Many celebrities have gotten pregnant and had healthy babies in their late 40s, just to name a few, Janet Jackson, Halle Berry or Celine Dion. Does an average woman over the age of 40 or 45 have similar chances to get pregnant? Yes, but the secret is IVF with donor eggs.
It is a known fact that quality and quantity of woman’s eggs deteriorate with time. The chances of getting pregnant naturally after 40 are very slim, even as low as 4%. However, modern medicine and science have a solution to that: egg donation. The chances of becoming pregnant via IVF with donor eggs skyrocket: they can reach up to 50%. In this type of treatment a woman uses donor eggs instead of her own oocytes. Usually donor eggs are provided by the clinic’s own egg bank and always come from young, healthy and thoroughly tested women-donors.
Doctors can use sperm coming from the patient’s partner or biological material from a sperm bank. Fortunately, men’s fertility typically does not decline as much with age, so very often the partner’s material is used. This means the baby will be genetically related to the father, but not the mother. It may be hard for some women to embrace the idea of a baby who is not genetically related to them. It is not uncommon that the experience of this type of infertility treatment comes with strong emotions and often stress. Still every single egg donation review reveals that the process is definitely worth it.
So what is egg donation program? How does it work? In short, donor eggs are fertilized in a lab and then the resulting embryo is transferred to the intended mother’s womb. Usually, prior fertilization a donor egg recipient needs to undergo hormonal therapy to prepare her womb for pregnancy. Doctors need to make sure that the patient’s uterine lining is of the right thickness in order to provide the optimal environment for the embryo to develop. The endometrium growth is monitored by ultrasound and when the lining consists of three healthy layers and is about 7 to 10 mm thick, the uterus is ready for embryo transfer. If the endometrium is not ready, the patient undergoes hormonal replacement therapy to aid the process. The fertility medication helps improve the quality of endometrial lining and facilitates its growth.
Usually after the embryo transfer patients can go back to work (there is no downtime) but need to continue taking hormones prescribed by their fertility doctor. The recommendations also include healthy diet, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and strenuous exercise. After 2 weeks post-transfer the first pregnancy test can be taken at home. If pregnancy occurs, the medication is stopped around 12-20 weeks.
Still every medical case is different and various patients need lower or larger doses due to a number of factors. There are patients with auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto, rheumatoid arthritis, or other chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes) who need to be treated in a different way. The protocol for them should be discussed between the fertility doctor and the patient’s treating physician. Only such cooperation between specialists will ensure the right and successful course of treatment.