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Donor Eggs and Adoption: Is There Really a Difference?

Exploring donor eggs and adoption

One of the most difficult discussions that we have with patients concerns what they should do when conventional fertility treatments are no longer an option. Some patients find themselves in this situation after trying to conceive unsuccessfully with treatment. Many more patients are presenting to our office at their first visit with a very poor prognosis for success before they even attempt fertility treatment. This is when we have conversations about donor eggs and adoption.

Some of these couples have chosen to delay childbearing until the woman is in her late 30s or early to mid-40s. Others come to see us after undergoing treatment with therapies that have left them with a markedly diminished number of eggs. Due to advances in cancer treatment, many women are now surviving their disease. Unfortunately, treatments that destroy eggs, make the goal of having a child much more challenging.

Determining patient needs

When we see these patients, we rapidly assess their ovarian reserve to determine how many eggs we have to work with. We do this through a combination of hormone testing and ultrasound measurement of ovarian size. Women with diminished reserve who desire children have a very difficult dilemma in front of them. They can ontinue to try conventional therapies or move on to options like donor eggs and adoption.

Many couples initially see little difference between donor eggs and adoption. Adoption may actually seem “more fair”, as the child has no genetic attachment to either member of the couple. In fact, there are profound differences between the two alternatives which may or may not be important to the couple.

Adoption offers a higher chance for success (90+% vs. 60-70% for donor oocytes). It also offers many options, including the opportunities for international adoption, adopting a child who is racially different from the parents or adopting a child who is economically disadvantaged. On the other hand, adoption is typically more expensive than donor eggs. It can also involve extensive legal proceedings.

Donor eggs and adoption – Finding the right fit

Egg donation also offers many advantages. Unlike women who make the difficult choice to place their babies for adoption, all egg donors receive extensive screened. Couple select a donor after extensively reviewing their medical history, pictures, and biography.

In addition, donor egg in Texas are governed by state property statutes. Therefore, once eggs are retrieved from the donor, they belong to the recipient couple. The recipient woman then carries the baby, and accepts responsibility for obtaining good prenatal care. The recipient couples’ names are also on the birth certificate. There are no additional legal procedure to make them the legal parents of the child.

Both adoption and donor eggs represent excellent options for couples seeking parenthood. There are, however, significant differences between them. Our job, at Texas Fertility Center, is to provide patients with the information that they need to make the decision that is right for them and their family in a caring, non-judgmental manner.

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