When is it time to use donor eggs?

Posted by & filed under Eggs.

If you’re over the age of 37, and your AMH is less than 2 pmol/L, your ovarian reserve will likely not support a reasonable attempt at IVF.

IVF demands a relatively high number of eggs to be made available to the lab. The ideal number is between twelve and twenty. If numbers are going to be significantly less than this, pregnancy rates will be significantly lower as well. With a very low ovarian reserve, some women will be encouraged to look to donor eggs.

In our practice, we do support trying once, even when ovarian reserve is low.

A report from Dr. Mark Trolice reminded us this summer of a 45 year-old woman with an unmeasurably low ovarian reserve who succeeded in IVF with her own eggs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17197285

Of course, this story must be met with caution: The very fact of it being published describes how remarkable an event it really was. On review of over 250 cycles for women between 45 and 49 years suggested that when there are only five eggs available at retrieval, there is a 3% chance for success.

If you’ve tried all reasonable options – including an IVF-type stimulation that is resulting in fewer than five eggs in the context of age and a low AMH – then you can know with confidence that you’ve done all you could. Perhaps donor eggs end up not being right choice for you, but it does mean that you can feel confident that you’ve tried all you can with your own.

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