Women who have trouble conceiving or are over the optimal age for childbirth often turns to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, with donor eggs in order to have children. Women who are over the age of 40 and want to have a baby find it to be more difficult to become pregnant, as the quality of eggs diminishes with age. Other conditions that might require women to use donor eggs with IVF include:
When a woman decides she wants to use an egg donor to become pregnant, various screening processes are used to match her with a donor. Fertility specialists recommend finding a donor that matches the qualifications one is looking for and women find donors from a variety of sources including family members, friends or even anonymously through a fertility clinic. Characteristics that must be taken into consideration include:
After the egg donor is selected, she will undergo ovary stimulation just as a woman undergoing IVF herself would use. Medications such as gonadotrophins, clomiphene citrate, Parlodel and Metformin are the most common and work to stimulate the ovarian follicles to produce many eggs within a single cycle. These medications also work to control various factors such as when eggs are released or a woman ovulates so the timing is just right for IVF procedures. At the same time, the woman undergoing IVF will take the same medications so both women’s cycles are in sync – this is necessary so the uterine lining of the egg recipient is ready for the embryo.
The egg donor will be monitored throughout the process, undergoing blood work and ultrasounds to confirm the development of ovarian follicles. Once the follicles are stimulated, the hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin, is administered and eggs are retrieved within a few days.
Once the eggs have been retrieved and the recipient is ready to carry an embryo, the partner’s sperm will be combined with the eggs in a small dish within a lab. After a period of time, usually two to five days, the fertilized eggs will develop into cells known as the embryo – these cells are inserted into the uterus via the cervix by a very thin catheter. Often, two to four embryos are implanted to ensure one of them develops in the uterus.
To prevent the risk of having twins or sets of multiples, some fertility doctors recommend only using one embryo at a time for implantation – though it depends on the women undergoing IVF. To avoid disposing of embryos after they are not inserted into the uterus, extras will be frozen to be used in the next cycle if the embryo does not take in the current cycle.
Two weeks after the procedure, a pregnancy test will confirm if the embryos were successfully transferred.
The length of time an IVF procedure takes with an egg donation varies. It may take weeks to months to find an ideal fertility doctor, and then the process begins again when the woman is looking for an egg donor. One IVF cycle takes between four and six weeks, followed by an office visit for the implantation. Once the embryos are implanted in a doctor’s office, the patient is able to go home the same day. The success rate of doing IVF with an egg donor is 50 percent.
Benefits of IVF with Egg Donation
For those who can’t have children on their own, the opportunity to undergo IVF with egg donation is a major benefit. The success rate of using an egg donor increases the chance of becoming pregnant, because the egg donor is usually younger and more fertile – meaning a pregnancy is two to three times more likely to happen.
Costs of IVF with Egg Donation
Within the United States, IVF is expensive and adding egg donation causes the rates to increase drastically. While the procedure varies in cost between clinics, the average price is between $15 and $30,000 USD – and includes compensation for the donor, which ranges between $5 and $15,000 USD, and a single cycle of IVF, which costs up to $12,400 USD. In Thailand, a price of IVF with egg donation is often only a third of the cost found in the United States.
Finding an Infertility Expert Abroad
Obstetricians and gynecologists are trained to implement the initial treatments of infertility using Clomid. Such a physician or fertility specialist should be board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Couples should find specialists who are a member of endocrinologist organizations or technologies. As such, they have completed medical school programs, followed by four years of residency training in obstetrics and gynecology, and then, two to three years of training in fertility within an approved program that results in board certification.
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