The Importance Of The Egg

For some women, trying to get pregnant can be a physical and emotional rollercoaster. After trying for some time without success, women may be diagnosed with infertility. Although there are many causes of infertility, primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is a possible reason for conception difficulties. When egg supply is low, an egg donor may be necessary to have a baby.


Understanding primary ovarian insufficiency

Most women know that fertility declines with age. For some individuals, that decline happens much sooner. Primary ovarian insufficiency is a medical term for when a woman’s ovaries stop functioning normally before 40 years of age. Women with POI don’t make the right amount of estrogen and are less likely to release an egg each cycle, making pregnancy much more difficult. Symptoms of POI can include irregular or missed periods, hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, less sexual desire, and infertility.

POI risk factors

Primary ovarian sufficiency is rare before age 30, with most women developing the condition between ages 35 and 40. A family history of POI and past ovarian surgery are other risk factors for the condition. Certain autoimmune diseases like thyroiditis and metabolic disorders like galactosemia can also increase the risk of ovarian insufficiency. In some cases, the cause is unknown or solely attributed to a woman being born with a low number of follicles.

Getting pregnant with POI

Although spontaneous pregnancy is rare, approximately 5-10% of people with POI can conceive and give birth naturally. In most cases, treatment with estrogen or other fertility medications has not been shown to restore egg production or improve fertility. If pregnancy is desired, the best option for women with POI is to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs.

Moving forward with donor eggs

Using donor eggs can be a lifeline for women who do not produce any eggs due to POI. The fertility clinic can connect the patient with a reputable donor agency where the physical appearance, education, and medical history of the donor can be assessed. Once an egg donor is selected, the patient will move forward with IVF in hopes of getting pregnant.

Time for IVF

The donor egg will first be combined with the male partner’s sperm in the lab to create an embryo. Once the embryo has grown for a few days, a transfer will be scheduled. The embryo is then implanted into the uterus of the patient desiring to get pregnant. If successful, a happy, healthy baby will be born about 9 months later.

A baby is possible

When a woman imagines getting pregnant, the use of donor eggs is not typically part of the plan. However, for women with POI who do not produce eggs naturally, a donor is a necessity. With the power of IVF, donor eggs can be used to achieve a pregnancy.