Loosing or reducing the natural fertility levels in couples can be painful, which is why many are considering fertility treatments. It is estimated that 8% to 12% of couples around the world have fertility issues. Approximately 3.9% to 16.8% of Indian couples are infertile, according to the WHO. Unfortunately, infertility affects both men and women equally due to their lifestyle.
However, for many infertile couples who want to start a family — ART procedures like IVF, IUI and ICSI have become a boon to their dreams of becoming parents. Most couples come to fertility clinics with some knowledge of ART techniques, but for many of them, donor treatments come as a surprise, precisely when donor embryos are involved.
A donor treatment is a procedure in which the infertile couple takes advantage of using donated eggs or sperm or sometimes embryos from fertile individuals. There are a variety of reasons why people choose donor treatments.
Who needs donor eggs?
The chances of conceiving via IVF or ICSI without using donor eggs are good if you are young with a healthy ovarian reserve. However, in case of severe infertility, using donor eggs might be the only way to fulfill your desire for a family. As suggested by Dr Mounika Reddy, below are a few signs that an IVF cycle with donor eggs is a good option:
- Women above 45 years of age
- Having premature ovarian failure
- Poor egg quality
- Low ovarian reserve
- Multiple failed IVF cycles
- Having a family history of genetic disorders
Who needs donor sperm?
When it comes to a male partner, he might be sterile and incapable of providing sperm to create an embryo. So a donor sperm is the only option. The following situations make donor sperms essential to achieving pregnancy:
- Men with azoospermia condition or no sperm production
- Having genetical defects (to avoid passing on a genetic disease)
- Multiple failed IVF cycles
- Single women who want to become pregnant without a partner
Lesbian couples who wish to start a family with children can also make use of donor sperm.
Embryo donation is a process of taking freshly formed or frozen embryos from one couple or transferring them to other infertile couples who are taking treatment to achieve a pregnancy. The primary reasons for using donor embryos are:
- Untreatable infertility in both partners
- A single woman with untreatable infertility or not having a male partner
- Recurrent pregnancy loss associated with embryonic conditions
- Genetic disorders in one or both partners.
What is the process of obtaining donor eggs and sperm?
Patients who need a donor egg or sperm or embryo can buy them from unknown donors in a sperm bank or egg bank or can take them from known donors like friends or relatives. The success rate is also as high as 50-60% in using donor treatments.
In recent years, new technologies and developments have enabled self-egg/sperm IVF or ICSI even in challenging cases. Dr. Mounika Reddy, Gynecologist and Fertility Specialist at IRA Fertility Clinic, encourage couples to have their own genetic child unless it is impossible. Donor programs should be the last resort. For more details, consult our experts right away.