But using donor eggs may also be advised by your Fertility Consultant in other instances too, even if you’re a younger woman.
It could be that using donor eggs gives you a higher chance of pregnancy than trying to use your own, especially if you’ve had repeated failed IVF cycles in the past.
Whilst you may respond well to fertility medications and have a good number of eggs collected, low rates of fertilisation through IVF or ICSI resulting in no quality embryos to transfer could be an indication of an issue with egg quality, if your partner’s semen analysis is normal. In which case, donor eggs may be the best option for you.
At Manchester Fertility our initial fertility investigations examine your ovarian reserve, to identify your chances of pregnancy using your own eggs, or if donor eggs IVF is more appropriate.
We assess ovarian reserve through a blood test, performed at the very start of your treatment journey before you even see your Fertility Consultant. We’re looking for specific hormone levels within your blood, to get an accurate picture of your eggs and likely ovarian response.
We test your blood for:
FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone
FSH is a hormone that ensures you produce mature eggs for ovulation. It’s usually tested between days two to five of your menstrual cycle, and gives us a good understanding of how well you may respond to the stimulation needed for IVF.
For FSH, we want the reading to be low. A high reading of FSH – typically 15 or higher - means your body is producing more FSH than normal to try to stimulate your ovaries, and can be an indicator that your ovarian reserve is low and you don’t have many eggs left.
The issue with FSH is that levels vary each month. So for a more accurate picture of your fertility, we conduct AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) testing too.
AMH – Anti Mullerian Hormone/’egg count’ test
AMH is a hormone made directly by the ovarian follicle that contains the egg. AMH is a reliable indicator of your ovarian reserve as it assesses active follicles, and usually only needs annual testing.
If your AMH levels are considered low, there aren’t many active ovarian follicles, which means fewer eggs. Your response to conventional ovarian stimulation will be poor, so Modified Natural Cycle IVF using lower doses of fertility drugs may be an option instead, with the aim of collecting more than one good egg.
If you have very high AMH levels, this means you have lots of follicles in your ovaries. But this it potentially puts you at risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), a rare but potentially serious side-effect of ovarian stimulation. OHSS is when you produce too many mature eggs as a result of ovarian stimulation, and is more likely to occur in women who have lots of follicles.
When donor eggs may be recommended
If your AMH levels are very low, but your FSH levels are very high, donor eggs IVF may be advised to give you the highest chance of pregnancy. But it’s important to remember that your FSH and AMH levels are only part of your fertility assessment. There are many other factors your consultant takes into account when planning your treatment, including your age and any previous history of failed treatment.
UK donor eggs – no waiting list
If donor eggs do give you the best chance of a baby, there’s no worry about a long waiting list at Manchester Fertility. We have UK donor eggs ready for you now at our Cheshire clinic from an extensive choice of identifiable, HFEA health-screened and traceable egg donors.
You have the choice of IVF with fresh donor eggs – where your chosen donor’s donation cycle is synchronised to your IVF cycle – or IVF with frozen donor eggs from our donor egg bank.
Success Rates – Donor Eggs IVF
We have high and consistent success rates for our patients who use donor eggs. Almost 40% of women aged 40-42, and 33% of women aged 43 and above achieve pregnancy (fresh cycle by embryo transfer) with us.
And whilst the majority of donor egg IVF treatments we carry out are in women 40-plus, we do help some younger women have children through donor eggs too.
Almost a third (28%) of women under 30 who used our donor eggs achieved pregnancy. In these cases, it’s important to remember that there may be other factors affecting their fertility, not including their age, which necessitate the need for donor eggs.
Using an egg donor – personal support
Deciding to use donor eggs can be a very sensitive and often emotional decision. Our counsellors and dedicated Donation Team give personal support and guidance to all women who need to use an egg donor.
We’ll also be at the Fertility Show in Manchester next month (25-26 March) – book your tickets here.
Last updated: 17th February 2017