Donor Egg Therapy

Donor egg therapy is a treatment for patients who have very few, poor-quality, or no eggs left in their ovaries. The medical term for these conditions is “diminished ovarian reserve,” or DOR. It is frequently related to the woman’s advancing reproductive age. For therapies such as IVF or superovulation to have a better chance of producing a pregnancy than the couple simply trying on their own, in response to the injectable fertility medications, the ovaries must be able to produce multiple good-quality eggs. If this cannot be accomplished, even with maximal doses of medications, then the patient has DOR and will need to consider donor egg therapy. With a donor egg, a woman is identified as the donor. She is usually young, healthy, and has no identifiable fertility issues herself. In addition, she has been screened for genetic issues and infectious diseases. The donor and the patient (usually now referred to as the recipient) are brought on the same day of their menstrual cycles. The donor then essentially goes through the first half of an IVF cycle. She takes injectable fertility medications to make her ovaries produce multiple eggs. When the eggs are mature, they are removed from her body. The recipient’s partner’s sperm is then used to fertilize these donated eggs in the laboratory. The fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are cultured for three to five days, and then one or two are replaced into the recipient’s uterus. Although the quality of the sperm, level of ovarian function, and the status of the recipient’s tubes do not affect the success of donor egg therapy, the recipient must be less than 51 years old, be in generally good health, and have a uterus thought to be competent to carry a pregnancy.