Choosing Which Type of Egg Donation is Right for You
Egg donation has become an increasingly popular choice for couples who have exhausted other options and yet have still failed to conceive.
For couples that are starting their family later in life, age plays a large role in the success of conceiving. Age affects both partners’ fertility, however, it is more detrimental to female fertility. Unlike men who are constantly producing new sperm, women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs. As we age, the quality and quantity of our eggs decrease. Therefore, many women who start their families later in life may struggle to conceive using their own eggs. It is in this case that a woman may seek to use donor eggs.
When age is the determining factor for donor eggs, the benefits of using donor eggs are becoming more well-known and the chances of success during IVF treatment are significantly higher when using donor eggs rather than a woman’s own eggs.
Other cases where a woman may need to use donor eggs are,
- If they have gone through menopause prematurely
- If they have experienced recurrent implantation failure
- If they have a history of genetic disease
- Potentially if they have had chemotherapy.
If you’re interested in using donated eggs to help you start a family, one of the biggest decisions you need to make is which type of egg donation you’d like to try. There are two options to choose from; known egg donation and unknown egg donation, and there are pros and cons to each. Below we have put together some information that can help you to determine which type of egg donation is right for you and your partner.
Known egg donation
As the name suggests, a known egg donor is someone you know personally. The donor could be a family member or a friend, for example, and they are willing to provide you with donor eggs that you can use. Before egg collection can be arranged, blood tests, scans and other investigations will need to be carried out to ensure the donor has a good ovarian reserve and is suitable to donate their eggs.
Unknown egg donation
‘Unknown’ egg donation refers to someone whom you do not know. There are different egg donation programmes available to consider. There are two types of unknown donors, identifiable and anonymous. There is a wide range of donors to choose from. To help you decide which donor is best suited to your needs, you can view a profile for each donor which includes details of their physical characteristics.
In order to have an embryo transfer using donor gametes in Ireland the donor must be what is known as an identifiable donor. It’s important to note that although you won’t know who the donor is when choosing them, a child conceived using donor assisted reproduction can access information about the donor once they reach 18. From the age of 18, they can find out information such as the donor’s name, date of birth and last known address from the National Donor Conceived Persons Register.
Which type of egg donation is best?
There are lots of things to consider when choosing whether you’d like to use a known or unknown donor and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. There are some key benefits associated with known egg donation that makes it a popular choice amongst couples who are trying to conceive. For example, when using a family member’s eggs, you will be using eggs from the same genetic pool and this can provide peace of mind.
Typically, there is a shorter waiting time to begin treatment when you use a known egg donor. The donor and recipient cycles can often be coordinated, so there is a chance you could become pregnant sooner.
However, using a known donor doesn’t work for everyone and it has its obstacles for the donor, recipient and also the child. Many worry about the future when using a known donor and the implications that come with using a family member or friend’s eggs to conceive. For some couples, an unknown donor is considered to be less complicated as they won’t have to overcome challenges in the future such as attachment and identity issues arising from the donor playing a role in their child's life, whether this is as an aunt or close friend.
It’s necessary to speak to a fertility specialist and a specialised fertility counsellor about both egg donation options before deciding which would be best in your circumstances. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore each type of egg donation in more detail and reflect upon how each option could impact you and your child in the future.
Speaking to a specialist about egg donation in Ireland
At Sims We have four different egg donation programmes:
Shared Motherhood: This is designed for same-sex female couples. This is where the eggs of one partner are used in an IVF cycle to create embryos that are then transferred to the other partner. Find out more here.
To find out more about the egg donation process and the benefits of using donor eggs, please contact our dedicated egg donation team. They will gladly answer any questions you have about egg donation. Our team will ensure you have the information you need to make an informed decision.
We can assure you that our egg donation programmes are conducted to the highest possible standards and you will be in very good hands with our team of experts.
You can find out more about our egg donation programmes here.