If you are faced with the decision of whether egg donation is the right option for you, Fertility Centers of New England can help. We have a dedicated department that works closely with all donor patients, handling all the issues and providing the ultimate in care. Donor oocyte is never a couple’s only option, but may be the best way to achieve the goal of having a healthy child.

What is egg donation?

Egg donation involves the use of a donated egg or oocyte (usually from a younger woman) that is inseminated with sperm and the resulting embryo is transferred to the recipient’s uterus. The first transfer of a fertilized egg from one human to another that resulted in pregnancy occurred in 1983. Over the years, both the number of donor oocyte cycles and the live birth rates have increased. In 2007, donor eggs or oocytes were used in 12% of all IVF cycles in the United States. The Fertility Centers of New England annually reports one of the highest national pregnancy rates.

Your age, medical history and how you responded to previous treatments are some of the many factors to consider. A woman may seek egg donation due to an absence of ovaries, premature ovarian failure, or sterility from prior chemotherapy or radiation. Donor oocyte is also used in patients with history of poor response in prior IVF cycles, recurrent pregnancy loss, and genetic diseases with a high risk of transmission.

Should a couple decide to pursue donor oocyte IVF, it is important to ensure that other components of the process are in good working order. This includes the function and genetic make-up of the sperm as well as the integrity of the recipient’s uterine environment and surrounding hormones.

How do we select a donor?

You may or may not know your oocyte donor. Some couples choose an oocyte donor related to the recipient; for example, a sister or cousin so that the genes have a family commonality. Other couples wish to pursue an anonymous oocyte donor, which is usually done using an outside agency that specializes in screening and matching couples with donors. The final choice of the anonymous oocyte donor is up to the recipient couple. The agency is paid for their time in screening efforts to obtain a given donor. Our dedicated donor team can assist in this process.

No matter whether the recipients know the oocyte donor or not, all donors are informed that by giving up their eggs, they sever all legal rights and duties to rear or have contact with any resulting children.

Each couple will have their own person selection criteria for an oocyte donor, such as medical parameters or the donor’s age. In one study, for every year increase in donor age, the number of mature oocytes decreased by 0.39 and the number of embryos decreased by 0.25, resulting in 1 less embryo for each 4-year increase in age. If the donor has previously donated eggs, you may be able to use this data to assess oocyte quality and pregnancy outcome.

What is the likelihood of multiple births?

Recipient couples need to be aware of the risk of twin pregnancy with donor oocyte IVF. No more than two embryos will be transferred to the recipient’s uterus. Remaining embryos, if viable, are stored or cryopreserved. Nationally, of the 6609 pregnancies that resulted from donor oocyte in 2007, 52% were singleton pregnancies, 39% were twins, and nearly 4% were triplets or more. About 5% of pregnancies ended in miscarriage. In 2010, the Fertility Centers of New England reported a 0% triplet rate.

Have more questions? Come talk with our dedicated donor department. We are ready to help and provide the very best in fertility care.