Promising Research for Older Donors

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.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 22 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for the last two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the American Fertility Association, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 28 years and their two teenage daughters.