Skip to main content

When You Might Want to Consider Using a Donor Egg

When You Might Want to Consider Using a Donor Egg

Certain circumstances can dictate adopting a unique way to build your family. For instance, infertility is quite common in Australia, and hopeful couples and individuals may have to adopt assisted reproductive care to become parents. One such fertility option is using donor egg IVF to become a parent.

The donor egg IVF is an arrangement where eggs from a healthy woman are used to create the embryo instead of the intended mother’s.

Egg donor IVF is an excellent solution to the unique and difficult challenges faced by couples dealing with infertility and same-sex couples trying to expand their family. It is important to consider all sides and factors before determining if this method is the right one for you.

What is it called when you use a donor egg?
What is it called when you use a donor egg?

Situations Where Egg Donor Option is a Better Solution

There are various cases where a mother or the intended parents cannot become pregnant using their own eggs. In these scenarios, eggs from a donor could be the most suitable option. Here are some of those factors:

Age & Egg Donors Australia

A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have in her lifetime. As the woman gets older, so do her eggs so egg freezing success rates age are declined. As a result, they are more vulnerable to difficulty getting pregnant, and developing genetic and other abnormalities due to poor quality and quality of the eggs. Data shows that female fertility rapidly declines after 35 and live birth rates also start to drop significantly around 35 years of age.

In such cases, you can opt to use the eggs from a younger, healthier woman. These eggs would be much more viable to get you pregnant.

Poor Ovarian Reserve

Ovarian reserve refers to the egg reserve. It is the ability of the ovary to provide mature eggs that can be fertilized. Several tests and markers are used to determine ovarian reserves such as Baseline Antral Follicle Count (BAFC), Day 3 FSH/E2, and Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test.

Having small ovaries and elevated FSH, and a decline in AMH level implies that there are not a lot of eggs left in an ovary. This is also referred to as poor ovarian reserve. A woman with poor ovarian reserve is less likely to become pregnant and will require reproductive assistance.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

One of the primary defects found in the eggs of a woman at advanced maternal age is an abnormal number of chromosomes or chromosomal abnormalities. Your chromosomes carry the genetic material required for fetal development. Unfortunately, as a woman ages, she will have fewer eggs left to become pregnant successfully and the remaining eggs will have an abnormal number of chromosomes. This leads to a lower chance of successful embryo implantation.

What are the chances of pregnancy with donor eggs?
What are the chances of pregnancy with donor eggs?

Number of Failed IVF Cycles

While IVF is currently the most successful fertility treatment option available, it does not guarantee a pregnancy. IVF produces less success for women at advanced maternal age due to poor egg health. This can lead to multiple miscarriages and failed pregnancies. If failed IVF attempts repeat, you should consider using eggs from a donor.

There is a greater success rate of having a healthy child from a donor egg which can save you from the stress of repeated IVF failure. You may think that the egg donor IVF would have a financial burden on you but multiple IVF cycles would be much costlier with a lowered chance of success.

LGBT Families Looking for a Baby

Same-sex couples and single men who are looking to start a family have no other choice but to resort to the donor eggs option. These men will require donor eggs and a gestational carrier since they do not have ovaries or a womb to carry a child.

Post-cancer Treatment

Many cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and surgeries can damage the ovaries or mandate that the ovaries are removed altogether (in the case of ovarian cancer). These women will have two choices to resort to – either donor egg fertility prior to undergoing cancer treatment and use those eggs to become a mother or use donor eggs from a healthier woman.

Women Born Without Ovaries

Due to congenital abnormalities, a woman may be born without her ovaries. If there are no ovaries, she cannot produce any eggs. These women will have no other choice but to use assisted reproductive care and donor eggs to become mothers.

The advantages of having a known donor are that the genetic origin is known and the waiting time for treatment is significantly reduced.
The advantages of having a known donor are that the genetic origin is known and the waiting time for treatment is significantly reduced.

A Closer Look Into Donor Egg Parenthood Process

The first step in egg donation parenthood is to find a suitable egg donor. Remember that the child will inherit the donor’s characteristics as her genetic material will be carried through the eggs. Hence it’s important that you thoroughly consider what qualities you want in your egg donor such as racial background, physical resemblance, merits, etc.

Once a donor is found, the intended mother and the egg donor will undergo a medication course to synchronize their menstruation cycle. The donor will start taking injectable fertility medicines in order to stimulate egg production. Her cycle will look almost like a conventional IVF cycle but without an embryo transfer.

The intended mother will also take injections to suppress the reproductive system. She will also take estrogen supplementation which signals the uterus to create a suitable lining.

When the donor eggs reach levels where they can be harvested, she will get a trigger shot injection of hCG. It will send the eggs into maturation.

In the meanwhile, the intended mother will start taking progesterone supplementation that helps prepare the uterus for embryo implantation. Then the donor will come to the fertility clinic where the egg retrieval will be performed. The entire process is done using an ultrasound-guided needle.

Egg retrieval & Sperm sample

Around the day of the egg retrieval, the intended father will submit a semen sample. If donor sperm is being used then the sperm sample needs to reach the fertility clinic around the time of egg retrieval.

The retrieved donor eggs will be fertilized with the intended father’s sperm to produce embryos. After three to five days, when the embryos are ready for implantation, the intended mother will visit the fertility clinic for an embryo transfer.

One to two healthy embryos will be transferred into the intended mother’s uterus. Genetic screenings can be done on the embryos to determine which are healthy and do not have any abnormalities. The extra embryos can be frozen for a future cycle.

About ten days after the embryo transfer, the intended mother will undergo a pregnancy test to see if the cycle was a success and if she is pregnant.

Studies show that those patients who used fresh donor eggs, 54.9 percent actually gave birth
Studies show that in those patients who used fresh donor eggs, 54.9 per cent actually gave birth

Benefits of Using a Donor Eggs

Using a donor egg allows you and/or your partner to carry your child in your womb so that you are intimately involved in the process.

You can further assert your familial ties if one of your family members agrees to donate eggs for you. This way, both you and your partner would be genetically related to the baby.

Donor eggs generally come from younger and healthier women who have undergone medical testing. This means the egg quality would be higher which greatly improves the rate of IVF success. Using egg donation has a success rate of about 50% per IVF cycle, the highest success rate of any other fertility procedure.

Where Can You Find Egg Donors

The best way is perhaps consulting your fertility doctor as they are aware of egg donor agencies and resources. Still, there are other sources from which you can find a door.

  • A friend
  • A family member (sister/cousin)
  • Another couple undergoing egg donation and willing to share their egg cohort
  • An egg bank that offers frozen eggs
  • Egg donor agency for fresh cycles
  • IVF clinics
See your OBGYN if you have symptoms of PID
See your OBGYN if you are looking at using donor eggs

Costs Factor

Egg donor IVF can be expensive given that so many factors are involved. These costs vary between states in Australia and which IVF clinics. These costs can also vary depending on the source of the egg donor, donor criteria, the cycle stages, etc. The biggest chink of money would go on to pay for the egg donor’s compensation.

It’s a good idea to consider IVF refund programs and guarantee programs that can provide assurance for the result. Some states mandate that the insurance providers cover the cost of the IVF cycle. Make sure to speak to your insurance provider to see if you have leverage.


Egg donation with IVF is a useful solution for hopeful parents who cannot produce healthy eggs or do not produce eggs at all. The donor eggs come from healthy, young women which significantly increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Thanks to the compassionate women who chose to become egg donors, infertile couples, cancer patients and gay couples have new doors of hope to become parents.