By Marty Gebhart, DNP, NP
Egg Donors Make Dreams Come True
Infertility affects 1 out of every 8 couples, and for nearly 40 years couples have utilized Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) as a viable means of overcoming this disease.
Many women are postponing their childbearing years for careers, educational advancements, or later-in-life marriages. Secondary to this societal change, some women (especially those over the age of 35,) are experiencing the effects of age-related infertility.
In fact, you may find it interesting to know that women are born with all the eggs (or oocytes) they will have in their lifetime and this number continues to diminish even prior to birth! Not only can the egg, or oocyte, of a woman be diminished by age, but also by other factors that may be completely unrelated to age.
For example, a young fertile woman diagnosed with cancer and receiving subsequent treatments may become infertile during or after chemotherapy. Unfortunately, these women who had no fertility problems at all, are now facing the challenges associated with infertility and reproductive options.
In fact, as I write this article, this information may be all too familiar to you. Maybe it’s your sister, aunt, daughter, or co-worker, who has faced such difficulties; however, this does not preclude that a woman who wants to become pregnant and give birth to a child needs to remain childless.
I want to inform you about “egg donations” and how women may benefit from donating their own eggs to an infertile couple or either receiving donated eggs. Many infertile couples conceive a child through the selfless act and generous gift of an egg donor. Egg donations can be obtained from an anonymous egg donor or from a known egg donor, including a sister, relative, or maybe even a close friend.
With the rapidly evolving field of infertility treatments, it is often a challenge for women to remain well informed of reproductive options. So, as many will ask me when discussing the topic of “egg donations,” how does this even work?
Mississippi Reproductive Medicine has an egg donor program. Once a potential egg donor is appropriately screened, she will be notified when a recipient couple is in need. The egg donor receives medications for 10-12 days, while being closely monitored, and then proceeds with an office-based procedure to retrieve eggs. A generous financial compensation is well deserved and shared with the egg donor once the donation is completed, as well.
Many of our egg donors are actually mothers themselves, who feel strongly about helping other women experience pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. Donating eggs can be done with little interference into the donor’s daily life. In fact, egg donors continue to work, go to school, care for their own families, and generally only take one day out of their normal routine for recovery on the day of the egg retrieval.
For the recipient couple, however, the experience is vastly different, including being appreciative and grateful for their egg donor to an extent that cannot adequately be expressed in words. If it were not for their egg donor, the couple would most likely never conceive or give birth to a child.
Whether on the giving or receiving end of an egg donation, the entire process is one of the most unique experiences to affect the lives of all families involved. Women who become egg donors show Godly love by selflessly giving to others. Hebrews 13:16 reads, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
I recently received the letter below from a new mother. I hope you read it with open hearts and open minds and share in her sincere sentiments.
“I knew if I wanted my dream of being a mommy to come true, using an egg donor was my best option. Please believe me when I tell you that in time you totally forget that these are not your biological eggs and you are just focused on getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. You are like, WOW, someone was nice enough and generous enough to donate their eggs to us so that we could have our dreams come true. My mindset truly changed from being against using an egg donor to being so extremely grateful that someone would do this for us. I get compliments all the time that my baby looks just like me. When you are pregnant with a healthy baby, no one knows that you have used a donor egg and no one has to know unless you tell them. Your mind and your heart are just so happy to be pregnant and to be carrying a healthy baby. We thank God every day for our child and for our egg donor.”
Dr. Marty B. Gebhart is a board-certified nurse practitioner that specializes in infertility management and treatments. If you are interested in becoming an egg donor or finding out more information regarding egg donation, please contact Mississippi Reproductive Medicine at clinic@ReproductiveMedMS.com or visit www.ReproductiveMedMS.com.