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Using Donor Eggs or Sperm for IVF
Dealing with the stress of an infertility diagnosis is hard enough – how much more having to deal with being told that you would need to use a donor’s eggs or sperm?
When some couples experience delays in using their gametes, a fertility specialist may recommend the use of donor eggs or donor sperm.
If donor eggs are recommended, it could mean that the woman’s eggs are already of low quality of the chances of using her eggs at that age will not yield low-grade embryos or an unsuccessful IVF outcome. If donor sperm cells are recommended, the man is probably azoospermic (no sperm at all in his semen) or has poor sperm quality.
Here are some conditions that make your doctor recommend using donor eggs.
- A history of failure with IVF using your eggs
- Genetically transmitted diseases (such as the sickle cell trait).
- Premature ovarian failure: a condition where menopause starts earlier than the age of 40
- Diminished ovarian reserve: a condition where the eggs are of low quality (this is normal after the age of 40)
For men, here are some reasons donor sperm are considered:
- poor quality of sperm
- No sperm found in semen
- Inability to retrieve sperm from the testes via an SSC (Surgical sperm collection) procedure
Using donor eggs may sound strange, but it is certainly not uncommon, especially among women over the age of 40. In 2018, over 42% of all assisted reproduction techniques using fresh donor eggs resulted in a birth (Web MD).
Here are some things you should know:
- Most donors are anonymous
- A good and accredited facility will ensure to run all the necessary screenings and medical checks to ensure your donor is healthy and their eggs can be used. This is extremely important and cannot be overlooked simply because the person “appears” healthy.
- You can choose your donor (maybe from someone in your family so that there’s a genetic tie), or you can choose from a pool of options that could be made available to you by the clinic where you are having your procedure
- For egg donors, women in their 20s are the best fit because their eggs are of excellent quality.
- Egg donors need to go through the process of medical stimulation for egg retrieval.
- Some of the eggs collected from your donor can be frozen for use for another cycle if you so choose.
- If all the eggs are fertilised and you have embryos, some can be frozen for later
- The donor receives a fee for their participation in helping your family grow, so apart from the cost of medications and other accompanying expenses, you should consider this, too.
After deciding to use donor eggs, several concerns may arise over time. Concerns such as genetic connection, inability to bond deeply with the child, no facial resemblance, to mention a few.
We will not debunk your concerns because they are valid. What is more important to us in your infertility journey is your strong resolve and desire to have a child you can call your own and the great length you would go to achieve it. That desire is strong enough to keep you in love with your child, and it is stronger than any genetic tie or facial resemblance. The love and bond of a parent and their child is beyond what a DNA test says, and we have seen this in people who adopt children and raise them as though they gave birth to them.
“…I had many emotions. It was hard to give up on the idea of a genetic connection with my children. I worried about how my children would feel about it, I worried about how I would feel about it, I worried about the problems that might arise as my children grew up and had questions.
I finally decided all of that was less important than having a family.” – Anonymous
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Source: Web MD
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