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.
At the 2015 American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) annual conference, held in Baltimore and attended by Growing Generations’ Co-Owners Dr. Kim Bergman and Stuart Bell, a study was presented that showed eggs obtained from older donors are often as good as eggs attained from younger women.
The study, conducted by doctors at the McGill University in Montreal, observed more than 400 IVF cycles. The cycles were split between women younger than 35 (345 cycles) and a small handful of cases (85 cycles) from donors over 35. While the older donors were given higher doses, both groups were given the same hormone medications preceding the cycles. While the older donors ultimately did produce fewer egg cells for retrieval, researchers found that pregnancy rates and live births from the IVF cycles using those eggs were similar to those of cycles completed with the use of a younger donor.
Prior to this study, the commonly held belief was that egg donors over 35 were undesirable to serve as donors due to diminishing egg quality. Many agencies have much stricter age guidelines placed on potential donors.
While the research is still early, it offers hope to intended mothers who may wish to act as their own egg donors in surrogacy cases.