Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Woman With Prior Anxiety Disorder Hopes To Use Donor Eggs Despite Being Fertile: What Is Donor IVF & Will I Qualify?


Hello Dr. Ramirez,

Although I'm fertile I don't want biological children who have my genes. However, my husband and I want our children to be biologically his. Is there a way I could go through IVF with a donor egg despite the fact I'm fertile? If this is possible, please explain, how the process would differ from (the more usual) process of IVF with donor egg for someone who isn't fertile.

Thank you, C. fom Rhode Island, USA


Hello C. from the U.S.,

Yes, of course this is possible. Infertility specialists have been doing this for years. Here is how the process works and is called Donor-IVF.

Assuming you have chosen a donor and completed all the necessary legal paperwork that is necessary, here is how it goes. The donor is stimulated with fertility medications to recruit and mature multiple eggs. At the same time, your ovaries are suppressed with a medication called Lupron and your uterine lining is stimulated to grow with estrogen. Once the donor's eggs are mature, they are "retrieved" by passing a needle through the vagina and directly into the ovaries. These donor eggs are then put together with your husband's sperm and allowed to fertilize. The fertilized embryos are then allowed to grow and then 1-2 are carefully transferred into your prepped uterus. If they implant, then you become pregnant and carry the pregnancy to term. Sometimes there are additional embryos that can be frozen and used for another cycle as well.

The child will then be genetically your husband's and not yours, but biologically yours since you are the one that delivers the child. Almost any IVF center can help you with finding a suitable donor and doing the IVF procedure. You can even go to a clinic far away to have this done since your specific participation does not require a lot of visits.

You state at the very end of your question about how it would be done in "someone who isn't fertile". I am not sure what you mean by this statement. Do you mean someone without ovaries or someone without uterus or someone with the problem of recurrent miscarriages or someone with an autoimmune disorder, or someone with an inherent genetic abnormality, etc.? As you can see there are many different scenarios and we would have to adjust the process based on what exactly the "isn't fertile" reason was. Nowadays, we have many different options and variations to get someone pregnant and have a child.

Good Luck,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG

Follow-up Question:

Thanks for answering my question. I have an additional question that is even more specific to my situation. When I was quite young I had depression and then anxiety (my particular form of anxiety is related to OCD) and this is why I don't want to have children that are genetically mine. Considering all this, would it be difficult to find an IVF center willing to allow me to go through Donor-IVF? (I was thinking maybe they prefer to work with people who have "more legitimate" reasons for wanting IVF such as women who simply can't have children without ART).

Also, do you happen to know, if I would have any more "hoops to jump through" such as going through counseling to establish why I don't want children who are genetically mine? Any other criteria specific to this scenario?

It's appreciated, C.

Follow-up Answer:

Hello Again, I can't imagine that you would have difficulty finding a clinic that would allow you to do a donor IVF cycle with your explanation. Some clinics might want you to have counseling to make sure, but I doubt that the majority would. You are the consumer, and the patient, and you do have the right to dictate your treatment preferences in this case.

Good Luck and don't hesitate to write again if you need further advice,

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

Comment: Thank-you, Dr. Ramirez, I am relieved and grateful! C. from R. I.

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