Can I do IVF using my own eggs?
Unfortunately, fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are very unlikely to be successful in women with POI. As the numbers of remaining oocytes (eggs) are so low in POI, the ovaries do not usually respond to the medications given to stimulate the ovaries. This means than the chance of being able to harvest any mature eggs is extremely low. The chance of IVF with your own eggs working is usually less than 5% per cycle, around the same as the changes of conceiving naturally. The statistics are similar for the other fertility treatments such as ovulation induction or intrauterine insemination (IUI) and so none of these treatments are normally recommended.
What is egg donation?
The most commonly recommended option is egg donation. This is where donor eggs are fertilized (using either your partner’s sperm or donor sperm if you are single) to create embryos. You are given hormonal treatment to prepare the womb lining and the embryo or embryos are transferred into your womb at the correct time. The chance of egg donation working is much better than conventional IVF with success rates of 40-50% per cycle.
Many people feel concerned about using donor eggs, or that the baby may not be genetically related to them. It is important to remember that during pregnancy your body shapes the baby’s genes and helps create a baby that is unique to you and your partner (this process is called epigenetics).
Donor eggs can either come from someone you know such as a friend or relative (known donor) or from someone who donates their eggs altruistically (unknown donor). Egg donors donate anonymously but children conceived through egg donation have the right to find out the identity of the donor when they reach the age of 18.
The funding for egg donation is very variable depending on where you live but some areas fund egg donation treatment for women with POI. You should ask your GP or see a fertility specialist for further information to see funding is available for you.
What other options do I have?
Using donor eggs isn’t for everyone. Many people with POI consider adoption or fostering or alternatively choosing a positively childless life.
Join us for Daisy Day where Amanda Lewis will be talking about her experience of egg donation and Kelly Da Silva from thedovecote.org will be will be offering strategies and support for those facing involuntary childlessness to find a renewed life of passion and purpose.