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.
For years, doctors believed that the only factor influencing the heath of a woman’s eggs was her age. However, as medical research advances we are able to learn that there are indeed many factors which influence the overall viability and health of a woman’s eggs. If you’re an intended mother attempting to use her own eggs, this information could be very important to consider.
Scientists now know that many things, including environmental factors, hormones in one’s diet, stress, circulatory health, and the consistency of regular menstrual cycles all play a role in overall egg health. Due to the number of items we now know can impact an eggs health, scientists believe that there may be a window of time each month where certain actions can help improve the egg health of future cycles. Continue reading
During your matching process with an egg donor you will be presented the results of her OAR, or Ovarian Assessment Report. This test presents a complete picture of what each donor’s egg production results may look like while on fertility treatments.
The test is compiled after a single blood sample has been taken from your donor. It will check for multiple things including hormone levels that, when compared against her age, will provide an egg retrieval score- a grading of potential ovulatory egg supply. Continue reading
When beginning to think about the genetics for your child, the first thing to consider will be the quality of the egg provided to create an embryo. The majority of our intended parents will be looking for an egg donor and learning a lot about what constitutes good egg health. Continue reading
Several intended mothers in our program will ultimately decide to use donor eggs in order to help create their family. While some will be able to carry the embryo themselves, others will need to use a surrogate in order to build their families.
For many women, the idea of accepting help to create their families can be an emotional struggle. Society tends to tell women that they need to conceive, carry, and birth a child in order to be a legitimate woman and mother. All this pressure often leads intended mothers to ask us, “Will I still have a maternal bond to a child that is not biologically mine?”
In some cases, an intended mother may be able to carry a child, but be unable to use her own egg to attain pregnancy. This can happen for a myriad of reasons including premature menopause, poor egg quality, or a scenario in which both intended parents are carriers of a genetic disease or disorder. In these cases, Intended Parents may opt to use only an egg donor for their journey, as opposed to electing to have a surrogate carry their child.
Many egg donors have a difficult time confiding with even close friends and family. If you are lucky enough to gain the confidence of an egg donor, there are certain things you may want to avoid saying.
Most egg donors understand that they’re doing something a bit unconventional, and that you probably have not met another egg donor previously. We find that most egg donors are happy to help you understand the reason for their choice when asked in a caring and genuine way. While most donors respect your initial reaction, they’re choosing to share a personal part of their life with you, and responding with a negative or abrasive reply can be hurtful.
Choosing the woman who will donateeggs to your family is a major milestone in your surrogacy journey. While there are many things to consider when sorting through donor profiles, the truth is that the way you choose your egg donor will be intimate and incredibly personal. That said, here are a few attributes that many intended parents tend to consider while going through donor profiles.