When ovarian egg reserve is depleted, extremely low or diminished egg quality does not allow viable pregnancies anymore, or ovaries had been removed, pregnancy is still possible with the use of donated eggs from anonymous or directed donors. If you have a healthy uterus, with the aid of hormone support, pregnancies can be achieved without any ovarian function or the presence of ovaries. As a matter of fact, uterus hardly ages at all before the age of 60 and donor egg pregnancy rates are steady up until the ages of 55. While in general it is preferred to complete a pregnancy by age 51-52, after careful screening, this can be extended to age 55.
Donor Egg IVF offers significantly higher chance of success or may be the only way to conceive in certain case scenarios such as:
1. Women of advanced age.
2. Women with premature ovarian insufficiency.
3. Women with cancer that underwent ovary damaging chemotherapy.
4. Women that failed multiple IVF cycles due to aneuploidy.
5. Women that consistently produce poor-quality embryos.
6. Same-sex couples.
Donors go through a very vigorous screening process including psychological, physical, genetic, and infectious disease examination. Many agencies allow you to see the pictures of the anonymous donors and many characteristics are matched to your liking.
Donor Egg live birth rates are the highest in IVF because of the use of young healthy donors. Our current donor egg success rates exceed 60% per transfer.
There are two approaches to egg donation:
- Fresh Egg Donation: This is the traditional approach. You contract with a donor egg agency, which finds you an anonymous egg donor, whose characteristics matches the ones you desire. Those agencies typically charge a management fee in addition to the fees the donor require. If the donor you chose passes our medical screening, we would then perform IVF on her to collect her eggs to be fertilized with your partner’s sperm (or donor sperm depending on the case scenario). Any surplus embryo that is not transferred to your uterus is frozen and you can use them for future pregnancy attempts. The advantage of this approach is that it will probably result in larger number of eggs and embryos compared to working with frozen donor eggs. The disadvantages are several: i) the process may take at least 3 months or longer. ii) Costs are higher as you are paying for the agency fees, donor’s fees and expenses, all fertility medications and IVF fees.
- Frozen Egg Donation: Thanks to the research performed in the field of cryobiology by us and other scientists, IVF success rates with frozen eggs have caught up with the success rates of IVF with fresh eggs. This resulted in the formation of numerous frozen donor egg banks, similar to donor sperm banks. These banks take the hassle out of the donor screening and stimulation process and give you instant access to “ready-to-go” donor eggs. These banks will typically provide you 6-8 frozen donor eggs for a set fee and guarantee at least 1 blastocyst is generated from that set. If that set does not result in any good quality blastocyst embryo, they will provide you with another batch of 6 to 8 frozen eggs. The advantages of this approach are: i) Process takes much shorter. We can generate embryos from donor eggs within 3 weeks of the receipt. ii) Costs are a fraction of doing egg donation with fresh eggs using an agency. iii) Donors are typically prescreened for hundreds of genetic diseases. The disadvantage is that this approach gives you a single embryo in most cases and if you do not conceive the first time or are interested in a second pregnancy, you will have to obtain a new batch of frozen donor eggs.