There is hope after diagnosis, and here are your infertility options.

Having struggled to try to fall pregnant for 6 years (I know you wouldn’t think that having 5 children of my own). I found the hope and information that this article gives, inspiring. 

You’re dreaming of the perfect family, but your fertility doctor has just given you the news. You will likely need a donor egg in order to achieve success. You feel deflated, drained, and wonder whether you’ll ever achieve your dream of being a mom.

Despite trying traditional IVF and still struggling to conceive, there are successful options available to you.  Including using an egg donor. The egg donation process is much easier to coordinate now thanks to vitrification techniques allowing the donors’ eggs to be frozen. You can learn more about this method with the Donor Egg Bank USA guide to donation. By countering your infertility using a frozen donor egg, you can fulfill your ambitions of a dream family.

Eggs and Infertility Issues

In the U.S., 11% of reproductive-age couples face trouble sustaining a pregnancy or conceiving. Approximately a third of these cases arise because of female fertility problems. What’s more, a woman’s fertility starts to decline as she ages, with this process sometimes starting as soon as she’s in her 20s. By the time she’s in her 30s, she has a 20% chance of conceiving; when she’s in her 40s, this reduces to just 5%.

Finding out there’s an issue with your eggs is heartbreaking. Having an enormous impact on the emotions of you and your partner. You may be told to consider adoption or a child-free life, but these might not be the solutions you’re looking for. 

Choosing a Donor

Donor egg IVF provides you with two options: choosing someone you know to be your donor or selecting an anonymous donor through an agency. The majority of couples opt for donors through an agency, as this eliminates some of the potential complications (e.g. awkward friendships or family dynamics) that may come with using a donor who’s related or known to you.

Using an egg bank to select a donor allows you to see a list of potential candidates who are appropriately screened and have eggs immediately available. The donor screening process is rigorous, including drug usage screenings, genetic testing, psychological and physical examinations, family history reviews, and infectious disease testing.

You’ll have your own unique criteria which will influence your decision on which donor to choose. Including whether or not you want the donor to have certain physical traits that are similar to your own. The way you refine your search isn’t limited, which is why you often need to allow for several months to find the right donor.

Using Frozen Donor Eggs in the IVF Process

The donor’s eggs are collected and prepared for fertilization beforehand. This makes frozen donor egg IVF cycles much less time-consuming, less expensive, and less complicated than fresh donor eggs. 

To start, you and your partner will undergo diagnostic testing to ensure that the uterine cavity and sperm being used are healthy enough for pregnancy. Following these tests, your doctor will outline the treatment plan to ensure your uterine living becomes thickened enough to support the embryo. Sometimes you may need a “mock” cycle, or a trial cycle to ensure the treatment plan is effective. This is a hormonal therapy course your doctor uses to determine how to achieve the optimum blood levels and desired to thicken of your endometrial lining for successful implantation.

If you do not need a mock cycle, or once the mock cycle is complete, you will begin the real cycle. Taking hormonal medications that aid your endometrial lining development.

Once your lining is ready – approximately 13-14 days on the hormones – your partner’s (or donor’s) sperm fertilizes the thawed donor eggs. The resulting embryos are put into incubation, with 1-2 usually being implanted after a period of 3-5 days.

Two weeks later, you’ll have two blood tests that measure for the pregnancy hormone, hCG. If detected, your pregnancy levels will be monitored with blood work and ultrasounds until it is time to release you to your OB for the remainder of your pregnancy. 

Weighing Your Options

This entire process, teamed with all the decisions you must make, means you’ll experience a whole host of emotions. From elation to grief and anger to sadness, the emotions you go through are completely natural.

Initially, it’s often hard to accept you won’t share genetics with your baby when you use a donor egg. However, when you look back at all the challenges and setbacks you’ve suffered, the prospect of carrying your own child provides a glimmer of hope at the end of this incredibly difficult journey.

It’s an amazing sensation to feel your unborn child growing inside your tummy, as is nurturing and teaching your child as they take their own journey through life. Choosing a donor egg is your opportunity to create a fairy-tale ending to your infertility story.

This is a guest post, written by Heidi Hayes. Executive Vice President
of the Californian Cryobank – Donor Egg Bank