If I donate my eggs, can I still get pregnant?
One of the questions we often get from potential egg donors is whether you can still get pregnant if you have donated eggs. The short answer is yes, but the long answer is far more interesting: find out in this article why you can still get pregnant even if you donate some of your eggs.
There are some important factors that you should consider when deciding whether to donate some of your eggs, such as whether you will still be able to get pregnant after a donation, and where to go for your egg donation.
At Cape Fertility, 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. We are a registered and accredited medical fertility clinic and a leader in the legal and ethical requirements as set out by both the Department of Health and South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG).
In this article, we answer your question: “If I donate my eggs, can I still get pregnant?”, firstly by helping you understand how your eggs are produced and discarded, and also how donating your eggs can actually empower you with knowledge about your own fertility.
Dr Lizle Oosthuizen, one of our highly qualified and impressively experienced fertility specialists at Cape Fertility, recently provided a few facts about the ovaries and the eggs that is useful in understanding your eggs in a video about Egg Freezing, which are shared below.
All about your eggs
Each woman is born with approximately 2 million eggs! The amount of eggs in each ovary has already been determined by the time you are born.
Your ovaries contain all the eggs that are ovulated during your life. The number of eggs in your ovaries is termed your ovarian reserve or your egg reserve, as it is also commonly referred to. As we grow older, our egg reserves decline. The number of eggs is reduced to approximately 200 000 when menstruation starts.
We are also continuously losing eggs as we age and go through our menstrual cycles. Sometimes we lose them at a faster rate, sometimes we lose them at a slower rate.
Every month an egg is released during ovulation and some eggs also die off in the ovaries. When you ovulate each month, unless an egg/s are fertilised, those eggs are removed from your body as part of your monthly period.
Although you might ovulate only one egg, several eggs are recruited each month with every menstrual cycle. This number varies dramatically between different women.
At the very beginning of your cycle every single month, many eggs are recruited. All the potential little eggs show up in follicles, which look like little black balloons full of fluid on the ovary. Most of the eggs will not mature, and only one of them will grow and ovulate.
The number of eggs that you recruit every month will also decline with age. So, for example, when you are younger, you might recruit 20 eggs in a cycle. These eggs will all start to grow, but the majority of those will die out. The strongest egg will continue to grow, and you will ovulate that egg.
When you’re 30, you might be recruiting 15 eggs. When you’re 35, you might be recruiting 7 or 8 eggs. When you’re 40, you might only be recruiting 1 or 2 eggs.
So, now we know where the eggs come from, that you’re born with a certain amount of eggs, that the number of eggs decrease as we age, and that they decrease at a different rate in different women.
Understanding this makes it easier for you to realise that if you donate your eggs, you can still get pregnant.
Can I still get pregnant if I donate my eggs?
During your egg donation, instead of the eggs which you don’t need being removed as part of your period, you can donate a few of these eggs to another woman, who is unable to produce healthy eggs from her own ovaries to conceive a child.
During your egg donation approximately 10 to 20 eggs are retrieved to be used by a woman in need of healthy eggs. These are eggs that you would not have used but discarded. Egg donation does not affect your ability to get pregnant.
Many women also ask if there will be enough eggs left after donating?
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. Even if you donate the maximum number of times allowed by law (six times) you will still have thousands of times more eggs than you need to get pregnant.
Even so, at Cape Fertility, we make absolutely certain that you have sufficient eggs to protect your own fertility and to ensure you have ample eggs to donate a few by making sure that certain medical checks are done before you can donate.
Before you donate with us at Cape Fertility, a detailed screening visit will be arranged to confirm that you are medically suitable to proceed.
These include a blood test to assess the quality and quantity of your eggs. Infectious disease markers are also tested simultaneously. Your fertility specialist will also perform an internal vaginal ultrasound, like those done during a gynaecological check-up. These medical checks actually empower you with information about your fertility status.
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.
You may also wonder if donating your eggs could have any long-term impact on your health or fertility. Donating your eggs also has no known impact on your fertility. 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 27 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.
Where will I donate?
If you have decided to donate, it is extremely important that you are certain that the clinic at which you donate is a world-class medical facility, and dedicated to your care and medical safety.
At Cape Fertility, we value each individual patient and pride ourselves on providing truly individualised and personalised care. Our highly-qualified fertility specialists at Cape Fertility are impressively experienced and supported by a qualified team, including our Egg Donor Fairy God Mother and her team, dedicated solely to taking the best care possible of our egg donors.
Your care is our priority and attention to your medical safety is our primary concern when you donate eggs in a friendly, relaxed and caring environment at our advanced, purpose-built facilities in the beautiful city of Cape Town.
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.