Women are born with all the eggs that they will ever have. In fact, when a female fetus is only 5 months along, she has approximately seven million eggs in her ovaries. By the time that baby girl is born, only 2 million eggs remain.
At the time of her first period, this number is further decreased to 300,000 eggs. Every month, a woman loses eggs. This process occurs even if she is on birth control pills or has irregular menstrual cycles.
Diminishing Egg Reserve, Diminishing Egg Quality
Women start losing their fertility at age 27, on average. A third of women who try to conceive at age thirty-five will have difficulty. By age forty, half of women who try to become pregnant will have a hard time. Women who are over forty-five and have tried to conceive for at least six months have an exceedingly small chance of becoming pregnant using their own eggs.
The reason that pregnancy becomes more difficult to achieve as a woman ages has a lot to do with the ovaries. She is continually losing eggs, and the eggs that remain become damaged over time. Even if a woman has perfectly regular menstrual cycles and lives a healthy lifestyle, there comes a time when her eggs will no longer lead her to become pregnant. Interestingly, the uterus continues to work just fine for most women. Even women that go through early menopause can still carry a pregnancy.
This is where egg donation comes in.
Increased Chance of Conception
If a woman is experiencing infertility due to her ovarian reserve, using the eggs of a younger woman will significantly increase her chances of becoming pregnant. For example, a forty-three-year-old woman who has tried unsuccessfully to conceive for a year has no more than a 10% chance of conceiving with in vitro fertilization using her own eggs. If she elects to conceive using an egg donor at InVia Fertility Specialists, her chance of conceiving would be over 70%.
Not a Decision Made on a Whim
Deciding when the time has come to use an egg donor is a difficult decision. Many factors need to be taken into account. Fertility testing is very important. Looking at the results of a woman’s previous fertility treatments is also critical. An honest conversation with a physician who can discuss the odds of success with various treatments should be sought out.
At InVia Fertility Specialists, we do not take the decision to use an egg donor lightly. This is one of the most important decisions a couple will ever have to make, and they should be given all available information before making a decision.
Our center utilizes the most advanced testing in order to individualize treatment to each couples particular circumstances. Many factors are used when helping couples determine how to answer the important question : will using an egg donor be the best route to building my family?
Dr. Klipstein is a graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She holds fellowships in both infertility and medical ethics.
Dr. Klipstein is widely published, having written numerous articles in both medical and ethics journals. She has also authored several book chapters and presented at numerous medical conferences. She is fluent in Spanish and Hebrew.