February 21, 2017

What to Do When Your Egg Basket’s Empty

Women are born with all the eggs they will have in their lifetime. Several options exist for treating infertility in those unable to get pregnant on their own, including intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy. However, what happens when a woman is unable to get pregnant using her own eggs? One of the most common reasons for needing donor eggs is because of poor egg quality or low egg quantity, which can be due to early menopause, hormone imbalances or advanced age. Many women use egg donation as an option for expanding their family when other avenues have been exhausted. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly – there are many considerations to be made – but overall, it is an opportunity that provides success for many couples.

"hope" on egg

The Decision

Before a frozen donor egg cycle can happen, there are some decisions that need to be made. Namely, coming to terms with the decision itself.  Thoughts and feelings on the moral and ethical implications of third party reproduction need to be discussed between the couple, as do conversations such as if and when to disclose origins to a future child.  Finances need to be secured as well. Fortunately, frozen donor eggs come with a cheaper price tag than a fresh egg cycle, since the donor has already gone through the process to mature and retrieve the eggs. Once the choice has been made, the next step is choosing where the eggs come from.

Securing Frozen Donor Eggs

Frozen eggs can be secured by utilizing an egg bank, and then having those eggs shipped to a clinic where the embryo transfer will occur. Some fertility clinics will also offer their own frozen egg banks. One consideration that needs to be made is how much information recipients would like in regards to the donor eggs. Some clinics that have their own egg banks will provide adult photos of the donors, and some only provide baby pictures. Some have designated donor egg coordinators that choose the donor for the recipient, after receiving their wishes and requirements. Others will allow women to log into portals that will show a list of available donors. Using an egg bank will allow recipients to choose their own donor as well. Once a clinic’s program or egg bank is chosen, the actual donor herself will need to be picked.

Selecting A Donor

Although selecting a donor is as simple as a few clicks on the computer, it can be a very emotional process that takes time to work through. A couple must consider physical attributes such as hair and eye color, weight and height, along with intellectual ability and medical history. Some women want similar qualities in a donor that they themselves have. Others may carry a short list of wishes, and care more about a donor’s success rates.

Preparing for Implantation

Once the donor is chosen, payment is usually required at that time to secure the eggs, six to eight of them on average. The recipient will then work with her clinic to start on medications to prepare her uterus for a transfer, and the eggs are then fertilized with either her partner’s or donor sperm and the resulting embryo transferred to her uterus.

Emotions Experienced

A woman may experience many emotions during the donor process. She may feel sadness and grief over the loss of passing her own genetics onto her child. She may be angry with her body for failing to do what comes so naturally for others. There may be anxiety and fear that this cycle won’t work, or that she may never have a biological child. There could be feelings of hope and relief, that this will be her answer to her wishes as she mentally closes the door on one journey and opens to the next possibility.

Gift eggs

Build the Family of Your Dreams…

Using frozen donor eggs is a way to be able to experience a pregnancy when the use of one’s own eggs are no longer an option. Once the research is done and clinics and donors are carefully chosen and secured, the process to an embryo transfer runs fairly smoothly. Overall, donor eggs are a wonderful way to build a family.

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