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What Are Donor Eggs?

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has opened the possibility of having a biological family to more people than ever. Th use of ART, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), has allowed infertile men and women and same-sex couples to have children that share at least one partner’s DNA.

However, even if you have ovaries and eggs, you may not be able to use IVF to produce an embryo. Unfortunately, as women age, the quality of their eggs degrade. Just as your skin may begin to wrinkle and your hair turn gray, your eggs lose viability, too.

If you’ve been struggling with infertility or are part of a couple where neither partner has ovaries, your doctor may recommend using donor eggs. What are donor eggs, and how do you get them? Can you choose the donor?

Dr. Sharon Moayeri and Dr. Nidhee Sachdev are OB/GYNs and fertility experts at OC Fertility. Here, they outline some fundamentals about donor eggs and why they may be the solution to your fertility frustrations.

What are donor eggs?

Donor eggs are eggs that a healthy young woman donates to help infertile couples conceive a child. All egg donors must go through an intense screening process that evaluates her physical and mental health. The donor also signs a contract releasing all claims to the children born from her eggs.

Egg donation is a much more complex procedure than sperm donation. To donate eggs, the donor must undergo hormone therapy that allows her to produce multiple eggs in one menstrual cycle. Normally, a woman only releases one egg per menstrual cycle.

If you’re using freshly donated eggs, then the donor’s menstrual cycle is timed to match your cycle. That means the female partner in a couple also undergoes hormone therapy to sync up her cycle with the donor’s.

How do you retrieve donor eggs?

As the final part in the egg donation process, we retrieve the eggs from the donor. In the comfort and safety of our offices, she undergoes a simple, minimally invasive procedure under light sedation.

We remove the eggs with an ultrasound-guided hollow needle that we insert into the donor’s cervix. We pass the device through the uterus to reach the ovaries. We then use suction to remove the ripe eggs.

We fertilize the eggs in our dedicated IVF lab with your partner’s sperm. Once the eggs form embryos, we evaluate their health and then either implant them into your uterus or into a surrogate’s uterus. 

Can I pick my own donor?

You and your partner may look through our anonymous database of donors to select one who best matches your needs. Many couples also have a family member or friend who’d like to donate eggs for them. 

All donors must go through our screening process to be sure that they’re healthy. They also must understand and sign a contract stating that they have no parental rights to the children who are born from the donated eggs. 

All donors receive the examinations, treatments, and medications free of charge. They’re also paid a fee for the time and inconvenience of the donation process. If a friend or family member donates for you, they may choose to waive their fee. 

To find out if donor eggs can make your dreams for a family come true, schedule an appointment with us today. Call us at 949-706-2229 or book an appointment on our website.

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