient does not contribute to the genetic material of the embryo in a traditional sense. However, the environment of the recipient’s womb can have a substantial effect on how the embryo’s genes are expressed as it develops.