Egg Donation & Premature Menopause

When female infertility is attributed to insufficient ovarian response, leading to poor egg production (e.g., a woman who goes through IVF but her ovaries fail to produce eggs), or when eggs are produced but fail to fertilize properly, a possible solution is egg donation.

Who is a good candidate for egg donation?

Egg donation or ovum donation is a possible solution for women:

  • Who cannot produce eggs due to menopause or have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure (POF) - also referred to as premature menopause or early menopause
  • Above age 37 who have been repeatedly unsuccessful with IVF, particularly if it is known that the infertility is not male factor
  • Who a carry a genetic disorder they do not want to pass on to their child
  • Who have had multiple unexplained miscarriages

How does egg donation work?

Step 1

The egg donor's ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs during a single cycle. These eggs are then aspirated (also referred to as egg retrieval). The ovarian stimuation in this case is identical to that in standard IVF (invitro fertilization).

View detailed costs here about IVF procedures and donating eggs.

In some cases women already going through IVF choose to become egg donors. In this case, the eggs that are retrieved are divided between the donor and the recipient (the number of eggs to be donated may be determined in advance or according to the nubmer of eggs retrieved). This is frequently done to offset the high cost of IVF. It is usually referred to as "egg sharing".

Step 2

Usually, the eggs are fertilized using the sperm of the husband, so that the child belongs biologically to the husband. Usually legally-binding documents are signed to prevent any biological claim from the egg donor toward the child.

Step 3

Once the eggs are fertilized, they are referred to as embryos. Whenever possible, these embryos are transferred to the uterus of the recipient, so that she will hopefully become pregnant. This process is referred to as embryo transfer. It is the same process of IVF, however it has the advantage of reduced trauma to the mother who will carry the baby, much like frozen embryo transfer.

Does it stand a chance?

Success rates with embryos from donor eggs are similar, if not identical, to those of women implanted with their biological embryos!

This site presents stories both of egg donors and of recipients.

Dalia's Story (Egg donation recipient)
Elaine's Story (Egg donation recipient)
Rosie's Story (Egg donor)
Nora's Story (Egg donor)
Suzanna's Story (Egg donor)
Meg's Story (Egg donor)
Gina's Story (Contemplating use of donor eggs)
Stacy's Story (Received ovary donation)
Terri's Story (Egg donation recipient)
Annie's Story (Egg donor)
Alex's Story (Egg donor)
Patrice's Story (Egg & Sperm donation recipient)

If you are an egg donor or recipient of egg donation and are interested in sharing your experience, see our Research page or Tell Your Story.

Also see: Questions and answers about Egg Donation

High FSH, Bad Eggs, or Diminished/Poor Ovarian Reserve - An incredible collection of information and links by an infertility patient

Emotional Aspects of Egg Donation - written by a therapist - Laurel T. Kline (Note: FertilityStories is not affiliated with the site on which this article appears.)