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Posted By YouMeMine on 03/10/2021

Transitioning to Egg Donor IVF: When Should You Make the Leap?

Transitioning to Egg Donor IVF: When Should You Make the Leap?

Moving onto egg donor IVF is a very personal decision. It may feel like an easy fit for some. Others may need time getting used to the idea. Ultimately, hopeful parents may determine that this option isn’t right for them. All of these paths are fine and appropriate.   

We wondered how reproductive endocrinologists help their patients through this challenging transition. To be honest, we also wondered if they have a sixth sense about timing, and if they share that with their patients. For an inside look, we turned to Dr. Marie Werner, of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey

YMM - When a patient first starts treatment, do you have an internal sixth sense or timeline about when she will need to do an egg donor cycle?

MW - Each patient’s fertility journey is so different, that I try to avoid placing labels on what may happen next.  However, I do think there is an internal sixth sense that reproductive endocrinologists have, based upon a combination of experience, and reviewing each patient’s response to prior treatment. This may lead us to recommend egg donation as the best next step.

YMM – What are the patient criteria that may lend itself to the need for egg donor? 

MW - This recommendation would be based upon a combination of factors, such as female partner age, ovarian reserve testing, and prior response to medicated cycles or outcomes with in vitro fertilization. 

YMM – At what point in treatment does egg donor IVF start to emerge as a concrete option?   

MW - The pathway to parenthood with the help of an egg donor is an individualized journey.  We start to consider an egg donor for patients that have failed two or three attempts at IVF, using their own eggs.  Depending on the clinical history, an egg donor may even be the best first step at creating a family.  

YMM - Do you help patients explore egg donor IVF while they’re doing IVF with their own eggs? If so, what is that like?   

MW - I do encourage patients to explore both options at the same time.  Many patients feel anxious about the length of time it takes for treatment, and if they pursue both strategies simultaneously, they have greater control over their pathway to parenthood. 

YMM – Once the decision is made, what is the treatment timeframe like?  

MW - For patients using an egg donor for conception, a three-month time frame is a good place to start.  In month one we focus on selecting the egg donor and deciding on the ultimate treatment plan.  This month can be the most unpredictable depending on the availability of egg donors. In month two we proceed with fertilizing eggs and creating embryos.  In month three we move forward with the embryo transfer and pregnancy test.  

YMM - How do you handle it if you feel that an egg donor is needed, but the patient isn’t ready to take that step? 

MW - I follow the patient’s lead. I present the patient with relevant clinical information, so they can make an educated decision about next steps. We review timelines and options with oocyte donation, but ultimately it’s up to the patient. When they are ready, we are. https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Marie D. Werner, M.D., HCLD is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and a high-complexity Clinical Laboratory Director at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMA NJ). She runs the egg donor program for this clinic. In addition, Dr. Werner has led two large randomized control trials investigating the optimal media formulation for embryo culture and the use of next-generation sequencing for pre-implantation genetic screening of embryos. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

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