Navigating Donor Egg IVF

Navigating Donor Egg IVF

October 23, 2023
min read

There are many reasons an individual or couple may choose to use a donor egg to get pregnant. A donor egg is an excellent option to experience a healthy and successful pregnancy. Donor egg IVF has proven a successful option for those who cannot conceive using their eggs, providing an opportunity to experience the joys of parenthood. With advancements in medical technology and the support of dedicated professionals at Dominion Fertility, this method offers a promising solution for individuals and couples on their journey to starting a family.

Understanding Donor Egg IVF

gay couple using donor egg IVF to have a baby

Donor egg IVF is a viable option for individuals and couples who cannot conceive with their eggs or risk passing on a medical or chromosomal condition to their child. A donor egg is used during an IVF cycle.

There are several reasons someone may consider egg donation in conjunction with IVF. As we get older, the number of eggs we produce decreases, which could lead to a decline in egg quality. Getting pregnant may become more challenging as your age increases, and there is an increased chance of having a baby born with congenital disabilities. Using an egg donor can increase the likelihood of having a healthy baby. It may also be a solution for individuals with medical issues affecting their fertility. For some, using an egg donor may be their greatest chance of having a successful pregnancy. Same-sex male partners may also use an egg donor to have a child with at least one of their genes. This can be achieved by using a gestational carrier (surrogate) with donor egg IVF.

Some of the reasons an egg donor is considered include the following:

  • A chromosomal or genetic condition that the child could inherit
  • Premature ovarian failure (a condition where menopause starts earlier, usually before age 40)
  • Surgically removed ovaries
  • Diminished ovarian reserve (the eggs are of low quality)
  • Postmenopausal
  • History of recurrent pregnancy loss
  • History of multiple failed IVF cycles with a poor response to ovarian stimulation

Using donor eggs is becoming more common, especially in those over 40. Most people who use a donor egg can achieve a successful pregnancy following egg retrieval.

The Donor Egg IVF Process

The procedure for egg donation is like standard IVF. After an individual or couple has decided to use an egg donor, hormone treatments must be completed on the person receiving the embryo to prepare the body. Individuals with functioning ovaries will need estrogen and progesterone treatments to coincide their ovulation cycle with the donor's.

The egg donor will undergo hormone treatment to induce superovulation. Once the eggs are ready, they will be retrieved and fertilized. The embryos are implanted into the recipient's uterus once they are ready. The recipient will continue to take hormones for about ten weeks afterward.

young woman applying to become an egg donor

Dominion Fertility recruits and screens all of our egg donors. Egg donors are healthy and highly motivated women between ages 21 and 29 who have undergone the following screening process following FDA guidelines:

  • Evaluation by a physician
  • Counseling with a psychologist about being an egg donor
  • Genetic screening
  • Evaluation for sexually transmitted infections

Once you have met with one of our fertility specialists and have decided to use an egg donor, you can choose an egg donor from our database. We actively recruit and screen donors for a fresh cycle of IVF. Your IVF coordinator or navigator can assist you in choosing a suitable donor. An alternative option would be to use a frozen egg donor through a reputable egg bank. There are many factors to consider when choosing to do a fresh cycle versus an egg bank. A fresh cycle will likely yield more eggs, and we dedicate all eggs from a single donor to one recipient. If you are hoping to have more than one child, this may be a better option. However, donor egg banks have eggs immediately available for use, so there is no need to coordinate with an active donor’s schedule.

Dominion Fertility offers a financial guarantee program for donor egg IVF. Their Egg Donor IVF Guarantee program allows you to attempt up to four fresh IVF cycles using an egg donor for one flat fee if you meet the eligibility requirements. This program guarantees a live birth, and if you don't have a live birth after receiving the included services, a refund will be issued depending on which Donor IVF Guarantee program you selected.

Emotional and Legal Considerations

Deciding to use an egg donor can bring a lot of emotions, including grief. Talking about your infertility with close family, friends, or a counselor can help you process your feelings. Focusing on what you are grateful for can increase happiness, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and increase energy. Remove any judgment of yourself and forgive yourself.

A Physical and Emotional Journey

Choosing donor egg IVF can be physically and emotionally exhausting. It is essential to give yourself time to grieve during this process. When deciding to have a family, you probably imagined the traits you would pass on to your baby. Take the time to mourn the loss of that vision. There is so much more that you can pass on to your child than your genetics.

Anonymity and the Egg Donation Process

At Dominion Fertility, the donation process is designed to be completely anonymous, so neither party knows identifiable information about the other. We only share non-identifiable information about your donor: physical characteristics, nationality, medical history, education, and occupation. The egg donors have no rights over the eggs or embryos after donation. If you use a donor outside of our clinic, make sure that the egg donor contract explicitly states that the donor waives all parental rights forever to ensure that any children born from the donated eggs are the legitimate children of the prospective parents.

Ethical Consideration for Donor Egg

couple with child from donor egg IVF

Using an egg donor for IVF raises some ethical concerns that should be considered. One of the main concerns is the informed consent and autonomy of the egg donor. Egg donors must fully understand the potential risks, physical and emotional implications, and long-term consequences of donating their eggs. The safety and well-being of donors must be prioritized during the selection and screening processes to prevent exploitation. It's important to provide donors with fair compensation for their time and any potential risks they may be taking. All parties involved in the egg donation, including the intended parents, need transparency and honesty in disclosing information. If excess embryos are created, all parties should discuss their values and beliefs to decide what to do with them. Dominion Fertility follows the FDA guidelines for donor egg screening to ensure that all donors are informed, healthy, and emotionally prepared for egg donation. We also take necessary measures to keep all our patients, including the egg donor and recipient, safe during all procedures.

Dominion Fertility offers several monthly provider-led support groups to address various aspects of the infertility journey. One of our mental health providers hosts these virtual groups.

Celebrating Your Journey to Parenthood

While building your family can be challenging, Dominion Fertility is here to help. Using a donor egg is one way to experience the joy of parenthood. If you are considering donor egg IVF, contact one of our fertility specialists today to schedule a consultation.

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