Choosing Egg Donation


Choosing Egg Donation

Choosing Egg Donation

The effect of maternal age on a woman’s fertility is very real and predictable. Beginning at age 35 and rapidly accelerating at age 40, the ability to have a child with your own oocytes is quickly declining. At age 40 it is more than twice as hard to conceive and by age 43 this has become ten times as difficult as it was at age 30. This decline is almost exclusively related to your biological age and unrelated to factors like fitness, previous fertility, use of birth control pills, nutrition or other factors.

There are two primary factors responsible for the decline. First is a decline in the total number of eggs you have and secondly there is a decrease in the quality of the remaining eggs in your ovaries. This can be clearly seen in IVF procedures in women over age 40. Not only do we have fewer eggs retrieved but the resulting embryos have markedly diminished ability to make a child. These women have three options to have a child. First option would be to beat the odds using their own oocytes (eggs). Second option would be to adopt a child and the third option is the use of donor oocytes.

Assuming that you haven’t beaten the odds, donor oocytes offer many advantages over adoption. With donor eggs you carry the pregnancy and are therefore legally the mother. You can use your husband’s sperm and go through the pregnancy and childbirth experience. This is something most women want to experience in their life. Because you carry the pregnancy, the bonding process with the baby cannot be duplicated. Adoption doesn’t give you this degree of bonding. Finally the donor oocyte procedure is much less expensive in almost all cases to adoption. The pregnancy rate with donor oocytes is controlled by the age of the donor and not the age of the recipient. When you read of celebrities in their late 40’s and 50’s giving birth through “IVF” what they really did was IVF with donor oocytes.

Finally, it is possible to have more than one child from a single donor oocyte procedure. For these reasons and many others, the donor oocyte procedure has become a very effective way to achieve a pregnancy. While the majority of women who use donor oocytes are over 40, it is also used in younger women that have lost their ovaries because of genetics, surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.

Egg Donation Recipient Program

Parents seeking egg donation should be medically and psychologically healthy and able to provide written consent to participate. We offer complete comprehensive medical screening, teaching and preparation for participation in our program. We also provide intended parents a consult with a counselor to assist with the psychological and social navigation of the Donor Recipient process as well as continued support as needed by the recipient.

Ideal Candidates for Egg Donation

Egg donation is indicated in any clinical condition in which pregnancy is desired and the female partner cannot provide eggs for fertilization, or when eggs are available but unacceptable for use, such as by certain chromosomal and genetic conditions.

Candidates for egg donation include:

  • Women born without functioning ovaries.
  • Women whose ovaries were surgically removed.
  • Women with premature ovarian failure.
  • Women who are postmenopausal.
  • Women with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Women with a history of multiple failed IVF cycles and/or who are poor responders to ovarian stimulation

Are there any requirements based on recipient age?

Women over the age of 45 are encouraged to have cardiovascular testing and a high-risk obstetrical consultation before undertaking IVF with donor eggs. We recommend that recipients of donor oocytes be no older than 52 years of age at the estimated time of embryo transfer.

How do we select egg donors?

  • Local university anonymous donors
  • Donors from private recruiting agencies
  • Directed donors (such as sisters, other relatives and friends)

Our program offers potential recipients of egg donation the opportunity to select:

All donors must meet our criteria for acceptance: intelligent, educated, 21-28 years of age, and medically and psychologically in good health. In addition to a comprehensive medical and psychological screening, egg donors undergo laboratory testing for transmissible diseases. It is important to note that egg donor testing is regulated by the Federal Drug.

Association (FDA). Bellingham IVF Egg Donation Program strictly adheres to FDA regulations on donor screening. For more information on becoming an egg donor, learn more here.

Bellingham IVF Egg Donor Program

Anonymous donors are recruited and screened by our program. Local donors are educated, attractive, articulate and bright young women. Intended parents are provided with comprehensive information including her health history, family health history, eye color, hair color, height, weight, blood type, ancestry, educational level, occupation, interests, and outcome of previous donations.

Egg Donors from Private Recruiting Agencies

In some cases intended parents may be looking for characteristics in the donor that we are not able to provide, or may wish to meet the donor before participation. We work with donor agencies who recruit donors around the country and locally. We are happy to provide a recommended list to interested participants.

Directed Egg Donors

Directed donors are generally recruited by the recipients, and are screened by our program. Intergenerational donations (i.e. daughter to mother) are not acceptable and all donations by family members are evaluated on a case by case basis.

Intended parents are welcome to bring their own donor as long as she meets our criteria for acceptance, but it should be noted that cycles using directed donors tend to be less successful.

How long does it take to be matched to an egg donor?

There is no waiting list in our program and it typically takes about one month to be matched to a donor following completion of entry requirements.

Is it necessary to have a legal contract with the egg donor?

Intended parents using a Bellingham IVF donor are not required to have an outside legal contract because they, and the donors, are protected under the legal guidelines provided by the clinic. An important part of the consent process is that donors waive all rights regarding their donated oocytes which become the property of the intended parents.

Intended parents using a directed donor are required to have an outside legal contract with their donors. Intended parents using agency donors also need to have an outside legal contract which is usually provided by the agency.

What testing is required for intended parents?

Required screening includes blood tests for partners, semen analysis, and evaluation of the uterine cavity by ultrasound.

Additional testing may be indicated based on age and medical/genetic history.

When are we matched to the donor?

Once all medical testing requirements are completed participants are ready to be matched. Our egg donation team takes into careful consideration intended parents’ preferences for donor characteristics. These include, but are not limited to: eye color, hair color, height, weight, ancestry, educational level, and previous donation history.

What is involved in the Treatment Cycle?

The treatment cycle for the recipient most commonly involves endometrial preparation using estrogen and progesterone.

The details of medication protocol and instructions on how to administer the medications are reviewed with Cheryl.

The partner of the recipient collects semen on the day of the retrieval. If necessary, frozen sperm of the partner or a sperm donor may also be used. Embryo transfer occurs 3 to 5 days after the retrieval. The day of the transfer is determined based on the number and morphology of available embryos.

How long does the cycle last?

In total, the treatment cycle is completed in 5 to 8 weeks.

What are the program costs?

Total costs may vary depending on the intended parents and if further testing and/or medications are required. Cost breakdown and payments will be covered by Cheryl or Joleigh.