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Before In Vitro fertilization (IVF) became popular, women who were over the age of 40 years or those who experience premature ovarian failure had no other options to get pregnant. A diminished ovarian reserve will prevent women from getting pregnant without external help. An IVF procedure with donor eggs helps a woman get pregnant even if she has very low quantity and quality of eggs.

Who Needs an Egg Donor?

Traditionally, egg donors were required by women who had premature ovarian failure. If they reached menopause before the age of 40, they would need an egg donor to get pregnant. A premature ovarian failure is not very common and affects about 1% of the female population. In this condition, the ovaries cease to function because the egg reserves of the woman are completely depleted.

Understanding what Premature Ovarian Failure is 

The Change

Howeverm, in the recent times, thought processes have changed and more women are choosing to have egg donors for their pregnancies. Women who are over the age of 40 may choose to have an egg donor to improve the quality of eggs used in IVF; this subsequently improves the quality of embryos formed.

Even when the ovarian function is intact in some women, the ovarian reserve is diminished and it would not be easy for doctors to harvest several eggs. Therefore, they have to rely on IVF procedure with donor eggs to become pregnant. As a woman ages, her eggs age too and they become unusable for the IVF procedure.

Are You an Appropriate Candidate for IVF with Egg Donor?

The IVF procedure with donor eggs is no different from traditional IVF; the only difference being that instead of you, the egg comes from a willing donor. If you have had several failed IVF treatment cycles, the doctor may suspect poor egg quality and recommend that you consider using donor eggs. You may also choose to have an egg donor if you suffer from genetic conditions such as sickle cell anemia, which may be passed on to your child.

Learn more about When and Why to Approach an Egg Donor

Should You Be Tested?

If you have unusable eggs, there is likelihood that your body may not be able to carry the pregnancy through, which may impact your health. Therefore, it is advised that you get a detailed medical evaluation to ensure that your body will be able to deal with the demands of a pregnancy.

If there are any abnormalities, your doctor will correct them before you can embark on the path to besoming a mother. Though the IVF procedure with donor eggs would require you to skip taking the fertility drugs, your body may still be unable to bear a pregnancy.


Using donor eggs is becoming common and the IVF procedure with donor eggs is not very different from traditional IVF treatment. However, it is important to ascertain whether you are a good candidate for the procedure, before embarking on the treatment.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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