When sorting through the database of potential egg donors, it’s not hard to notice that there is one thing that they all have in common. They’re all young. This is not because of vanity or coincidence, it’s a deliberate choice. While most people understand that fertility works best in a woman’s youth, they may not understand why it is so crucial to choose an egg donor who is under the age of 30.
A woman’s body will release the best available egg each month, starting at the time of her first ovulation. By the time a woman reaches her thirties, her egg reserve may be starting to weaken. At this point she may begin releasing eggs that are not as high in quality as the ones she has been releasing over the previous 15-20 years.
The most obvious and significant risk with increased egg donor age is the presence of chromosomal abnormalities in the egg, the most common occurrence being Down syndrome. After age 35, researchers predict 1 in every 270 pregnancies will result in a Down syndrome diagnosis. Other chromosomal issues observed in more mature eggs include higher occurrence of Tay-Sachs disease and Cystic Fibrosis. Choosing a younger donor means a decreased risk or conceiving a child with these conditions.
Additional risks of using the egg of an older donor include failure to generate enough follicles to lead to a large egg retrieval and potential poor response to stimulation cycles.
For these reasons, it is important to choose an egg donor who is in her fertile prime, typically her twenties. When you work with a respectable egg donor agency, like Growing Generations, you will find that all of our egg donors fall into this window. Additionally, we run tests on our donor’s genetic profiles and ovarian reserve capability before ever entering them into our database to ensure that you don’t have to worry about these potential complications.
When an intended mother wishes to use her own eggs as part of her surrogacy journey, you should note that fertility and egg quality begins to slow after age 32, and rapidly decreases after age 37. Past age 40 medical intervention becomes highly probable in order to obtain eggs that can be used to successfully create an embryo.