Egg Donation Information
Why do some women need egg donation?
Some women are unable to conceive because they do not have enough eggs or their egg quality is poor. Unfortunately, there is no tablet or injection to increase egg numbers or improve quality. Therefore some women are forced to consider this form of treatment.
Why do some women not have enough eggs?
Eggs form in the ovary when the woman is a baby in her mother’s uterus. The eggs do not increase in number after a baby is born. On the other hand, their numbers keep on decreasing after birth. At birth, a female baby will normally have two million eggs and this number decreases to 300,000 to 500,000 at puberty. After 35 years, this decrease is rapid and eventually at menopause, no eggs remain in the ovary and hence periods stop altogether.
Some women may have less numbers of eggs at birth or they may get exhausted very soon. Some women may choose to delay having a child until after 35 years and may find that sometimes as a result of this natural decline in egg number, have very few or no eggs. These women may require donor eggs.
A few women may have no eggs at all from birth. Some women may have had treatment for cancer or a problem called endometriosis as a result of which their eggs may have been destroyed completely.
How do you find out if the numbers of eggs are reduced?
We measure the levels of certain hormones in your blood. They are FSH (Follicle stimulating hormone) and AMH (anti mullerian hormone) If the levels are altered it will mean that your ovaries have lesser number of eggs. Also on scan, your ovaries may be smaller in size and have fewer numbers of antral follicles (fluid filled sacs which contain eggs). Antral follicles can be counted by doing a scan on day two or three of your cycle.
If I have not got enough good quality eggs, does this mean that I can never get pregnant with my own eggs?
Women with fewer good quality eggs are still able to become pregnant with their own eggs but the chance of becoming pregnant is very small: usually less than 1:100 per year.
If I become pregnant with my own eggs, will I have problems with my pregnancy?
As stated earlier, the chance of conceiving is smaller when you have few eggs. If you do conceive and if the egg is of good quality then you have a good chance of continuing your pregnancy. If the egg is not of good quality, then your chance of miscarriage increases.
Will injections not increase the egg number?
Injections will only increase the growth of existing eggs. They will not produce new eggs.
What can be done if I do not have eggs?
This is where egg donation is useful. We will obtain eggs from a donor and fertilize them with your husband’s sperms. The embryo which is formed will be transferred into your uterus. If the embryo attaches itself to the inner lining of the uterus, it will grow the same way your eggs would have.
Who are egg donors?
Couples often ask us to arrange egg donors. These women will remain anonymous. They are selected carefully by our unit .The are young, healthy and usually between 20 and thirty years of age. They have one or two children, so we are certain that they have good fertile eggs.
Alternatively, couples sometimes bring in egg donors who are known to them.
Will we be known to the donor or will the donor know who she is donating her eggs to?
The egg donors who are recruited by us will remain anonymous always. They will be unknown to you and you will remain unknown to them.
What tests do the egg donors have before donation?
A detailed history will be taken to ensure that they have good health. Hereditary diseases in their lineage are excluded by taking a detailed history. All donors will be screened for infections including Hepatitis b and C, HIV, syphilis, cytomegalovirus, etc. Donors can also have a chromosome check and a thalassemia screen if requested by recipients.
How are egg donors matched?
We can match your blood group and physical characteristics as best as possible. However, it is easy to understand that matching cannot be perfect and has limitations.
Often there is a more than just an immense concern about having an egg donor – a genetically different mother’s eggs growing as your baby.
This link is an excellent real life account of a mother who had a successful egg donation.
Dr. Vani Sundarapandian
Medical Director, Jananam Fertility Center