There are many different fertility options available for those who are struggling to conceive naturally. Keep reading to find out some of the most common fertility options.
Egg donation refers to the process in which a woman will donate her eggs for the use of assisted reproduction or for medical research purposes. Eggs that are donated for reproduction purposes will either be fertilized or frozen for later use. Egg donation is part of assisted reproductive technology. There are guidelines outlined by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in the United States, although not all egg donation agencies abide by these regulations.
Egg Donation Procedure
The egg donation procedure can vary slightly depending on the agency. Typically the egg donation procedure will look similar to the following:
- Egg Donor Application and Screening
- Potential egg donors must go through a screening process. This process may vary depending on the clinic with some performing multiple interviews and health tests. Most egg donation agencies will have strict guidelines in place for the egg donors that they end up selecting and adding to the egg donor program.
- Egg Matching
- When a person chooses to use donor eggs they can go through a pool of egg donor. An egg match is made when a donor is decided upon that meets certain requirements including time frame. There is FDA required testing done at this stage. A match for the egg donor may take as little as a few months or even a few years.
- Suppression and Ovarian Stimulation
- The egg donor will take daily injections to suppress her cycle. The ovaries are then stimulated using an alternative drug. This encourages more than one egg being mature enough for retrieval. The egg donor will be monitored during this time through blood tests and ultrasounds
- Triggering Ovulation and Egg Retrieval
- Once the donor’s eggs have developed ovulation will need to be triggered. The donor will have to take an injection of hCG. The eggs are then retrieved after a specified amount of time. The egg retrieval procedure is typically performed in office while the patient is sedated. The doctor will use an aspiration needle while being guided by an ultrasound to retrieve the eggs transvaginally.
- Post-Retrieval Checkup for the Donor
- The donor will often return for a post-retrieval checkup to ensure that she is recovering properly.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization is an increasingly common fertility treatment that combines eggs and sperm outside of the body. This procedure is generally done in lab setting. Once the egg and sperm have created embryos they are placed back in the uterus. IVF is quite expensive. It can be used as a fertility option if someone in the couple suffers from Endometriosis, low sperm count, uterus or fallopian tubes issues and more.
Surrogacy is the process in which a woman (the surrogate) will carry an implanted embryo to term for another person or couple. In vitro fertilization is first done and then the surrogate is implanted with the fertilized egg.
There are two main types of surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate acts as the egg donor and the surrogate. This type of surrogacy use intrauterine insemination meaning that the doctor will transfer the sperm into the surrogate’s uterus (biological mother) which allows fertilization to occur. Gestational Surrogacy doesn’t use the surrogate’s eggs. The gestational surrogate is screened and will be financially compensated based upon the surrogacy contract. The embryo is created using in vitro fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate. The embryo will then be carried to tem by the surrogate. After the baby's birth, the new baby will then go home with the new parents.
There are many different surrogacy agencies available. You will need to do your research and look at the costs associated to find the right one for you. Some of the most popular surrogacy agencies include:
- All Families Surrogacy, LLC
- Fertility SOURCE Companies
- Circle Surrogacy
- Center for Surrogate Parenting, Inc.