Pregnancy by donor eggs has become the newest trend for US women. According to a study published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the number of fertility procedures using fresh or frozen donated eggs has gone up from 10,801 procedures in 2000 to 18,306 procedures in 2010. At least 93% of US fertility centers used donor eggs for fertility procedures. The study utilized information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System (NASS). The study group -lead by Jennifer Kawwass, a fellow at the Emory University School of Medicine, in Atlanta – presented it on Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies.
Most US women over 35 years of age use donor eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF) because they have short supply of viable eggs. Most of the donor eggs are from healthy, young women who have plenty of viable eggs. However, women still prefer using traditional IVF methods in which they use their own donor eggs and sperms from their partner or from a donor. Evan Myers, a professor at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, North Carolina, says that most people strongly desire to have a child that is genetically from both parents.
An estimated 89% of IVF procedures were traditional in 2010, even for women over 35 years of age. Most of these women, however, were less likely to end up with a baby.
One of the most important aspects of the study was pointing at the risk of using multiple embryos. Doctors strictly recommended that no more than two embryos should be placed in the recipient mother’s womb. Despite the risk, a lot of mothers were willing to have twins for a couple of reasons: lowering the number of times a woman gets pregnant, raising the chance of having at least one baby and decreasing costs.
IVF procedures fail for a number of reasons including age of donor mother, number of oocytes and duration of fertility. All of these factors are related to ovarian function which decreases by age. Psychological stress has been estimated to be a factor that contributes to failure of IVF procedures but a 2005 Swedish study proved that it has no effect on pregnancies.
Donor egg pregnancies are on the rise because the mean age for pregnant women in the US has risen steadily until it reached 25 years in 2009. It is even higher in countries like Germany, with the average age for pregnancy becoming 30 years.
Written by: Jaylan Salah