Infertility is a heavy burden to bear.
This is especially true for women who want to be parents. It’s something that you so desperately want but you can’t have because something is “wrong” with you.
About 1 in 10 American women ages 15 to 44 experience infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Luckily, there is something that can be done about it. Clinicians are using donor eggs to help people have the families that they want.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
The Other Half of the Equation
Any egg is just half of the biological ingredients needed to have a baby. Human eggs, or ova, contains half of the 46 chromosomes that will layout the genetics for your baby. These chromosomes contain the genes that will dictate every biological aspect of your baby.
Should you provide the other half to the genetic material, in this case, sperm, you will have a direct partial contribution to what your child will look like, how it will behave, how it will think and even its tastes. The other half the biological markers that dictate so much of the “human” in us will come from the donor egg.
How Do You Know What’s Available?
Your fertility provider should keep very detailed but lightly anonymized profiles of all the donor mothers who could provide you with an egg.
The level of detail of screening may vary, but more screening suggests greater competency in ensuring health donor egg candidates. It is also a reflection of the level of care that the provider intends to give to you throughout the process.
The results of these screenings should be compiled into profiles to give an easily understood rundown on what’s available from each donor. Egg donor services usually have online or searchable databases for ease of use.
These should include a physical and health profile of the donor; a series of genetic tests to see if the donor is a carrier for any genetic defects that might cause you baby problems; probabilities around possible physical features for your future child; and social factors and determinants of health such as areas of residency, education, professional background, and race.
What exactly you need in a donor or a donor egg is up to the parents. If you have questions, raise them with your provider and don’t fear to get a second opinion.
Nuance in Using Donor Eggs
Even before considering the specific donors, it will be important to raise the question of whether or not you will plan in using fresh or frozen donor eggs.
In some cases, fertility providers will gather larger quantities of eggs and store them at an incredibly cold temperature to ensure that the eggs can be used for a considerable timeframe later.
In other cases, you will be using donor eggs that are fresh from the donor. This is a bit more complicated and time-consuming because the donor needs to align the surrogate with the donor’s cycle for successful implantation.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
It’s also worth noting that these services will be provided by businesses that are required to provide a high level of legal and other regulatory compliance within their services. If there is anything amiss, don’t tolerate it and find the next closest provider using donor eggs.
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