Egg donation sounds kind of science fiction-y, right? Well, it's not. It's a medical advancement that has allowed women suffering from infertility to have children. There are roughly 6.7 million women who are unable to have children, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. While some of these women can use their own eggs, others can't. Understanding when an egg donor is necessary is the first step to baby-time success. Who may need a donor egg and why?
Advanced Maternal Age
You've heard of a "biological clock," but are sure when it stops ticking. The older you are, the less likely it is that you can have a baby naturally. At age 35 most women are considered "advanced maternal age." That doesn't mean a woman can't get pregnant with her own eggs. Just that she's less likely to conceive (or as quick to conceive) as a younger woman. As a woman ages, her ovaries may release fewer eggs, and the eggs may not be as healthy as they were a few years ago. Women who are suffering from age-related infertility can use a donor egg through IVF to get pregnant and carry the baby.
Premature Ovarian Failure
When a women's ovaries stop functioning ovulation also stops. Yes, this happens naturally most of the time. It's called menopause, and it's probably not something you're looking forward to. But, when it happens before age 40, it isn't exactly 'normal'. While some women with this condition ovulate occasionally and may be able to get pregnant, others completely stop. If you're not producing eggs, you can't get pregnant. This is where egg donation comes into play. As long as the woman doesn't have a medical problem prohibiting her from carrying a baby, she can get pregnant with the donor egg (through IVF) and have a child.
Poor Egg Quality
Some women have eggs, but still can't get pregnant. Diagnosing poor egg quality takes the specialized skills of a fertility professional. If other infertility issues have been ruled out and the eggs are the culprit, the woman can choose an egg donor in order to get pregnant.
Some conditions and diseases make it impossible for a woman to get pregnant naturally. For example, a woman who has had a full hysterectomy as part of reproductive system cancer treatment (such as ovarian or uterine cancer) won't have eggs or the ability to carry a child. In this case, having a baby requires a donor egg and a surrogate.
Using egg donation is one way to make your baby dreams come true. Depending on your situation, you may be a candidate for this type of treatment. Only a qualified medical professional, like Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine, can advise you on your odds of success and what types of fertility procedures are most applicable to your case.