Use of egg donation on the rise

Two articles recently profiled the increase in use of donor eggs to achieve a pregnancy.

Articles in The National Post and The Daily Mail Online profiled a recent US study conducted by researchers at Emory University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found that an increasing number of women are using donor eggs to achieve a pregnancy. These women are generally older, and their eggs are no longer able to produce a healthy baby. Donor eggs are usually from women in their twenties, so there is a greater likelihood of becoming pregnant and having a healthy child, regardless of the recipient’s age. Based on US data, the average age of women using donor eggs in 2010 was 41 while the average age of egg donors was 28.

According to the study, in only a decade the number of in vitro fertilization cycles using donor eggs increased from 10,801 to 18,306. For those who became pregnant from treatment, 56% resulted in a live birth of a baby in 2010. From this number, 37% of those born were twins and 1% were triplets. Unfortunately, many of these babies were born prematurely and at low birth weights. The ideal goal of a single baby born on time and at a healthy weight, occurred for only 1 in 4 women who used donor eggs to have a child.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Jennifer Kawwass said researchers still need to find better ways to identify the embryos that have the best chance of resulting in healthy babies. The age of the recipient also is an important factor, given the increased rates of maternal and fetal risks and complications with pregnancies for women in their 40s. Read more about these issues here and here. 

This study demonstrates that for an increasing number of women who are unable to use their own eggs to have a baby, donor egg is an attractive and viable option, allowing many to achieve their dream of becoming a parent.

Read the articles here and here. 

Read more about donor eggs here, herehere, and here.

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