As women age, the number and quality of their eggs diminish. This occurs at different rates in different women, but gets worse in the late 30’s and even worse in the 40’s. Egg quality and the ability to make genetically normal embryos from those eggs are the main determinant of who will succeed with IVF and who will not. This is why many young women (under 35) have an excellent shot at getting pregnant through IVF, but by the mid 40’s successful pregnancies are uncommon.
At the present time, the only way of overcoming the issue is by using an egg donor. This is an overview of how the egg donor process works
- Young women (preferably < age 30) or recruited to be egg donors. The are screened for medical and psychological issues that might make them an inappropriate donor. If they make it through this process to allowed to be part of the pool of donors. This process may be done by an egg donor agency or a fertility clinic.
- The patient meets with the doctor and/or staff at the fertilty clinic where she undergoes any required testing and selects a donor.
- The fertility clinic team will coordinate “dates” for the donor and the recipient (the intended mother) and using medications such as leuprolide and birth control pills. The idea is to make sure when the donors eggs are ready, the recipient’s uterus will be ready as well. While this may sound like a difficult process, it is not as complicated as it sounds.
- The donor will receive fertility injections to make the eggs grow, an hCG injection to force the eggs to release and an egg retrieval to harvest those eggs just before they are released.