Donor Eggs & IVF Options for Couples Facing Female Infertility
Oocyte donation is often recommended for couples when the female partner is a poor responder to ovulation induction medications, has evidence of diminished ovarian reserve, or is the carrier of a genetic condition. For some infertile couples, egg donation represents the only real chance for parenthood and the ability to experience the entire pregnancy process from conception to delivery. Oocyte donors can either be designated (known to the intended parents) or anonymous. In general, the donor oocyte process is very similar to in vitro fertilization. The major difference is that the egg donor undergoes the ovulation induction and egg retrieval, while the oocyte recipient undergoes simultaneous preparation of her uterus for embryo implantation.
Once the eggs have been retrieved from the donor, they are fertilized with the recipient’s partner’s sperm. The embryos then develop in the IVF laboratory until 3-5 days after the retrieval, at which time the 1-2 healthiest embryos are transferred into the recipient’s uterus. Following the embryo transfer, the recipient continues on her replacement hormones (estrogen and progesterone) until the pregnancy test is performed. In general, pregnancy rates resulting from the use of donor oocytes exceed those seen with IVF. Although this is primarily due to the young age of the donors, there are also several other factors that lead to higher pregnancy rates.
Before treatment with donor oocytes is begun, all parties involved are required by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to undergo medical, psychological, and legal counseling. Texas Fertility Center donors undergo a rigorous pre-screening process for genetic, psychological and physical health abnormalities, sexually transmitted diseases, and we also exclude potential donors with a history of smoking, alcohol, and/or drug use. Only those women who have passed the complete screening process including preliminary ultrasound and hormonal fertility screening become candidates to be oocyte donors for a prospective recipient couple.