One of the largest misconceptions about becoming an egg donor is the rumor that the process will impact your own future fertility.
We want to be very clear about this.
Becoming an egg donor will not impact your future fertility.
The misbelief is that the fertility medications that a woman takes as part of her egg retrieval process stimulate the body to release more eggs than it would without medication, ergo, the woman is prematurely exhausting her egg reserve as part of the process. Let’s take a look at all of the reasons that this is simply not true.
We understand that most egg donors are young, successful, busy women. Most are not yet mothers and are not yet ready to consider parenthood for their own lives. This common bond is actually one of the characteristics that motivates women to become egg donors. They figure, “I’m not going to use this month’s egg, someone else should.”
While it is true that the medicine that you’ll be taking will encourage your body to create more eggs than it would without the medication, research has proven that this does not dip into your personal egg reserves. Every month your body will naturally begin to develop 15-20 eggs for release. Ultimately, only the strongest one or two eggs are released, and the others are reabsorbed into your body and are never given the opportunity to become a baby. The only difference with egg donation is that all 15-20 of those eggs are harvested, and the best of those are turned into embryos. At the end of the day, your body is not depleted of additional eggs at all.
A recent study out of Belgium showed that, of 60 followed egg donors, 57 were able to achieve pregnancy naturally within 18 months of trying once they decided to start a family. Considering that the national infertility rate (independent of IVF or egg donorship) is roughly 10%, these numbers reflect a higher than average success rate overall for egg donors vs. the general population.
Another misconception is that taking artificial hormone therapy, as is required to be an egg donor, will off-balance your own natural hormone cycles, eventually leading to difficulty conceiving. The truth is that the hormones taken during your medical cycle are fast acting and leave the body quickly. They leave no long-term effects and do not impact your future hormone balance or fertility.
Despite research and science painting a strong picture that donation of eggs will not impact your future fertility, there will always be outliers who know someone who has a friend with a sister who was an egg donor and later in life could not conceive.
Here’s the truth. Infertility does not discriminate. It is possible to be an egg donor now and still struggle with infertility later in life. Correlation does not equal causation in these cases. There are many factors that contribute to infertility. Things like poor sperm quality from your partner, an incompetent cervix, or a thin endometrial lining can also lead to infertility.
Fact is, there has not been a single study that has positively linked egg donation to infertility. In fact, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has even gone on the record to state that, “There are no long-term adverse risks of IVF” or egg donation. -Richard J. Paulson, president-elect of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Still have questions? We’d love to entertain them. Please feel free to reach out to us via phone or Email so that we can talk with you about egg donation and how it will not impact your odds at becoming a mother later in life.