Getting Pregnant with Donor Eggs – Success Rate, Pros and Cons

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DONOR EGGS

Infertility can be an enormous strain on any relationship, in the past, couples had to go through difficult and invasive treatments that weren’t proven or adopt a child from an orphanage to have a child if they were not fertile enough to conceive on their own, through modern science and techniques like IVF, getting pregnant is no longer as big a challenge as it was 40 years ago. One popular type of treatment for pregnancy is using donor sperm and donor eggs, here are the success rates, pros and cons for using donor eggs as a method of conceiving.

When must Women Consider using Donor Eggs?

Donor eggs are usually a recommended option only for women who are trying to get pregnant and are above the age of 40, while you can consider donor eggs at a younger age, it is usually recommended for women who have little or no chance of becoming pregnant through their own eggs.

Before considering if you want to use donor eggs, first it is recommended that you first undergo a medical diagnosis to know where your reproductive system stands in terms of being a hospitable environment for a pregnancy. This can only be done through numerous medical tests, even after these tests are done, doctors will recommend you undergo some counselling and talk to your legal counsel to ensure the entire process is legal, ethical and is something you are ready for both physically and emotionally.

IVF with Own Eggs vs. Donor Eggs

An important aspect to understand when comparing IVF treatments done with your own eggs vs those done with donor eggs. In most situations, donor eggs are slightly different in their functions than using IVF on your own frozen eggs. It is always better to use your own eggs even if they are frozen but donor egg IVF success rates in India are slightly higher.

The chances of getting pregnant with donor eggs are nearly 40%. One advantage of using your own eggs for IVF is that it can be tested for genetic markers that ensure you don’t pass along an illness or disorder. Using either donor eggs or your own embryos are an option in a number of different circumstances:

  • Donor eggs are recommended if you have had numerous miscarriages
  • Your own embryos are recommended if you have a likelihood of passing down an existing genetic or immune-system disorder
  • Donor eggs are recommended for women above 40
  • Donor eggs are the better option if you are suffering from female infertility
  • If you can’t conceive with your own eggs, donor eggs still remain an option
  • With the help of a gestational carrier, single men can become fathers by using donor eggs

Here are a few important statistics to consider when choosing either your own eggs or Donor eggs.

  • A combination of donor eggs and IVF gives women above 40 a 20% chance of getting pregnant per cycle.
  • You can only use your own eggs till the age of 45, at the age of 42 the chances of you getting pregnant are at 10%, by 43 it drops to 5%.
  • Doctors recommend egg donation as a primary choice for women above the age of 45 as their chances of conceiving through their own eggs are less than 3%.
  • After the age of 45 the chances of miscarriage go extremely high.
  • While using your own eggs, consider that after 30, any eggs a woman releases may have a high chance of having abnormal chromosomes, the chances of this are as high as 30% at this age.
  • After 40, the chances of having abnormal chromosomes in your pregnancy can spike up to 60%.
  • After 45, the chances of this spike to 90%.

How to Find and Choose Donor Eggs?

Donor eggs are one of the most commonly used methods to conceive a child when you have been diagnosed as infertile. Finding and choosing donor eggs can play a crucial role in the success of the pregnancy through this method. The most important things to consider are the person you are going to get the donor eggs from. Here are your options:

  • Ask a close friend
  • Ask a relative
  • Go through an agency or donor foundation

When going through the donor foundations remember to choose a donor who:

  • Has physical features you are comfortable with.
  • Is screened for any genetic disorders or infections.
  • Is known to have an educational record that satisfies you.
  • Is employed in a profession that you are okay with.

GET TO KNOW THE DONOR

Fertility Treatment Working with Fresh Donor Egg vs. Frozen Donor Egg

When choosing donor eggs, it is important to note the egg donation process and risks that may play a part in choosing between fresh and frozen donor eggs, here is a comparison:

Fresh Eggs have the following timeline:

  • Synching the cycle

When using fresh donor eggs, the donor and you need to be on the same hormonal cycle to make sure your uterus can become a hospitable environment for the donor’s eggs. This requires you to take medication known as progesterone and a hormonal tablet to boost your estrogen. During this time your donor will need to take gonadotropin.

  • Gathering the eggs

Once the donor’s eggs are ready and mature for fertilization she will have an anaesthetic so that a needle can be inserted into her vaginal area, this then allows the practitioners to extract the eggs from the donor’s ovaries.

  • Fertilize the eggs

Finally, the remaining procedure works similar to IVF, in this part of the procedure, the fertility experts use your partners or a donor’s sperm to fertilize the donor eggs, each egg that is fertilized becomes an embryo which is then inserted into your uterus, this then has the possibility of growing into a baby. Any extra embryos can be frozen for later use.

Frozen Eggs have a similar timeline with minute changes:

  • No Synching required

In this phase, the donor doesn’t have to synch her cycle to yours.

