Infertility Issues? Explore Egg Donation

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Infertility Issues? Explore Egg Donation
Are you and your significant other trying to start a family, but you’re experiencing some difficulties? It can be very frustrating for a couple who is having trouble getting pregnant. If you have already undergone IVF treatment and are beginning to wonder if you will ever get to have a child of your own, egg donation may be another option available to help you overcome fertility issues. If you’re not sure how it works or if it is right for you, here’s some information that can help.  

Fresh vs. Frozen Eggs
When you decide to move forward with donor egg, you have a choice between fresh or frozen eggs. For fresh eggs, you select a donor (usually from a smaller pool of donors located near you), and you will receive the entire yield of your donor’s cycle.

With frozen eggs, on the other hand, your eggs will be provided from an egg bank that typically offers a much larger donor selection.  You select your donor based on the information they provide to you, and you will receive a lot of about 5-8 unfertilized eggs, regardless of the number of eggs retrieved from the donor.  

Fresh eggs are known to generate ‘good’ embryos, with more eggs retrieved per cycle and thus more viable embryos overall. However, egg retrieval from donors can be an unpredictable process and can involve a long waiting time due to the synchronization of you and your donor’s cycles.

Frozen egg cycles are more predictable and less costly, since they don’t rely on synchronizing cycles. They come in smaller egg lots, though success rates are just as high as fresh eggs. Typically, fewer embryos are available for the future which is something to consider if you want to have more children later on.

How Egg Donation Works
Application and Screening
You will go through an application and screening process, which may involve interviews and testing.

Choosing a Donor
Once given the green light to use donor egg, you will choose your donor from an agency’s donor pool, or use a known donor such as a friend, acquaintance, or relative. A reproductive endocrinologist will be able to help you determine if your known donor is a good candidate. If choosing from a donor pool, you will be able to see information about their background, including educational level, family history, and medical history.

Legal Processing
Risks and liabilities will be discussed, and waivers and legal documents will be signed to make sure you understand your rights and agree to the terms and conditions of the process.

Cycle Synchronization (Fresh Eggs)
When it comes to fresh eggs, your cycle needs to be synced with the donor’s cycle. This ensures that your uterine lining will be ready for implantation at the same time that your donor’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized. This is usually done through birth control pills. Once your cycles are synchronized, you will have to take estrogen supplements for 8 to 10 days to prime your uterine lining in order for the embryos to be implanted.

Selecting an Egg (Frozen Eggs)
When using frozen eggs, you will get a guaranteed number of eggs from the egg bank. They are ready for your use, on your schedule, without the need to synchronize your cycle with the donor’s.

Fertilization and Embryo Transfer
For fresh eggs, an egg retrieval is scheduled once your donor’s eggs are mature. After the eggs have been retrieved, they will be fertilized with sperm from your partner or a donor. When the embryos are ready for transfer, typically on the third day, the embryo will be transferred to your uterus. In most cases, one or two embryos will be transferred. However, transferring just one embryo will reduce the chance of twins. Any additional high-quality embryos left from the cycle can be frozen for use at another time.

Post Check-up and Pregnancy Test
After 9 to 14 days, a blood pregnancy test is performed. This test checks for the presence of a pregnancy hormone called hCG in your blood. Once positive, the test will be repeated two days later to confirm the pregnancy. For the donor, there will be a check-up one to two days after retrieval.

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will be transferred to an obstetrician who will tend to the duration of your pregnancy. While this is indeed a process, trained professionals can make it much easier, and in the end, you can quite possibly fulfill your dream of being a parent.


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