Effects of Egg Donation & Fertility

As a woman considering donating her eggs, you may be wondering about the chances that this donation could impact your own future fertility. First of all, know that research shows there will be no link between your donation and any future potential difficulties conceiving and carrying your own children. In fact, new research shows that your donation may not even deplete your egg supply. Here’s why.

Conventional science has long taught women that they are born with all of the eggs they will ever have. The theory has been that women are born with one to two million immature eggs at birth, and slowly lose them over the course of their lifetimes.

Many of those eggs will be lost before puberty sets in through a natural process, which leaves just around 300,000 eggs at the time of puberty. Of those, it is estimated that women may lose as many as a thousand eggs per month over her fertile years. Of the roughly 400 follicles that will reach ovulation over the course of a woman’s fertility (the time spent between puberty and menopause), a woman can expect 20 follicles to mature each month with just one egg being released.

These cells are capable of dividing and generating new eggs. Advanced tools allow scientists to see how many times a cell has divided over its lifetime. If conventional science stands true, all human eggs would have the same number of divisions, as all eggs should be present at birth. However, scientists have found that some of these cells have many more divisions, suggesting that new eggs were forming throughout these women’s lives.

While the research is still new and has only been conducted on mice at this point, it may be true that fertility and egg development may continue long after birth.

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.