Can Egg Donation Help Women Over 40?

couple holding hands and carrying baby shoes -  egg donation IVF
Image by BRUNA BRUNA from Pixabay

Many people choose to not have children while they explore their careers and the world. However, by the time they’re ready to start a family — perhaps by 40 or above — they may find conceiving a child has become quite difficult without medical assistance.

Unfortunately, our biological clocks haven’t evolved in parallel with our “40 is the new 30” attitude in society. The fact is a woman’s eggs age with her body and severely decrease her ability to become pregnant naturally or with the assistance of traditional In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). If you’re experiencing egg quality concerns or issues, egg donation can help you build the family of your dreams.

To clarify, while a woman over 40 often produces lower quality eggs, her womb is still intact and quite capable of supporting a baby’s growth and development. To many women, the experience of growing their child within their own bodies is an extremely powerful experience. Further, important bonding developments occur between mother and child during pregnancy and birth, making donor egg IVF more appealing than adoption to those who wish to experience pregnancy and delivery.

pregnant woman

Infertility After 40

Infertility is difficult, plain and simple. It can become quite disheartening — and an emotional battle — to continually attempt conception, and not achieve it. Women are most fertile in their 20s, with fertility declining more rapidly in their 30s, particularly after age 35. By 40, women’s chances decrease to a low 5 percent and pregnancy success with their own eggs becomes highly unlikely.

Women continue to lose their eggs as time goes on. More specifically, their egg-containing follicles become less sensitive as they lose their ovarian reserve. However, the loss in quality of their remaining eggs is also important to consider. As women get older, many of these eggs may have too many — or too little — chromosomes. For example, the condition known as Down syndrome occurs when there’s an extra chromosome 21; however, most eggs with an imperfect number of chromosomes simply don’t develop into embryos.

The Donor Egg IVF Process

The donor egg IVF process is slightly different between fresh and frozen donor eggs. In general, your chosen egg donor undergoes an egg retrieval procedure and then the eggs are combined with male sperm, which may be provided by a male partner or sperm donor. This creates an embryo. Meanwhile, the recipient takes a regimen of hormones to prepare her uterus for one or two embryos to be transferred. Once an embryo is implanted, the journey to parenthood can begin. One of the main benefits of frozen donor egg IVF over fresh lies in the fact frozen donor egg IVF recipients don’t have to align their menstrual cycles with their donor’s. Rather, their egg lot of 5-8 eggs is immediately available for shipping since the eggs have already been retrieved. This saves both time and money.

Overcome Fear of Judgment

Many people hesitate to conceive after 40 with donor eggs because of societal misconceptions and an uncertainty of how to approach the situation. Awkward conversations are anticipated from strangers, friends, and family before and after their child is born.

However, there are many online – and perhaps a few local — resources to draw from for more support and a better education on your fertility treatment choice. You may also find it helpful to join a community of women who’ve already conceived using donor eggs, and with whom you can share similarly understood experiences.

Growing Your Family with Donor Eggs

child's hand holding a daisy, inside an adult's hand
Image by Blanka Šejdová from Pixabay

There’s no experience quite like feeling the miracle of life within your body. To feel kicks and a heartbeat, matched with a sonogram showing living proof of it, is simply not the same as using a gestational surrogate. With donor egg IVF, you’re the biological mother of your child; it’s your uterus and biology which will create your baby.

Just because you’ve decided to start your family later in life doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to have a child or children. Babies are born out of love. With donor egg IVF, your child will feel how loved they are thanks to the great lengths you took to create him or her. You’ll have a role in choosing your baby’s genetics and personality by carefully selecting their egg donor. All your time, effort and loving care will be reflected in your new family.

Choosing to use donor eggs isn’t always easy, but you won’t regret one step of the egg donation journey once your little one is snuggled in your arms!

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