IVF Using Donated Eggs

Which Couples Choose Donated Eggs?

In the process of IVF, a woman takes fertility medications to promote egg production in her ovaries. The eggs are extracted using an ultrasound-guided needle once they have reached maturity. The recovered eggs are placed in a petri dish with sperm cells, or injected with individual sperm cells, in the hopes of fertilizing most of the eggs. Embryos can then be implanted in the mother's uterus, transferred to a gestational carrier's uterus, or frozen for use in a later round.

But what if the expectant mother's ovaries aren't able to produce enough eggs for traditional IVF? What if prior pelvic surgeries have reduced a woman’s “ovarian reserve?” What if a gay man and woman desire to start a family? In all of these cases egg donor IVF is an option.

What is the Egg Donation Process?

The use of donor eggs has become increasingly more common for women with infertility. This is particularly true if the woman is over 39 or 40 years of age.

Overall pregnancy rates in the range of 45% or even higher can be readily achieved with the use of donated eggs. The intended mother's uterus must be physiologically capable of normal implantation. In other words, the womb must be in pristine condition. Prior to the embryo transfer cycle, the must be no polyps, fibroids or scar tissue within the womb. At the time of embryo transfer the lining must be prepared in such a way that it has a normal thickness and appearance.

All of the eggs that are obtained from an egg donor during IVF cycle are fertilized with the husband’s sperm. About 90% of the eggs will successfully be fertilized as indicated by a microscopic check of the cell the day after egg retrieval. All of the fertilized eggs will be grown in the lab and cultured until the 5th day post egg retrieval. At this point in time the embryo is referred to as a blastocyst; these embryos can be biopsied to ensure that they are genetically normal.

All of the blastocysts are frozen. Is important to remember that the transfer a single normal blastocyst gives a high pregnancy rate. The remaining embryos are available for future transfers if and when necessary.

Embryo Transfer

The transfer of a frozen thawed embryo, derived from a donor egg, is the most expeditious way of handling things. You don’t have to synchronize the donor with the recipient. There are no timing issues and you have more flexibility over the use of estrogen and progesterone in the recipient.

Preparing the inner portion of the womb for implantation is entirely dependent on the levels of estradiol and progesterone. We use natural estrogen and natural progesterone to prepare the inner lining of the womb for the embryo. In fact, natural estrogen and natural progesterone are the only hormones needed.

It Is quite simple to start estrogen early in a woman cycle in preparation for the frozen thawed embryo transfer. Simple estrogen pills can be utilized effectively over 10 to 14 days to mature the lining of the womb.

When the lining has a desirable configuration, the hormone progesterone is started. The timing of the embryo transfer is quite simple. On the 6th day of progesterone one of the frozen blastocysts is thawed out and the embryo is transferred into the womb. An ultrasound probe over the lower abdomen of the future mother is utilized to precisely localize and pinpoint the site of embryo transfer. After the embryo transfer both estrogen and progesterone are continued during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Future Considerations

There is no question that using donated eggs is extraordinarily successful. In fact, the pregnancy rates achieved with egg donation corresponds strictly to those that would be seen based on the age of the egg donor. The success of the procedure does not depend on the age of the recipient.

At the infertility and lifespan medical Institute” we strive to offer the latest expertise in assisted reproduction. Egg donation is one of the important tools available when this option is desired. Call us for more information about overcoming infertility. Dr. Brody will help you to facilitate your dream of achieving pregnancy. You will fill your family with the love of children. Call us at 858-344-5020 or contact us through our website. We will provide the information, the recommendations and the tools you need for overcoming infertility.

Dr. Steven A. Brody Dr. Steven A. Brody, the Director of the Infertility & Lifespan Medical Institute in San Diego, has spent his professional career providing compassionate and specialized care to help families overcome infertility. Dr. Brody has authored two textbooks, one at Stanford and one with a Nobel Prize winner at Cambridge, entitled “Principles and Practice of Assisted Human Reproduction.” Dr. Brody earned his M.D. degree at Washington University and continued his education with an internship at Yale, a residency at Stanford, and a fellowship at Baylor. Dr. Brody is the only doctor in the U.S. who has achieved Board Certifications in four distinct specialty areas including: Internal Medicine, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. If you are looking for a compassionate and thorough physician who works with you to overcome infertility and treat any reproductive disorders, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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