A growing number of women—especially those over age 40, and women who have been unsuccessful with other infertility treatments—are using donor eggs.
“More women are choosing this option because of increased awareness and higher success rates,” says Laurel Stadtmauer, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School. “About 70 to 80 percent of women will conceive within two cycles of using donor eggs.” When selecting a donor, consider the following:
The qualities you’re looking for.
• Is the donor’s religious background important to you?
• Her physical and personality traits?
• Her academic achievements?
• Talk frankly with your partner about the characteristics that top your list.
The best fit.
Many IVF clinics have programs that help match couples to an anonymous donor. But their policies can be very different. Some recruit their own donors, others use outside donor egg recruitment programs. Some allow couples to see photos of potential donors (as long as they’re non-identifiable), others don’t. “At Jones, couples fill out their family history, as well as a wish list [of characteristics],” says Dr. Stadtmauer. “Our program matches the couple and the donor according to looks, ethnicity, medical and psychological histories, education, and personality traits. We give recipients profiles of several donors to review.” Ask about the procedures and policies your clinic uses, and make sure you can live with them.
The kind of donor you want.
There are two options: Using a donor you know, such as a sister or close friend, or an anonymous donor. The advantage of a relative or friend is that you’re likely to know the person’s genetic history, says Dr. Stadtmauer. However, it does raise complicated issues, such as the donor’s future relationship with the child. Figure out which arrangement makes you most comfortable.
The testing process.
Whether you choose a known or an anonymous donor, the screening will be the same. The donor must be a healthy non-smoker who is 21-32 years old. She will undergo extensive medical, psychological, and genetic testing, as well as screening for infectious diseases, such as HIV.
The legal issues.
Donors sign away their rights to the eggs retrieved, the embryos produced, and any child conceived as a result.
A verison of this article originally appeared in the 2004 Premiere issue of Conceive Magazine.
Related Topics: Assisted Reproduction; Egg Donation; Infertility Support