Why Donor Eggs

Physiology of Eggs

Unlike males who have the ability to produce sperm from the time of puberty onwards, the human female is born with the total number of eggs she will ever have already in her ovaries. At birth the ovaries contain about 1 million eggs and these are continually activating and dying with about 200-400 being lost every month. This should not be confused with ovulation which begins at puberty and lasts till menopause, the time when all the eggs have died or been released. Ovulation is merely the process under the control of your pituitary gland that allows the ongoing development of a group of activated eggs leading the ultimate release of one during a monthly menstrual cycle.

Not only the number but the quality of the remaining eggs declines each year. Thus female age is another major factor affecting fertility.

Finally, the women will enter the Oopause, approximately a 10-year period preceding her natural menopause (occurring on average at age 52 years) during which her tests of ovulation are initially normal, she has regular cycles but the only problem is that her chance of conception is very low and the chance of a live birth even lower due to a significant increase in the miscarriage rate.

Pregnancy rates as low <5% can occur and this leads to a great deal of frustration as the system appears to be working but no live births occur.

Who Needs Donor Eggs?

There are 3 broad groups of women who will need donor eggs

  • Women who are menopausal and no longer have any functional eggs, irrespective of their age. (Natural menopause or premature menopause or resistant ovary syndrome)
  • Women who still have eggs but despite many attempts at treatment including IVF and ICSI have never been successful and have never had a live birth (poor responders, failed fertilisations, unexplained failed implantations, "poor egg quality")
  • Women who have their own eggs but do not wish to use them for fear of transmitting serious genetic disease to their offspring