Infertility Facts for You – What to Know After 1 Year Without a Baby

Couples planning to become parents don’t usually consider how infertility may play a role in their future, yet 1 out of every 8 couples in the U.S. alone are affected by infertility. If you and your partner are under 35 and actively trying to get pregnant for over a year with no success, it’s time for an evaluation.

If you’ve received an infertility diagnosis, the good news is there are options to help you conceive, one of which includes using egg donors through

Types of Infertility

Women who have never been pregnant, or those who have gone through multiple miscarriages, are classified as having primary infertility. In contrast, when a woman has already carried a pregnancy to term, but is unable to bear a child again after a year of trying, she is said to have secondary infertility.

Overall, about 6.7% of women aged 15-44 are infertile, and about 7.3 million women have used infertility services like in vitro fertilization.

The Infertility workup

When unable to conceive for one year, your doctor will likely conduct a series of tests before the diagnosis of infertility is officially made. These tests include your partner’s semen analysis, blood tests, and a sonogram of your uterus to rule out structural abnormalities.

Semen analysis — Semen is collected after two to seven days of sexual abstinence and submitted to the laboratory within one hour of collection.

Assessment of ovulatory function – This assessment is often performed in women with irregular cycles to check ovarian function. Ovulation is first determined by a progesterone level obtained on day 21 of a 28-day cycle, or one week before a menstrual period.

A progesterone level < 3 ng/mL is an indicator for anovulation, or when ovaries don’t release an oocyte during ovulation. With this level, the rest of the work-up will include more blood tests checking other hormones like serum prolactin, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone.

Structural abnormalitiesThe cause may be structural in nature. Uterine or cervical abnormalities like polyps, the shape of the uterus, or fibroids can interfere with the implantation of the fertilized egg.

Choosing IVF and Finding a Donor

It’s normal to have negative emotions, such as anger or sorrow, when natural conception is not an option. These days, however, infertility is no longer a permanent obstacle, as there are other ways to fulfill your dream of having a child.

Once ready, the best way to embrace choosing a potential donor is with an open mind. Know that donors undergo a battery of testing during the screening process, and you can obtain their detailed profile outlining physical demographics, family history, and even interests, hobbies, and occupations.

The Difference Between Fresh and Frozen Eggs

Frozen eggs are often more affordable, at approximately half the price of fresh donor eggs. With ever-advancing IVF technology, their success rate is rising.

While fresh eggs have the same success rates as frozen donor eggs, they are much more costly and require coordination with the donor. Synchronization requires that the timing of the donor’s ovulation correspond with the recipient’s menstrual cycle. This means you will need to undergo hormone therapy to coordinate cycles with your donor for the egg to be implanted in your uterus.

How Donor Ovarian Stimulation and Egg Retrieval Works

Understand that donors undergo a rigorous screening process before donating.

After initial blood tests and an ultrasound, your donor will take oral contraceptives to stimulate ovarian suppression for two to four weeks. Lupron, a daily injection to complete pre-stimulation ovarian suppression, is then begun two weeks before full ovarian stimulation.

While Lupron is continued through the initial ovarian stimulation at a lower dose, full ovarian stimulation starts with other injectable fertility medications.

Beginning on day 5, daily office visits ensue and continue until follicle aspiration. These are necessary, as the daily hormone medications taken or injected by the donor will likely vary with the results of blood tests obtained from these visits.  

Ovulation is then triggered with an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) when the follicles are mature, usually 8-12 days after the daily injections and office visits. Follicle aspiration is performed 36 hours after HCG injections.

No Longer a Terminal Diagnosis

Thanks to the evolution of IVF technology today, when a woman faces an infertility diagnosis, her options are broader than ever. Moreover, if you can’t get pregnant using your own eggs, there is the opportunity of going through the experience of pregnancy with the help of donor eggs. The face of pregnancy and the child bearing process has changed tremendously over the past few decades.


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