For many experiencing infertility, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is often treated as the ‘go-to’ solution to get pregnant. Unfortunately, while some families find success with this option, it doesn’t always work.
There’s nothing more disheartening than putting all of your hopes, expectations, and optimism into a process, only to have it fail. Whether you suffer a heartbreaking miscarriage or don’t have a positive result at all, it can leave you feeling broken and wondering about your other options.
What happens when you’ve tried multiple IVF cycles to no avail? Is your journey to becoming a parent over?
Often, doctors will suggest fresh or frozen donor egg IVF to hopeful parents who’ve suffered several failed IVF cycles with their own eggs. However, many individuals don’t understand what this treatment option looks like or what to expect from the process.
At Donor Egg Bank USA, we take pride in guiding intended parents through their egg donation journey and helping them understand the ‘ins-and-outs’ of the donor egg process.
If you’re considering using an egg donor as your next option in your fertility journey or you have known all along you would need an egg donor, here’s the information you need on what to expect along the way.
One of the best aspects of egg donation is that it’s a multi-purpose option suitable for all families hoping to have a baby. While most people can be considered good candidates for donor eggs, some benefit more by the process than others.
At the beginning of your donor egg treatment, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to use fresh or frozen donor eggs. While your first instinct might be to go with fresh, this option isn’t always the best choice.
In decades past, fresh donor eggs were the optimal option for intended parents. This was primarily because frozen eggs underwent a slow-freezing process that didn’t protect the integrity of the eggs. This slow-freeze procedure resulted in less-than-ideal success rates.
Thankfully, flash-freezing technology has changed this dramatically. An innovative process, known as vitrification, has made it possible to freeze collected eggs without the risk of ice crystal formation and quality deterioration.
Since this technique’s inception and use on unfertilized human eggs in the late 1990s. It’s been proven to offer nearly identical success rates to those seen with fresh eggs.
Having such close pregnancy rates between fresh and frozen eggs can make the choice even more challenging. However, there are several reasons many intended parents choose a frozen donor egg cycle over fresh.
Some of the most impressive benefits of frozen donor eggs include:
For any hopeful parent, one of the most challenging and exciting stages in an egg donation cycle is selecting the donor. Thankfully, our extensive database of egg donor profiles includes more than 300 diverse options. Being in control of the process to find an egg donor you like, can be an exhilarating step in an otherwise uncontrollable journey.
Not only does Donor Egg Bank USA offer the largest collection of donors with frozen donor eggs in the United States, but it’s also filled with a wide range of unique women. Whether you’re hoping to find someone who closely resembles you, shares your ethnicity, or has a similar educational background, we can help.
You can feel confident in the quality of the donor you choose with us. Each of our egg donors is put through a demanding screening process before their eggs are accepted into our program.
Our donors must also sign strict contracts relinquishing any rights to their donated eggs. While some prefer to not disclose their identity at this time others are open to future contact in the event your child is interested in learning more about their donor as they get older.
Once you’ve chosen your egg donor and received your egg lot in your clinic’s laboratory it will be safely stored until your cycle begins.
Using information collected during various reproductive testing, such as bloodwork and ultrasounds, your physician will prescribe a regimen of medications to prepare your uterus and endometrial lining for implantation. Often, these include progesterone and estrogen.Your body’s response to these prescriptions will be monitored once or twice during your cycle using transvaginal ultrasounds and bloodwork. Once your fertility team determines you’re uterine lining is ready to receive an embryo, then the eggs will be warmed, inseminated with sperm and embryos created. The developing embryos will be placed directly into your uterus in an embryo transfer procedure. This process will take place under the guidance of ultrasound technology, and through the use of a thin catheter.
Many patients wonder what the primary differences in the cycles will be when moving from IVF to donor egg treatment.
In the case of donor egg IVF, the donor does the heavy lifting. She is the one who will receive the series of injections necessary to stimulate her body to produce multiple eggs for retrieval. If you have ever been through an IVF cycle, you know that it’s time consuming and uncomfortable. For the recipient of a donor egg derived embryo, the process is simpler and less time consuming. It only requires one or two visits to make sure the uterine lining is fluffy and ready to receive the embryos. To make the lining fluffy, the recipient receives estrogen. When the embryo is placed into the uterus the recipient will then receive progesterone to help support a pregnancy.
Overall, a frozen donor egg cycle closely resembles a frozen embryo transfer cycle (FET).
Another common worry about choosing egg donation after failed IVF is whether your baby will resemble you or share your personality traits.
There’s never any guarantee about a child’s looks. A baby can have two genetic parents with brown hair and still come out blonde. So, whether you were using your eggs or not, there’s still a chance you wouldn’t share physical similarities with your child.
That being said, you can choose a donor who shares the same physical attributes as you. This will provide a better chance of having a close resemblance with your child.
Choosing to begin a frozen donor egg cycle isn’t an easy one. When other options have failed, it can be comforting to know there’s another path left to try.
It also helps to know that others who’ve been in your shoes have successfully emerged on the other side of the journey as parents.
For example, one of our intended parents underwent two IUIs and two IVFs that each proved unsuccessful. While this person started off believing donor eggs weren’t for them, they eventually gave it a try and birthed a beautiful baby boy. They had this to say about their experience:
“The minute he was born, all doubt and question fell away. He makes my world, and I am so incredibly thankful for the journey that brought him to us.”
Another parent went through four IUIs and six IVFs before making their way to egg donation. They experienced a single positive result during all of their cycles, which ended in a miscarriage just a couple of weeks later.
This couple had significant hesitations about choosing donor eggs. However, eventually they decided it was worth a try. Their words have brought comfort to so many:
“As my husband and I discussed it, I had many emotions. It was hard to give up on the idea of a genetic connection with my children. I worried about how my children would feel about it, I worried how I would feel about it, I worried about the problems that might arise as my children grew up and had questions.
I finally decided all of that was less important than having a family. My first donor egg cycle was a success! We have an absolutely perfect 22-month-old. We are now pregnant again - with twins!”
Starting an egg donor cycle might feel isolating, but you should know you’re not alone. So many others have decided frozen donor eggs were the right avenue to take and found their way to the happily ever after of their dreams.
Many hopeful parents put their heart and soul into the hope that IVF will be the solution to their infertility. When this doesn’t happen, it’s crucial to remember that other options still exist.
If you’re interested in learning more about the frozen donor egg process, please feel free to contact our wonderful team at Donor Egg Bank USA. If you’re ready to get started, begin searching for your donor match today.