eggA growing trend in in vitro fertilization (IVF) for women over 40 is the use of a donor egg from a younger woman. A good option for couples that are struggling to get pregnant because of an inadequate ovarian reserve, use of donor eggs has a higher chance of success for these couples on their next IVF cycle.

What Is an Egg Donor?

Egg donors are women who give their eggs to another woman who cannot conceive using her own eggs. The egg is then fertilized with the father’s sperm, and the resulting embryos are implanted in the birth mother with hopes they will thrive in a healthy pregnancy.

Most Egg Donors are located through an egg donation agency. The egg donor herself is typically between the ages of 20 to 35. In addition, egg donors are screened before they are approved as donors. These screenings include a physical and family history screen as well as a mental health exam. Once the donor passes these screens, she is included in the egg donation agency’s profiles for couples needing an egg donor to review. For more information on egg donors, please click here.

Donor Eggs Are Not for Everyone

Donor eggs are not necessary for everyone. In fact, most women under the age of 35 are able to conceive with their own eggs when using an assisted reproductive technology like IVF.

But the use of egg donors is growing in popularity, particularly with women of advanced maternal age. According to, the use of egg donors in 2005 was 12 percent for people in infertility treatments with assisted reproductive technologies. It is likely that the percentage has increased in the past decade as well.

Typically the best candidates for donor eggs are women who have a diminished or poor quality ovarian reserve due to age, early onset menopause or premature ovarian failure. Also, women who do not respond well to fertility drugs, have a failed history with IVF cycles and those who have a history of genetically transmitted diseases may choose to use a donor egg. In some cases, women who were treated with chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer use a donor egg due to damage caused by their treatment.

It is important to note that the use of an egg donor has some specific legal implications in regards to parental rights. Be sure to have the proper legal documentation prepared by an expert to make sure that there will be no problems down the road as a result of your use of an egg donor.

Egg donors can be the difference between a successful IVF cycle and an unsuccessful one for many couples. While egg donation isn’t the best option for everyone who is going through IVF, many couples have gone on to conceive successfully and achieve healthy pregnancies as a result of their use. For these families, the egg donor was the difference they needed to make their dreams of family come true.

“Donor Eggs in Fertility Treatments.” Web. 6 May 2014. <>

Trimarchi, Maria. “Egg Donation Overview.” Web. 6 May 2014. < >