Donor Egg IVF

Donor Egg IVF

Egg donation involves the deliberate use of oocytes (eggs) provided by a donor for in vitro fertilization and subsequent embryo transfer to the recipient whose uterus has been synchronized to the embryo's development. Egg donation is usually anonymous, but sometimes a known or related donor will be used. Possible indications for donor egg IVF include:

  • Peri/post-menopausal status due to natural ovarian aging.
  • Premature ovarian failure (POF) (menopause before age 40) due to genetic factors, immune dysfunction, or ovarian injury due to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
  • Diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) with history of poor response to ovarian stimulation, poor egg and embryo quality (including chromosome abnormalities), or otherwise unsuccessful IVF attempts using one's own eggs.
  • Avoidance of genetic problems carried by the egg, such as a chromosome rearrangements, Fragile X, or Huntington's Disease, leading to a high chance for an affected child or a lower chance of obtaining healthy embryos using IVF with PGT.
  • Single or gay males who wish to become genetic fathers.

The ACFS Donor Program

ACFS has one of the longest-standing donor egg IVF programs in Arizona. ACFS egg donors must apply to participate in the program. Suitable candidates between the ages of 18 and 30 are carefully screened with a detailed personal and family health history, physical exam, ultrasound, genetic screening, psychological assessment, and infectious disease testing. Once a donor has met all of the criteria for donation, her profile will be added to our list of ACFS egg donors

ACFS donor egg recipients will receive full access to our donor profiles to aid in their selection of a suitable donor. The donor profiles include photos of the donor and her medical, genetic, and psychological assessments. Once a donor has been selected, she is contacted to confirm her availability. She will then undergo the process of ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. The donor eggs will then be fertilized with the intended parent's sperm to create embryos via in vitro fertilization. Most often, a single top-quality embryo will be transferred to the recipient's uterus per American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines.

Egg donors frequently produce 15-20 eggs or more per procedure. Most patients using donor eggs can expect to obtain multiple top quality embryos and will be able to have one or more children from the process. We have frequently heard that other clinics tell patients not to do preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) when using donor eggs. While we are in complete agreement that the odds of transferring a chromosomally normal embryo are much higher with untested embryos from donor eggs, typical success rates are 40-50% without testing, versus greater than 80% with euploid blastocyst transfer at our center. Therefore, most patients using donor eggs at ACFS will still choose to use preimplantation genetic testing.

We understand that finding the right donor is extremely important to families who have chosen to use donor eggs. If ACFS does not have a donor to suit your specific needs, we are happy to work with a donor egg agency or egg bank of your choice. Agencies may be able to assist in finding a donor who meets your specific criteria but will charge some hefty fees to do so. Egg banks are convenient in that the eggs are already frozen and ready to be shipped to ACFS for thawing and fertilization. The main downside of using banked frozen eggs is the cost vs. opportunity ratio. Compared to the 15 or more eggs you might receive using a fresh donor, most banks ship just 6 eggs at a time for a similar total cost. While it is not uncommon to be able to have 1-2 children from six banked donor eggs, the numbers do not leave a lot of wiggle room in your favor. For these reasons, we believe that banked donor eggs are most useful for parents seeking specific donor characteristics that ACFS donors are unable to provide, for those who would be happy with no more than one child, or for those who are willing to purchase extra eggs to grow their family further.

High Success Rates

There are two main reasons why donor egg IVF is so successful:

  1. It's all about the egg. Donors reliably produce more healthy eggs and chromosomally normal embryos than reproductively older women.
  2. The age of the uterus does not impact the odds of achieving a pregnancy. This is why we can transfer an embryo from a 24-year-old egg into a 44-year-old woman's uterus and give her the same success rates as a 24-year-old undergoing the same procedure.

Donor egg recipients can expect the same exceptionally high rates of pregnancy per embryo transfer using PGT as the rest of our IVF patients. The main difference is that donor eggs put recipients in the best position to obtain multiple chromosomally normal embryos with a single round of treatment.

