Who Needs an Egg Donor?

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There is a common misconception that only gay men, menopausal women, or survivors of ovarian cancer need donor eggs. This false conception paints a narrow window of the many reasons that a family could need egg donation and limits the scope of the necessity of egg donors.

Gay men will always need the assistance of a donor egg, of course. But women can arrive at this choice for a variety of additional reasons. Here are a few.

Premature ovarian failure. This is a condition in which the body begins the process of menopause too early. In most cases before a woman reaches 40 years of age. Women with the condition will often opt for donor eggs to provide a better chance of conception.

Diminished ovarian reserve. This condition tends to impact women as they age. This term refers to cases where the eggs a woman produces are of low quality and often not optimal for fertilization. It occurs more frequently in women over age 40.

Genetic disease carriers. If there is a family history of genetically transmitted disorders in both intended parents, the pair may opt for a donor egg to limit the possibility of their child inheriting a disease.

Repeated failure with IVF treatments. Sometimes women try to achieve their own pregnancies through IVF treatments without success. After repeated attempts and failures, their reproductive endocrinologist may suggest using a donor egg.

Other health considerations. Every woman’s health and fertility is unique. There may be other medical conditions that impact fertility and necessitate the need for a donor egg.

The use of donor eggs has been on a path of steady incline over the past decade, especially in women over 40. In 2010 it was estimated that at least 11% of all assisted reproductive births were the result of donor eggs.