Are Egg Donors Being Phased Out?

By Microrao (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

ere has been a new study released by researchers from Stanford University that provides hope for women who are battling infertility and want to carry their own baby. Sometimes, infertile women must resort to an egg donor, but these new results are cause for newfound optimism.

Approximately 6.7 million women in the United States suffer from infertility, with around 670,000 women trying to become pregnant but not able to do so, because of problems with their eggs.

Time magazine reports the following: “Most of these women, whose ovaries don’t produce the regular amounts of estrogen needed to nurture and develop healthy eggs every month, will enter menopause before they turn 40.”

However, the research team at Stanford University have come up with a new technique they think will boost a female’s chances of producing healthy, viable eggs.

What is Egg Donation?

Becoming an egg donor is not as simple as walking into a clinic. It involves a rigorous screening process that not every woman will pass. Egg donors are usually required to be between the ages of 18 and 32 years of age, physically healthy, have a body mass index of 19-29 and have normal monthly menstrual cycles. Additionally, she must not use drugs or smoke, have no family history of inheritable genetic disorders, be willing to take injections and pass a mental health evaluation.
If the requirements are met, she must still go through the process set up by the facility she wishes to donate to and it can also include filling out an extensive application and providing other medical information.

The Study Results

The process involves using in vitro activation or IVA, and scientists take an ovary or portion of ovarian tissue, treat it outside the woman’s body using proteins and other factors that would result in maturation. The recharged tissue is then implanted back into a woman’s ovaries.

The small study involving 27 volunteers, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Five women were able to produce viable eggs. One woman is currently pregnant, one has already given birth to a healthy infant and two women are waiting for an embryo transfer.

While the study hasn’t produced overwhelming results, doctors are quite optimistic that the follicles that didn’t develop properly will be helpful to women who used to have to rely on egg donors to become pregnant.


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