Some women come to Growing Generations with one simple need: a viable egg. Many women are capable of getting pregnant and sustaining a healthy pregnancy, but lack the availability of a viable egg to do this on her own.
In the instance of egg donation, the intended mother would seek an egg donor and then implant the embryo, created from the donated ovum and the sperm of her partner or a sperm donor, into her own uterus. The result would be that the intended mother carries her child herself, although she and the child will share not a genetic link. Continue reading →
The term “mosaic” is assigned to an embryo that is found to have both normal and abnormal cells during PGS testing at the 5 day blastocyst stage. In this form of testing, doctors are able to look for and detect, with a high amount of accuracy, the presence or absence of certain genes that may lead to developmental concerns later in pregnancy. For example, tests are often able to detect the presence of an additional copy of chromosome 21, a condition that leads to Downs Syndrome.
In IVF, these tests are generally performed in an effort to transfer only the best quality embryos into an awaiting uterus. With the high costs of IVF treatments and the fact that donor egg cycles often result in more viable embryos than needed, many couples choose to test for abnormalities and then discard any embryos that suggest less-than-optimal chances for implantation. Continue reading →
As science continues to advance and doctors learn more about embryos and IVF technology, we continue to see new terminology and practices in the field. Recent studies conducted by the world’s largest genetic laboratory, Reprogenetics, have introduced the IVF community to a new term and potential game changer in the assisted reproductive technologies world: mosaic embryos.
Mosaic is the term now assigned to embryos found to possess both normal and abnormal cells during preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) testing. Continue reading →
The goal of your egg retrieval is to create as many viable embryos as possible. The reality is that, even if your egg retrieval leads to 30 viable embryos, you’re likely to transfer no more than two. The most common outcome is that many of your “left over” embryos will be frozen for potential future transfers.
The embryo freezing process takes just a matter of hours to complete. The first step involves bathing the embryos in a solution that is similar to sucrose. The solution forces all moisture out of the embryo to prevent ice crystals from forming during freezing. Such crystals would destroy an embryo.
During your initial consultations you will be asked to consider and decide on any potential tests you’d like to have completed on your developing embryos. Most tests are performed after creation of the embryo and prior to their transfer into your surrogate’s uterus. These tests can highlight a number of things from sex of the fetus to presence of any potential genetic disorders.
Understanding the different types of tests available is a bit like eating a bowl of alphabet soup; they’re all abbreviated and occasionally medical professionals can forget that this may be your first experience to these tests. Perhaps the most often confused tests are the Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS). Both tests require a biopsy be completed on your embryo on day 5 or 6. Here’s a look at how these two very similar tests differ.
Choosing to use an egg donor to help create your family is a choice that can come with a lot of questions. The question of whether or not the egg donor will want to meet with the child that results from her donation is frequently asked. Rest assured that, in nearly all cases, the resounding answer is no, they will not.
For most donors, the detachment starts before the donation is even scheduled. Many of our egg donors tell us they do not feel attached to the eggs they will be donating in a maternal or possessive way. Continue reading →
The medical cycle for an egg donor or intended mother (IM) serves two purposes: it stimulates the body to create multiple eggs at once and manages the timing of ovulation. The goal is to create a large number of viable eggs on the same schedule of the surrogate’s best days to conceive.
The first step is to sync the donors monthly cycle with the cycle of the person who will be carrying the embryo. Continue reading →
Some intended mothers in our surrogacy program have the choice between acting as an egg donor herself, or to choose an egg donor. Many intended mothers will need to choose an egg donor based on medical reasons while others will opt for an egg donor based solely on the intended mother’s age. For years, doctors have believed that women beyond 35 years of age are not likely to produce viable eggs of a high enough quality to result in a positive IVF experience. However, new research is starting to challenge this long-held belief. Continue reading →
Most couples arriving at surrogacy expect to conceive a child with a biological relation to them by the close of the process. However, there are rare cases in which a donated embryo may be a viable option for some couples. Continue reading →
As you move through the egg donation leg of your journey you may face situations where it could be beneficial to consider banking your donor’s eggs or created embryos. This term is exactly what it sounds like: it involves taking these eggs or embryos and freezing them, or banking them, for later use. There are a variety of circumstances in which this could be a favorable option for your journey. Here are a few of them.
Donor Timeline. You will be given access to our online database of egg donors very shortly after retaining our services. We find that it is not uncommon for intended parents to quickly find and decide on an egg donor, often before they’ve been matched with their surrogate. It would be unfair to ask an egg donor to wait for a potentially extended period of time while the surrogate matching process occurs. So, in these cases, we often recommend moving forward with your egg donation process right away, and banking the frozen embryos for use once you have found your surrogate.
Surrogate Blackout Dates- Conversely, some intended parents take a long time to find that perfect donor. In this instance you would already be matched with your surrogate, and potentially have a calendar with her availability and blackout dates. Sometimes, an egg donor’s availability just does not match up well with their surrogate’s. In these unique cases it may be beneficial to complete a donor banking cycle so that you’re able to work with both the donor and surrogate you feel comfortable with.
Dual Parentage- Many of our same sex couples want to create embryos from sperm samples of both partners. The ultimate desire would be a twins pregnancy (or a future sibling project) wherein a surrogate carries biological half siblings, connected by the egg donor’s DNA. Occasionally a donor’s cycle will produce a lower than expected number of viable eggs for fertilization. Understanding that a few embryos will not grow in an optimal way, it make makes sense to consider a banking cycle. In this case, one partner’s sperm will be used to fertilize all of the available eggs and the most likely to result in a viable pregnancy is banked for later use. Then, a repeat cycle with the same donor can be completed and embryos can be created with the other intended father’s sperm sample.
Low Ovarian Reserve- If you are an intended mother with low ovarian reserve wishing to use your own eggs, a banking cycle may be your best option. Many times women with low ovarian reserve will respond to fertility medicines and produce eggs that could be viable, but it is rare for the yield to be high enough to lead to favorable results. In these cases it is often advised that the intended mother progress through multiple stimulation cycles before progressing to embryo transfer. This allows for the opportunity to create multiple embryos and increase the chances of success.
Other Considerations- There are other unique factors that can lead to the choice to complete the egg donor cycle separately from the surrogacy journey. Everything from large-scale travel plans to financial limitations can necessitate donor banking. Sometimes intended parents just desire a mental break between the two processes.