Whether you are someone who is struggling with infertility or other reproductive issues, or you’re a single male or gay male couple who hopes to have biological children, you may be considering donor eggs as an option for your family-building goals. While this can be a challenging time, it's important to know that there are options available to help you achieve your dreams of starting a family.
But first, you may be asking yourself “how do I know if I need donor eggs?” While there are a number of reasons one may turn to egg donation for their family-building, in this article we will discuss some of the most common scenarios.
I’m struggling with infertility
Infertility affects about 1 in 8 couples worldwide, and sometimes it can be due to the quality of the eggs. As we age, our eggs decrease in quantity and quality, making it more challenging to conceive. If you have been trying to conceive for a year or more without success, and your doctor has confirmed that there may be an egg quality or quantity issue, then donor eggs may be an option for you.
I’m a single or gay dad
While heterosexual couples or women often find out later in life that they need to pursue egg donation, gay or single men are typically in a different situation, in that they have always known they would need donor eggs in order to have a biological child.
While not all people will find this to be a priority to them, working with an egg donor and a surrogate allows gay and single men the opportunity to have a genetic link to their child, which is one reason you may consider egg donation over adoption to grow your family.
I'm over 40
If you are over 40 and struggling with infertility, using donor eggs may provide you with a better chance of success. Donor eggs are generally from qualified egg donors who are between the ages of 23-34, which can increase the chances of successful fertilization, pregnancy, and delivery. If you are over 40 and have been trying to conceive without success, you may consider using donor eggs to achieve your dream of parenthood.
I’ve been diagnosed with Premature ovarian failure (POF)
Premature ovarian failure (POF) is a condition in which the ovaries stop functioning before the age of 40. Those with POF have reduced or no ovarian function, making it difficult or impossible to conceive with your own eggs. If you have POF, you may be a candidate for using donor eggs, as your own eggs may not be viable for conception. Donor eggs can provide you with a higher chance of a successful pregnancy and delivery.
I had chemotherapy and/or radiation
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can damage the ovaries and reduce or eliminate the chances of conceiving with your own eggs. If you have had cancer treatment and your fertility has been affected, you may consider using donor eggs to achieve pregnancy. Donor eggs provide a higher chance of success compared to using your own eggs after cancer treatment.
I've had repeated IVF failure with my own eggs
Those who have experienced repeated IVF failure with their own eggs, even if they are still relatively young, may be a candidate for donor egg IVF. This can be due to poor egg quality or other factors. If you've tried multiple rounds of IVF without success, using donor eggs can dramatically increase your chances of bringing your baby home.
I have low ovarian reserve
Depending on your age, those with a low ovarian reserve may not produce enough viable eggs to achieve a successful pregnancy. If you’re in this boat, donor eggs can help make up for your diminishing egg quantity.
I have a genetic disorder
If you or your partner carries a genetic disorder that could be passed on to your child, using donor eggs may be an option to reduce the risk of passing on the disorder. Many genetic disorders are caused by mutations in a person's DNA, and some of these mutations can be passed down to their children. If you have been diagnosed with a genetic disorder that could be passed on to your child, using donor eggs from a donor without the genetic mutation can significantly reduce the risk of your child inheriting the disorder.
I’ve had recurrent pregnancy losses
If you have experienced recurrent pregnancy losses, using donor eggs may be an option to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy and delivery. Recurrent pregnancy loss is typically defined as the loss of two or more pregnancies, and it can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetic abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, or anatomical issues. Using donor eggs may increase the likelihood of successful fertilization and implantation, which may reduce the risk of pregnancy loss.
Cofertility can help
At Cofertility, we are striving to give you the best egg donation experience possible. We believe matching with an egg donor should be a positive experience. It sounds obvious, right? But the largely unregulated egg donation market has led to some sketchy practices. We want to bring ethics and transparency to an industry where most agencies don’t even have an "About Us" page.
If you're looking for an egg donor — for any of the reasons listed above — you may already feel like the odds are stacked against you. The last thing you need is to feel like you’re “shopping” for a human who plays a critical role in your family-building journey. And we’ll never make it feel that way.
We are honored that you are considering us as part of your family-building journey. Create a free account today to begin meeting our donors. And please reach out if we can be of any assistance!
Meera Shah, MD, FACOG, is a double board-certified OBGYN and reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California. She is a Founding Medical Advisor at Cofertility. Dr. Shah has authored numerous research articles on topics ranging from fertility preservation, pregnancy loss, reproductive genetics, and ethnic differences in IVF outcomes. Her medical practice incorporates the highest level of evidence-based medicine and the most cutting edge technologies to optimize outcomes for her patients. Dr. Shah applies this approach to her work with Cofertility, ensuring that Cofertility remains up-to-date on latest medical advancements and research in third-party reproduction and reproductive endocrinology in general. When Dr. Shah isn’t busy working with her patients at NOVA IVF, she enjoys playing pretty much any sport, learning new piano pieces on YouTube, and spending quality time with her husband and three boys. You can find her on Instagram providing fertility-related advice and education at @dr_meerashah.
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