Egg donation is a highly successful form of fertility treatment where an egg (oocyte) is obtained from a selected donor, fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the male patient or sperm donor, then transferred into the intended mother’s or gestational surrogate’s uterus. A wide variety of patients can benefit from the egg donation process, including LGBTQ families.
Diminished ovarian reserve
Among patients who may benefit from egg donation are those who experience diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). In contrast to early menopause, women with DOR still have regular monthly cycles and ovulate normally. The ability of their eggs to become babies, however, is diminished. DOR usually occurs when the supply of eggs within the ovaries begins to decrease. For women with DOR, egg donation is often employed after unsuccessful attempts to use their own eggs. Women with DOR often have low AMH levels, high day 3 FSH levels or a limited antral follicle count. Click here to learn more about DOR.
Officially termed premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), or premature ovarian failure (POF), early menopause is defined by the cessation of ovarian function before the age of 40. For women with POI, egg donation presents a highly reliable method to conceive and deliver children of their own. In fact, egg donation was initially developed specifically for women who experienced early menopause. Egg donation can be utilized by women with POI due to a variety causes, including:
- Genetic causes – Fragile X-pre-mutation, Turner’s syndrome, and others
- Surgical causes – Women who required removal of their ovaries due to cysts, trauma or other reasons
- Chemotherapy or radiation – Women who have undergone lifesaving treatment for malignancies (cancer) may experience early menopause
Same sex male couples
For male same sex couples seeking to have a child, egg donation represents an efficient, elegant and effective way to build a family. Depending on the couple’s desires, eggs can be fertilized with sperm from one or both partners and then placed into the uterus of an approved gestational surrogate. Egg donation for same sex male couples is a common practice at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center and we are experienced at guiding our patients through each step of the process. Drs. Marc Kalan and Nurit Winkler and staff of LARC are proud to participate in the creation of families for same sex couples and believe that all individuals have the right to become parents regardless of sexual orientation in Los Angeles, Encino, Calabasas and Sherman Oaks.
Some patients are single men who have decided that they are ready to start a family on their own. For a single man to have a child, he needs to use an egg donor and a gestational surrogate. The process includes combining the patient’s sperm with his donor’s eggs in the laboratory. Once created, the embryos are cultured, and usually one is selected to be placed into the prepared uterus of his gestational surrogate. Any extra embryos are frozen for future use, or for a second attempt if needed. The potential success rates of this method of treatment are excellent!
The average age of menopause in the United Sates is 51.2 years of age. However, many women enter menopause significantly before that time. In fact, menopause any time after 40 years of age is not considered abnormal. Due to societal, familial and personal reasons, there are significant numbers of women who reach menopause before they have had the opportunity to have a child. For these women, egg donation can be an excellent way to achieve a pregnancy.
As women age, the egg is the limiting factor for conception. We know that a healthy woman in her 40s and even early 50s can successfully carry and deliver a pregnancy. With egg donation, patients who have entered natural menopause can still become pregnant and deliver a child of their own.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)
There are many causes of recurrent pregnancy loss, including structural problems with the uterus, inherited genetic mutations, spontaneous genetic errors, environmental influences, blood clotting disorders, immunologic disorders and more. For some of these patients, egg donation, as a way of altering the genetic make-up of a pregnancy, can be a key step to conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.
Is egg donation right for you?
If you have questions such as how to select a donor, the egg donation process, legal considerations, or whether egg donation is right for you, please call us at 818 946-8051, or request a consultation here.