  • Thaw the eggs

For frozen eggs, once the medication is done and your uterus is ready for the eggs, fertility experts will carefully thaw the eggs, they take extreme care so the eggs aren’t damaged. Then they fertilize and transfer the eggs into your uterus.

How Long will Fertility Treatment with Donor Eggs Take?

The length of fertility treatments isn’t guaranteed, this process can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks in the best of circumstances but this depends on the age of both the donor and the recipient. At times it can take multiple sessions of donor eggs and IVF.

What are the Donor Egg Success Rates by Age?

The donor egg success rates over 40 drop drastically by the year. When using donor eggs with IVF, the success rate is dependent on the donor’s age, the embryo’s quality, the number of embryo’s transferred, your uterus health and luck. Up to the age of 42, the positive outlook for chances of pregnancy is at 50%, the pessimistic view is at 30%, between 43-45 the chances are between 30%-45%, the chances of donor egg pregnancy after the age of 50 is minimal but possible. Clinics don’t commonly offer treatments like donor eggs beyond the age of 55. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor about pregnancy after menopause with a donor egg.

SUCCESS RATES WITH AGE

How Many Donor Egg Cycles are Needed Before Achieving Pregnancy?

The number of donor egg cycles required before achieving pregnancy is extremely dependent on a number of factors. It is a possibility that you can get pregnant in one cycle if the donor’s age and egg quality is extremely high and that your uterus is hospitable enough and prepared enough to carry through the pregnancy, this involves a lot of luck as well. Research shows that by the third cycle there is a 90% chance of a successful pregnancy. This is still decided on a case by case situation though, meaning it can take four or five cycles in rare cases to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Why Does Donor Egg IVF Fail?

There is no consensus on the reason a donor egg fails as it can be determined on a case by case basis but some of the most common reasons for donor egg IVF failures are:

  • Uterine Abnormalities

An abnormality within your uterus can be the cause your donor eggs to not successfully develop into a fetus, this can be due to conditions like endometriosis or an intrauterine adhesion amongst other diseases or illnesses.

  • Immune System Issues

There are quite a few immune system disorders that can cause the donor eggs to stop developing or can cause miscarriages after the fertilized egg or embryo is transferred into your uterus.

  • Hypercoagulability aka Blood Clotting Disorders

These types of disorders can cause major vaginal bleeds, this is a common cause of miscarriages with donor eggs.

For other reasons that donor egg IVF can fail please consult your doctor.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using Donor Egg?

There can be a lot of pros and cons when using donor eggs, these are important to know before you make the decision to follow through with this treatment:

Pros

  • Pregnancies can be successful at ages beyond 38
  • Frozen eggs can be more cost-effective than other fertility treatments
  • A successful pregnancy can give you a feeling of a genetic connection with your child

Cons

  • IVF treatments for donor eggs can be more complex and more expensive for fresh donor eggs
  • There can be a higher chance at multiple pregnancies that result in twins or triplets
  • Having multiple embryos transferred can increase the chances of miscarriages

HIGHER CHANCE AT MULTIPLE PREGNANCY

How Much Do Donor Eggs Cost In India?

Like any fertility treatment, donor eggs can cost a pretty penny, in countries like the United States of America the prices can go as high as $30,000 for fresh donor eggs and $10,000 for frozen ones. In countries like India, it is recommended that you do your research thoroughly and find trustworthy fertility experts. There can be a number of cheap donor egg organizations who store the eggs in an unsafe manner which can complicate your life as well as the chances of a successful pregnancy. An average cost for donor eggs in India by a trustworthy organization with trained physicians can go up to Rs. 3 Lakh or more.

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about donor eggs as a method of fertility treatments.

1. Can Using Frozen Donor Eggs Impact the Success of IVF?

Although minor, frozen eggs have a lower chance of success than fresh donor eggs. Frozen eggs are cheaper and still have a good chance of success through IVF and should be considered a valid option.

2. Are there any Chances of Down Syndrome with Donor Eggs?

There are chances of down syndrome with any pregnancy, the chances are a bit higher as you get older, however, down syndrome is more likely in donor egg pregnancies after the age of 45 and gets far more likely after the age of 50.

There are numerous methods of fertility treatments, donor eggs are the most cost-efficient and realistic methods of treatment, especially if there are fertility issues or you are above the age of 42. It is recommended that before you opt for any treatment that you consult your primary healthcare physician and that you understand all your options. After opting for a fertility treatment, ensure you go through all your tests and follow up appointments, in case you choose a donor egg, ensure that the candidates you choose for the donor eggs are screened for genetic markers to ensure a healthy pregnancy. During the period of the pregnancy, ensure you are in contact with your doctor and have routine check-ups. This helps the success-rate of the pregnancy stay high.

Also Read: Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer

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