A large component of the female partner’s contribution to a couple’s fertility relates to her egg quality. Other issues, such as her general health, lifestyle factors, and the presence or otherwise of endometriosis are important, but one of the most difficult problems to improve is poor egg quality, or when the number of eggs collected are low, despite maximal doses of drugs.
There are a range of treatments which have been tried to improve egg quality or number of eggs obtained, but virtually none have been shown, in proper trials, to be effective. This is not to say that a particular, novel treatment MAY be helpful in certain individuals, but, it is more likely that a good outcome, when followed by an unproven intervention, was going to happen anyway. Many women, and couples are faced with the harsh reality of poor egg quality or low egg numbers during fertility treatment.
There are two ways of looking at this problem; the first is how to treat the problem, and secondly, how to prevent it happening in the first place.
For many women with poor egg quality and an experience of unsuccessful IVF with their own eggs, utilizing donor eggs can improve the chances of conceiving from somewhere around 1-3% to 25% or more. This represents an 800% to 1200% increase in success rates!
Most egg donors are friends or relatives of the recipient, but a number of women needing egg donation find it difficult to access a donor. This tends to be due to a person’s friends often being of similar age, and not everyone has a younger sister who is able to help out.
Some women approach Ballarat IVF to donate eggs, and they are allocated to a recipient on the waiting list. Because very few women decide to donate eggs, the waiting list at Ballarat IVF is considerable.
The best method of preventing poor egg quality is for a woman to look after her health in her earlier years of life. Maintaining a healthy diet, controlling her BMI, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are important contributors.
A number of women are now storing embryos, (if they have a long term partner), or oocytes if they, or their partner do not wish to commit to forming embryos together.
The success rates for conception from the use of donor eggs are continually improving.
Eggs can stay frozen, for a very long period of time, and the success rates for conception relate to the age of the woman when they were frozen, not the age at which they are being used. Storing oocytes provides a realistic method of preserving fertility for women who are not yet ready to have a baby, and is a good way to reduce the risk of having poor oocyte quality in the future.
If you are interested in storing eggs, donating eggs for another woman, or simply would like more information, please contact the fertility nurses at Ballarat IVF by calling 03 5339 8200 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org