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Should You Use Donor Egg?

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a blog by Dr. Mark Payson, Dominion Fertility, September 12, 2014

The decision to use donor eggs can be one of the most difficult that fertility patients face. When we were growing up most of us assumed children would come without much difficulty, or we worried that pregnancy would come before we were ready!

Even when difficulties with fertility arise, many patients still achieve pregnancy with their own eggs. It is an additional loss when the idea of using donor eggs is introduced as the best option for pregnancy. I have many patients who have worked hard and long to get pregnant and are crushed at the idea they now have to use “other eggs.”

The most common reason for using donor eggs is a decline in ovarian function. Most often this is age related. After age 40 spontaneous pregnancies become much less common and the rate of miscarriage increases. Some patients that come in for initial fertility screening have testing that indicates their ovaries will not respond and make eggs, or other patients have tried therapies without success. For those patients donor egg IVF provides a path to having a family.

Egg donors are usually young (in our clinic age 20-29) and have had a thorough health screening, including genetic screening for recessive disorders and a psychological profile. Although they are anonymous, there is information about their background, ethnicity, physical characteristics, education, interests, etc to make a good match.

Although it is rarely a first choice, almost everyone who chooses to use donor egg is happy with that decision. Success rates are very high and it is one of the most sure ways to achieve a pregnancy and child. In fact, I do not know any couple that has a baby from donor egg that has regretted that decision. As I tell my patients, the concerns about donor egg are intellectual ones we have before the pregnancy. Once there is a child, all those concerns vanish. You give birth to the child, you are up all night with the baby, there is no question in your mind that it is your child!

I have many patients who told me they would never consider donor egg who now send me cards every year with pictures of their children from that process. Although it is a very personal decision, and one that is not for everyone, it is an option to keep in mind.

Good luck – we are fortunate to live in a time when there are many options that provide solutions and hope!


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