You are here
Is Donor Egg IVF Right For You?
Many women seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) to treat infertility have struggled to conceive using their own eggs. What they may not realize is that women’s egg quality declines with age, simultaneously decreasing her odds for a successful cycle. The truth is, our egg quality is at its prime between the ages of 16 and 28, and begins to decline as we approach our 30s. By age 39, our egg quality significantly decreases and by age 42, many fertility doctors will strongly suggest donor egg IVF cycles to maximize your family building potential.
Why Choose Donor Egg IVF?
In the past, there was concern for the success rates of donor egg IVF, but as technology advances, success rates climb and are now comparable to those of an IVF cycle using your own eggs. Tampa fertility doctor Sandy Goodman, M.D. of The Reproductive Medicine Group tells us: “Donor Egg is an important, viable option for couples whose infertility is due to reduced or poor quality or quantity of the woman's eggs. Success rates are now at least 50% per attempt”.
What is Involved in a Donor Egg IVF Cycle?
You may be wondering, though, what a donor egg IVF cycle entails. A donor egg IVF cycle is much like a traditional IVF cycle. The donor will use fertility drugs to stimulate egg follicle growth in preparation for egg retrieval. Once mature, the eggs will be surgically removed from the donor and fertilized with your partner’s sperm to create embryos.
As the recipient, you may be asked to take birth control pills for one cycle, undergo a “mock transfer”, and may also take a suppressing drug like Lupron. Typically five days before transfer, you will begin taking estrogen supplements. These treatments and procedures are put in place to ensure an optimal environment for receiving the embryos.
How a Donor is Chosen
You may be able to choose an anonymous donor through your fertility clinic or through a donor egg agency. You may also consider asking a friend or family member to be a known donor. The donor is generally a healthy female between the ages of 21 and 30 years old. She will complete a full medical profile and undergo psychological testing. You will be provided with a report that indicates qualities like hair and eye color, family medical history, ethnicity, and education. Dr. Goodman assures us that “many options are available for donor selection to allow for the best match”.
Donor Egg IVF Cycle Costs
The costs of a donor egg cycle are similar to traditional IVF except that they include a donor fee. Donors earn, on average, $7,000 and you should also factor in the cost of medications for both the donor and recipient. “Couples should investigate whether a clinic offers programs to offset costs such as a split or shared egg donor option, allows for the use of agency egg donors and actively recruits donors. Another very important option to consider and inquire about is whether the fertility clinic has a refund or guarantee program. Refund programs allow couples to pay an inclusive, set fee which covers a specific number of ‘fresh’ and frozen cycles during which the couple can continue to undergo treatment until they achieve a pregnancy resulting in the birth of a baby or, if a successful outcome is not achieved, the couple receive a full refund”, Dr. Goodman reminds us.
You should talk to your fertility doctor to explore your fertility treatment options and to see if donor egg IVF is right for you.