Yet, many women now choose to wait until their 30s or 40s to start a family.
Fortunately, using donor eggs is one of the best solutions available to make that dream a reality.
From the cost comparison of fresh versus frozen donor egg to the emotional choices you’ll have to make along the way, there are many questions, concerns, and emotions you may have about this next step in your fertility journey.
We answer five of the most common questions below.
Am I a Good Candidate for Donor Eggs?
Many women who opt for donor eggs are those mentioned above—women whose egg quality and/or quantity has diminished with age.
However, donor eggs are also a wonderful solution for those whose cancer treatments cause infertility, are at risk of transmitting a hereditary or genetic disease or have entered early menopause.
Which Is More Cost Effective – Fresh or Frozen Donor Egg?Frozen donor egg cycles are a less expensive alternative to fresh eggs due to the lack of individual synchronisation needed. Further, it’s considered significantly less stressful and more flexible because you can start your cycle according to your own schedule.
With fresh donor egg, your menstrual cycle and your donor’s cycle need to be synchronised, which is a time-consuming process. This means a physician will need to dictate your schedule to ensure it fits both of your cycles. Additionally, you may need to pay for your donor to travel to and from your chosen clinic, which adds to the time and expense involved.
Finally, using frozen donor eggs gives you access to a larger pool of candidates than fresh, as candidates can donate their eggs whenever – and wherever - it’s convenient for them, and then their eggs are safely, cryogenically stored until use.
What Requirements Are There for Egg Donors?There are rigorous processes in place to ensure egg donors are fit, healthy, and 100% comfortable with their decision.
Egg donors are assessed through various physical and psychological tests. Egg banks and clinics look at family genetic history and other health records to ensure there are no serious medical conditions or diseases that may be passed on.
Donor screening often includes test like:
- Drug tests
- Psychological evaluations
- Medical history examinations
- Professional and educational history questionnaires
- They must be between the ages of 21 and 33.
- They can’t be currently smoking or using drugs.
- They can’t be carriers of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, and chlamydia.
- Their emotional and physical health must be good overall.
- They have approximately three months of availability to complete the egg donation process.
- They must be prepared to self-administer injectable medications.
Reputable donor egg banks will not accept a donor egg candidate if any of these conditions aren’t met.
How Do I Find a Donor?Some women find a donor close to home in a friend or family member who wishes to help them start a family. Others may choose to use a donor through a frozen donor egg bank like Donor Egg Bank USA.
The former may provide you reassurance as to where your baby’s genes are coming from, but the latter often removes any potential complications with relationships and the identity of your donor further down the line. Additionally, a donor egg bank provides access to a large database of national or international candidates, so you can choose your best donor match—you aren’t simply assigned a random donor whom you know nothing about.
What’s Involved in the Physical Process?After you’ve found your donor, your clinic will prepare your body for your embryo implantation. This means taking a course of hormones for several weeks to help thicken the lining of your uterus.
Then, your clinic prepares the eggs for fertilisation with your partner’s or donor’s sperm. This means thawing your selected frozen eggs or collecting fresh eggs from your donor. Once fertilised, your embryos enter an incubator for two to three days before the transfer of one or two to your womb.
Two weeks later, you’ll return to your clinic for a blood test and an ultrasound to confirm your pregnancy.
An Emotional Journey with the Biggest RewardsAs you embark on the journey of using donor eggs, it can feel as though you’re riding a rollercoaster of emotions. From utter despair one day to overwhelming joy the next, there are so many ups and downs to any infertility story.
Fortunately, with more women starting their families through donor egg, an increasing number of ‘happily ever afters’ are being written at the end of these stories – and yours could be next.