Deciding to Use Donor Eggs

Our team at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies recognizes that the decision to use donor eggs can be difficult. Some women question why they would want to carry a pregnancy and have a child from someone else's egg, or whether they should consider adoption instead. While adoption is a truly wonderful choice for some families, there are some important distinctions between donor egg IVF and adoption:

  • With donor eggs, the woman still plays a pivotal role by carrying the pregnancy and delivering the baby.
  • With donor eggs, the male partner still shares a genetic connection to the baby.
  • With adoption, neither parent shares a genetic connection to the pregnancy, and it is unknown how the baby was treated during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Donor egg recipients are birth parents. Recipients experience bonding with the baby while the baby is still the womb and from the very first moments of life.
  • Adoption can take years and often costs thousands of dollars more than donor egg IVF.
  • Many adoptions fall through, causing additional emotional upset and frustration for families who have already been struggling with infertility.
  • Adopted children may struggle emotionally or psychologically as a result of being given up by their birth mother.
  • Because the genetics of the egg donor and father are known, recipient parents influence their child's genetics and environment from the moment of conception.

In conclusion, the decision to proceed with donor eggs is a very personal one and can be extremely difficult. Once a woman makes that decision, however, we have seen time and time again that she will rarely ever look back. Instead, when her baby is born, and she is finally holding her child in her arms, she will wonder why it was so difficult to make a decision in the first place.

Letter to an Egg Donor

Letter to an egg donor from one of our patients

"As I cannot contact you directly and talk to you face to face, I'm writing this letter anonymously to let you know just how important and significant your decision is to others. My arms have ached waiting for that special child to arrive that would bring new meaning and significance to my life, and create the family I have always wanted. Even as you read this, you are getting very close to having that dream of creating life come true for us. You have put your body through daily injections. My eggs could not be used. This means that the chance of creating a life that is most wanted and would be most cherished cannot happen without your help. It is the gift of hope and life itself. Your gift could be the most loving and gracious gift that you will ever give to a fellow human being. I assure you that the child that could develop will be loved and cherished. They will be raised with true social consciousness and environmental awareness. By their very presence, they will make the world a better place, having been given a rare and special chance to be here."

Are you interested in becoming an egg donor?

Please visit www.azdonoregg.com and call for more information or complete your application today!

Donor Embryo Program at Arizona Center for Fertility Studies

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies has a successful and demanding donor embryo program. Donor embryos come from patients who have extra frozen embryos remaining after successfully completing their families and who make the generous decision to donate their surplus embryos to other patients who may need them.

Donor embryos offer infertile women and couples the chance to successfully achieve a pregnancy and to share in the parenting experience from conception through childbirth and beyond. A couple may be drawn toward donor embryos because of the lower cost compared to donor eggs, because the couple needs both donor egg and donor sperm, or because the couple "feels better" that neither one is using their genetic material. Many also prefer the idea of adopting an embryo that would otherwise be unused. Whatever the motivations, donor embryos represent a wonderful opportunity for recipients to start or grow their families.

ACFS patients who want to receive donor embryos are put on a wait list. When a donated embryo becomes available and a recipient is number one on the list, she is offred the opportunity to adopt the embryo. We can provide a physical description of the donors and their past medical history, but the information available is not quite as extensive as the profiles available for egg and sperm donors. We strive to provide as much detail as a family needs to accept or decline the embryo without compromising the anonymity of our extremely generous donors.

Success rates for donor embryo rest entirely on the age of the egg donor and the quality of the resulting embryo. Given the evolution of our IVF program toward IVF/PGT, most of the embryos becoming available for donation today are day-5 or day-6 blastocyst embryos which have been chromosome tested. These embryos hold the greatest potential to result in a successful outcome for donor ACFS embryo recipients. Our success rates for the transfer of a single chromosomally normal embryo currently exceed 70%.

If you want to learn more about donor eggs or donor embryos, call your ACFS fertility team today at (480) 630-0212.