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Who Needs Donor Eggs?

Learn who needs donor eggs

Wondering who needs donor eggs? Over the past few years, the use of donor eggs has grown exponentially. Our San Antonio fertility doctors have seen several reasons for this increase. First, donor eggs are available to more people because many of the nation’s leading IVF centers offer in-house egg donor programs as well as access to national egg banks. Second, more women are delaying childbearing, so more women are trying to become pregnant at older ages. Older women are more likely to need donated eggs if they have diminished ovarian reserve (low egg count and/or poor egg quality). The use of donor eggs can give these women a chance to experience the joys of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.

Who needs donor eggs with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR)?

Most cases of DOR seen by our San Antonio fertility doctors occur in women over the age of 35. Females are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Approximately 20 weeks before a baby girl is born, she has 15-20 million eggs in her ovaries.  By the time she is born, she has about 6-7 million eggs. When she goes through puberty in her early teens, she only has about 300,000 eggs remaining. Most women will ovulate (or release) about 450 eggs during their lifetime. The remainder undergo atresia (or programmed cell death), which means they simply get reabsorbed into the ovaries. The rate at which this happens substantially increases in the late 30s and early 40s. This results in fewer available eggs as well as eggs with poorer quality.

Who else is a good candidate for using donor eggs?

Some women need donated eggs because they have diminished ovarian reserve due to surgery in which part or all of one or both ovaries have been removed. DOR can also result from medical conditions such as certain autoimmune diseases or because of treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation. It can also occur due to several different genetic conditions.  However, for most young women with DOR there is no identifiable reason why they have poor egg quality or quantity. While this is amazingly frustrating, our San Antonio fertility doctors have excellent treatments like egg donation that can help women with DOR fulfill their dreams of having a family.

Are donated eggs only for women with DOR?

No.  In fact, some women with inheritable medical conditions that may or may not have a defined genetic link (such as Huntington’s disease or early-onset Alzheimer’s) may choose to use donor eggs to have a child. While this is a much more rare situation than using donor eggs for DOR, it still represents an excellent solution in many circumstances.

Choosing to use donor eggs is a very personal decision. It is the right decision for some and not for others. If you do decide that using donor eggs is something you would like to consider, talk to one of our San Antonio fertility doctors. We have many available resources to help you determine if you need donated eggs and learn more about the process. Contact us to make an appointment.