“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind.”
― Howard W. Hunter
The decision to have a child is possibly one of the most important life decisions a woman can make. However, discovering that you are unable to conceive naturally can be devastating and can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, and inadequacy. If you have trouble conceiving naturally, one possible solution is to explore egg donation. Here are some things to consider about donor eggs:
Coming to Terms with the Decision
For couples and single women alike, the decision to use donor eggs often involves a grieving period. Coming to terms with the decision that your future child will not share your genetics is important for the healthy development of the future family.
People struggling with infertility who choose donor egg IVF often seek counseling to learn how to cope with this decision even before setting foot in an IVF clinic.
The Donor Egg Process
Once a decision has been made, the process includes several steps:
The details of your infertility diagnosis may vary from another’s. It is best to consult with both a fertility physician as well as a donor coordinator about the program. This involves medical testing to determine if your uterus is capable of accepting a fertilized egg and developing a pregnancy.
The next step is choosing a donor. This can be someone who is close and/or related to you or someone from a donor egg bank. Egg banks typically offer a large donor pool where you can choose your donor based on physical characteristics, ethnicity, and even occupation. Choosing a fresh or frozen donor egg can be a weighty decision. With proper counseling, many have chosen a donor they love and successfully had a baby.
Legal and Ethical Concerns
If you opt for a donor who is close and/or related to you, it’s important to have all the legalities on paper. This means you need to know the degree of the donor’s involvement in the future child’s life and the age and circumstances of disclosure. Most donors from egg banks sign off all the rights to the future child. In some cases, you may be able to choose if, how and to what degree the donor would be involved in the child’s life.
Every child has the right to know his or her genetic heritage. However, this may not be possible in cases where frozen donor eggs are used and the donor wishes to remain anonymous.
Fresh Donor Eggs
In cases where fresh donor eggs are used, you and your donor will undergo hormonal treatment to synchronize menstrual cycles. The donor’s ovaries are stimulated to produce a greater number of eggs. These are then retrieved and fertilized with your partner’s (or donor’s) sperm. The resulting embryo is implanted in your uterus.
The advantage of this method is that there are more eggs to work with and fresh donor eggs have slightly higher success rates. However, he process itself can be more costly.
Frozen Donor Eggs
The eggs have already been retrieved from the donor and frozen (cryopreserved). This means there is no need for cycle synchronization. At a later date, the eggs are then thawed and fertilized using your partner’s sperm. The most viable embryos implanted into your uterus, usually after 3-5 days.
The advantages of frozen eggs are they are cheaper and easier to obtain. Since the donor doesn’t need to be present during the process, this may increase emotional comfort. It may even help you enjoy the motherhood experience as close to natural conception as possible.
The Pregnancy Test
Approximately 15 days after the embryo transfer has taken place, you will take a pregnancy test. This can be done at home with an hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) strip, or at the fertility clinic with an hCG blood test.
The decision to use a donor egg may be challenging to make, but the choice ultimately belongs to you. Modern medicine and new cryopreservation technologies improve IVF pregnancy success rates every day. It is one of the best chances to grow the family you’ve always dreamed of. The journey to happiness is sometimes hard and emotional but the reward of holding your precious baby at the end is worth every penny. Every drop of sweat and every tear!