Since the birth of Louise Brown in 1978, in vitro fertilization has helped many couples fulfill their dreams of parenthood. However, significant problems with ovarian reserve or egg quality have not been conquered. For some patients, egg donation is a viable alternative with an excellent prognosis for success. The decision to pursue this treatment plan is not always an easy one. Questions regarding the need to have a genetic connection to their offspring and parental identity pose concerns for many Intended Parents undergoing this treatment option. Psychological guidance is an important component that should be provided to all who are seeking to undergo all forms of third-party reproduction. For this reason, IRMS works with key social workers and psychologists with a specialization in reproductive medicine to assist our patients in navigating the process and to help with coping mechanisms.
In the process of egg donation, a donor undergoes a stimulation protocol. Her eggs are retrieved and then fertilized in the lab typically with the sperm of the male Intended Parent. The intent is to create multiple embryos for transfer into the female Intended Parent, also referred to as the Recipient. The fertilized eggs may or may not be tested for genetic mutations prior to embryo transfer. That is the decision of the Intended Parents or Recipients. Currently there are several ways to choose your donor here at IRMS. We maintain our own pool of confidential donors that are already screened and able to cycle. Additionally we work with two frozen donor egg banks, Donor Egg Bank USA and My Egg Bank. We also work with select outside donor agencies as well as known donors that the IP identifies.
First, Intended Parents can choose to move forward with a known egg donor. This is a woman, usually friend or relative, who is willing to donate her eggs to help a couple or individual conceive. The donor will take medications on a daily basis and her response will be assessed in the office with the use of blood markers and an ultrasound. Benefits associated with this option can include the cost savings on donor compensation. Some of the drawbacks regarding known egg donation include the potential of legal issues regarding parental rights. Legal counsel is usually advised. The known donor should also be screened for potential diminished ovarian reserve and should ideally be under age 32. If the known donor is suitable, embryo testing prior to transfer may also be an option.
Second, a fresh confidential egg donor can be used. A fresh donor is a woman who undergoes ovarian stimulation with the intent to donate her eggs to a recipient couple or individual. At IRMS, we have a continual “pool” of confidential egg donors for our recipients to choose from. IRMS donors go through an extensive application process as well as medical, psychological and gynecological screening. All IRMS donors are under the age of 32. Intended Parents at IRMS are given an expanded donor profile and are able to see pictures of the donor so they can make an informed about their choice of an egg donor yet still keep the process confidential. As the supply of local fresh egg donors may not always fulfill the desires of all Intended Parents, working with a donor egg agency is an option and may offer a larger pool of donors to choose from. Benefits associated with using a fresh donor include the higher number of embryos that may be created. This may provide more chances at pregnancy overall.
Third, the use of anonymous frozen donor eggs has gained wide acceptance in recent years. Success rates using frozen donor eggs have proven to be comparable to fresh donor egg cycles. IRMS New Jersey and its affiliates work with two frozen donor egg banks, Donor Egg Bank USA as well as My Egg Bank. Patients can see the donor’s profile, which contains information regarding the donor’s characteristics as well as pictures. Some benefits of this treatment option include the availability of eggs that have already been harvested, as well as, a slightly lower cost to cycle. One of the potential limitations is that patients must purchase 6 eggs at a time. While this number of eggs affords an Intended Parent a great chance of a live birth, if one wishes to build a family from one cycle, this option may not represent the best choice and a fresh donor may be favored.
In summary, many factors have to be taken into account when deciding to pursue egg donation. As there are FDA regulations and protocols to protect the patient and the donor, it is of utmost importance that these cycles are managed by a team of experts in the field. The entire team at IRMS, here in New Jersey, is committed to our patient’s success.
Visit IRMS Egg Donor Program for more information about Egg Donation and/or any of your fertility options, please contact us by filling out our form or by calling 973.548.9900 to book a consultation. If you’d like to book a visit with Dr. Mann in Old Bridge, please give us a call at 732.786.7900
Dr. Jessica Salas Mann Dr. Jessica Salas Mann is an affiliate physician to IRMS at Saint Barnabas. As medical director of JSM Fertility, Dr. Mann works in concert with IRMS physicians to give exemplary care and service to patients throughout Central and Southern New Jersey. She is an experienced reproductive surgeon, having served the patients of Monmouth and Ocean counties since 2011. Her areas of clinical interest and expertise are pregnancy loss, ovulation induction, in vitro fertilization, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and third party reproduction.