Rising Popularity Of Egg Donation
Recent advances in medical science are making egg donation a popular way for women who are unable to use their own eggs to have biological children.
- Women with missing, cancerous or surgically removed ovaries
- Women who are going through menopause or early onset menopause
- Lesbian and gay couples
- Women who need to use a surrogate
- Women who cannot produce healthy eggs
- Women with a serious history of genetically transmittable disease
It is now possible, through egg donation, for women who are unable to produce healthy eggs of their own, to have a biological child.
Over the past 5 years, the surge in infertility treatments using egg donations, has made this dream a reality for hundreds of thousands of women.
Egg donation is part of the process of vitro fertilization (I.V.F.) in which fertilized, donated eggs are implanted into a woman’s uterus. Sometimes women who have healthy eggs, but cannot carry a child, will have their own fertilized eggs implanted into a surrogate’s womb using this same process as well.
The woman who is donating the eggs, the egg donor, takes medications to stimulate their ovaries into producing more eggs than usual in one cycle. These eggs are then harvested by a doctor. They are fertilized in a lab with sperm from the recipient’s partner or a sperm donor.
Several fertilized eggs, usually 2-3, are then implanted into the recipient woman’s uterus for her to carry to term. Though there are many factors to consider, according to the American Pregnancy Association the success rate of vitro fertilization using donated eggs can be as high as 48%.
Recent trends in egg donation
Since the first successful vitro fertilization procedure using donated eggs in 1983, the demand for donated eggs for infertility treatment has skyrocketed. There have also been significant technological advances that have made the process safer and more accessible.
According to the New York clinic Center for Human Reproduction egg donation is the fastest growing infertility treatment in the United States increasing by 18% over the last decade.
This increased demand is in large part due to the fact that more and more people are choosing to have children later in life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention women over the age of 40 are the most like to use donor eggs.
Despite the more widespread use of donor eggs, the practice is not without controversy. Interestingly, egg donation is far more controversial around the world than it is in the United States. In fact, in many countries egg donation remains illegal. For example, women from some European countries who want to have infertility treatment with donor eggs must travel to countries like the United States where the procedure is safe, readily available, and legal. Over the past few years, this has created a medical tourism boom for the industry.
Treatments and options
Today egg donation is a fairly simple, painless process and the medical risks have greatly diminished over the years. In addition, advances in technology have resulted in the need to implant fewer embryos which has reduced the instances of multiple births as a result of the process.
The future for egg donation is bright with new and exciting developments on the horizon. For example, some egg banks are now offering frozen eggs that can be shipped to recipients. This is a viable solution to increase the availability of eggs in all geographical locations. According to CNN’s report, Egg Freezing Changing Fertility Treatments, it is likely that in the near future all eggs will be purchased online rather than being supplied locally.