Egg Donation’s Effect on Fertility

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Friends and family of egg donors often worry that donations may impact the future fertility of the donor in their lives. We have long known that this is not an issue, but developing research offers additional evidence that helping a couple build a family now will not inhibit your chances at creating a family later.

The study, conducted in 2013 and recently published, followed a series of egg donors over a multiple year period as they engaged in multiple donations. In order to be included in the study, each of the women had to have completed a minimum of five donations between 2004 and 2012. The donors were, on average, 26 years old at the time of their first donation and 28 at the time of their final donation.

The study, conducted by researchers at Weill Medical College in New York, examined the intake of hormones during the stimulation cycle, how long they were on medications, and how many eggs were retrieved. Most egg retrievals resulted in 21-24 eggs.

At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that, even with as many as six donations (often considered the industry limit), donors showed no signs of ovarian depletion. This result remained consistent regardless of the amount of hormone administered during the stimulation cycle.

This study, which was ultimately presented at the International Federation of Fertility Societies, echoes commonly held knowledge that egg donation does not borrow against a woman’s natural egg reserve. The body, which is born with all of the eggs it is expected to produce, releases the best quality eggs first, but whether these eggs are stimulated for retrieval or passed through the typical monthly menses appears to make no difference on the long-term fertility of an egg donor.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over 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 for Reproductive Medicine, 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 Emeritus 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’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.