Can donating eggs affect my future fertility?
If you are considering donating some of your eggs to help another woman become a mom, it is very important to know is donating eggs will affect your future fertility! You must ensure that donating eggs will not negatively impact your future fertility, and that you will still be able to fall pregnant and have kids after your donation.
There are two important elements to this: the first is understanding why egg donation will not affect your future fertility, and the second is making your donation only at a registered and accredited medical fertility like Cape Fertility, which will also give you an great opportunity to have a thorough fertility check-up.
The first step to understanding why egg donation will not affect your future fertility is to appreciate a few facts about your eggs, and how they are produced and mostly discarded.
Women are born with approximately 2 million eggs, and the exact amount of eggs you have in each of your ovaries is already determined at birth. This number of eggs in your ovaries is called your ‘ovarian reserve’ or, as it is also commonly called, your ‘egg reserve’.
Understanding your ovaries and eggs
At birth, your ovaries already contain all the eggs you will have. However, as you grow older, your egg reserves decline – sometimes you lose them at a faster rate, and at other times at a slower rate. The number of eggs is reduced to around 200,000 by the time menstruation starts.
With each menstrual cycle, you are also continuously losing eggs. Each month, several eggs are recruited in the ovaries and begin to grow.
The number of eggs recruited varies dramatically between different women and the number of eggs recruited every month also declines with age. So, as a young, healthy woman, you might recruit as many as 20 eggs in a cycle. But by the time you reach 30 years of age, you might be recruiting just 15 eggs. At age 35, you might be recruiting as few as 7 or 8 eggs. When you’re 40, you might only be recruiting 1 or 2 eggs.
All these potential little eggs show up in follicles, which look like little black balloons full of fluid on the ovary. While all these eggs will start to grow, most of the eggs will not mature. Only the strongest egg will continue to grow to maturity.
An egg that grows to maturity is released (ovulated) during ovulation, while the other eggs die off in the ovaries. And unless this mature egg is fertilised, it is removed from your body as part of your monthly period.
Will I still have enough eggs if I donate?
Understanding that you’re born with a certain amount of eggs, and that this number of eggs diminishes as both as you age and during every single menstrual cycle, makes it easier to realise that you can still get pregnant after you donate eggs.
Egg donation does not affect your ability to get pregnant in the future. This is due to two reasons. The first is that the small number of eggs that can be donated will never deplete your egg reserve. The second is that you donate eggs that would otherwise be discarded by your body.
Many women ask if they will have enough eggs left after donating to have children in the future. The answer is yes. When their menstruation starts, most women have around 200,000 eggs. The 20 or so eggs retrieved during an egg donation are a tiny percentage of this number – 0.0001%. Even if you donate the maximum number of times allowed by law (the maximum number is six times) you will still have thousands of times more eggs than you need to get pregnant in future.
Even so, at Cape Fertility, we make absolutely certain that you have sufficient eggs to protect your future fertility and to ensure you have ample eggs to donate, by doing thorough medical checks before you can donate.
In addition, you only donate a few of the eggs that you don’t need and are not going to use, and that – if you did not donate them – would die off in your ovaries or be discarded as part of your monthly period.
Approximately 10 to 20 of these eggs that you would not have used but discarded are retrieved during your egg donation. Instead of being lost, these eggs are donated to another woman who is unable to produce healthy eggs from her own ovaries to conceive a child.
Is my future fertility safe if I donate?
Egg donation has been practised safely for three decades, and there is no proven evidence that donating your eggs affects your own long-term fertility.
At Cape Fertility, we have facilitated thousands of egg donations over the last 30 years. Our egg donors go on to have children of their own if and when they decide. Follow up studies have shown that the fertility of egg donors is not affected.
There are, however, medical risks associated with any medical procedure. When you meet you’re your fertility specialist, he/she will explain in more detail.
How to protect your future fertility
You can further ensure that your egg donation will not negatively impact your future fertility, and that you will still be able to fall pregnant and have kids after your donation, by insisting on donating eggs only at a world-class registered and accredited medical fertility that is also dedicated to your care and medical safety.
For example, before you donate with us at Cape Fertility, a detailed screening visit will be arranged to confirm that you are medically suitable to proceed.
This includes a blood test to assess the quality and quantity of your eggs, as well as testing for infectious disease markers. A fertility specialist will also perform an internal vaginal ultrasound, like those done during a gynaecological check-up.
The blood, physical exam and scan performed by your fertility specialist before you are cleared to donate will give you important information about your fertility status and state of health. You can also ask any additional questions when you meet with your fertility specialist and our psychologist.
Your care is our priority and attention to your medical safety is our primary concern when you donate eggs in the friendly, relaxed and caring environment at our advanced facilities in the beautiful city of Cape Town. Our highly-qualified fertility specialists are supported by a qualified team, including our Egg Donor Fairy God Mother, Linda, and her team, dedicated solely to taking the best care possible of our egg donors.
We are a registered and accredited medical fertility clinic and a leader in the legal and ethical egg donation requirements as set out by both the Department of Health and South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), and we want to make sure that you are fully informed about egg donation, and why donating with Cape Fertility and our premium Egg Donor Program is the best option.
To find out more, simply fill in your contact details here. Your information is 100% confidential and will under no circumstances be made available to anybody else.