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Infertility After 40: What Are My Options?
Often, they’re part of a well-thought-out life plan, one that perhaps started to form when you were a child yourself.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always pan out the way we hoped or thought it would.
Whether you are just starting to think about starting a family or have received a negative diagnosis from your fertility doctor, the blow of infertility can throw your life, emotions, and dreams off course.
Where do you go from here? For many women over the age of 40, IVF treatment with donor eggs is the best possible option. But having considered natural fertility or traditional IVF for so long, you’ll have a lot of questions that need answering.
Below, we’ll take a look at what you can expect from the entire process.
Infertility After 40: What Are My Options?
A Guest Post by Mazhar Iqbal
Your Eggs, Your Age, and Your Fertility
While the majority of men will constantly produce sperm throughout their entire lives, a woman’s egg count starts to diminish as soon as they’re born. Therefore, even in their 20s, women are entering a period of slow decline with their fertility.
What about when you hit 40?
This process speeds up – rapidly.
According to studies, there is a 20% chance of a woman in her 30s getting pregnant each month. By 40, this has reduced to just 5%.
Add the higher rate of miscarriages into the mix, and it soon becomes clear that, for most 40-year-old women, pregnancy is often a game of chance.
That’s why you may be looking at the various different options available to you. With adoption and surrogacy lacking the heart-warming experiences of carrying and giving birth to your own baby, egg donors may be the glimmer of hope you’ve been looking for.
How Much Choice Do You Get When You’re Choosing a Donor?
When you first begin your search for an egg donor, you’ll have two primary options – choose someone you know (a close friend or family member) or go to a donor egg clinic.
At first, the former may seem the better option – you know this person, their family history, and will already have a connection with the child before they’re born.
But how can you be sure this process won’t create tensions, awkward dynamics, and uncomfortable conversations further down the line?
That’s why the majority of people will use a third-party clinic.
But won’t your baby feel like a stranger to you?
Granted, your baby won’t have a genetic connection to you, but they will to your partner if you use their sperm. Plus, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a say in your baby’s genes, potential traits, and possible characteristics.
Donor egg clinics don’t just pick an egg donor at random for you – they let you carefully select one from an incredibly informative database. From the color of their hair and eyes to their academic achievements and professional endeavors, you can choose someone that’s entirely in keeping with the physical and mental attributes you wish your child to have.
Choose someone that closely resembles yourself, or opt for someone whose qualities stand out from the crowd – the choice is yours and yours alone.
What Happens Next in the Egg Donor Process?
Before the physical transferral of their eggs to your uterus takes place, it’s imperative you and your donor are prepared for this process.
If you’re using fresh donor eggs, both of your menstrual cycles will need synchronizing, but if you’re using frozen donor eggs, the eggs are ready for implantation when you are. This is what often makes frozen eggs far more cost-effective, time-saving, and efficient than fresh, as there are no arduous journeys involved to and from your donor’s clinic and vice versa.
Having taken a number of fertility medications (primarily hormones) to prepare your uterus for implantation, up to 2 fertilized eggs are implanted. Two weeks later, you’ll return for a blood test and ultrasound which will confirm your pregnancy.
The Next Step in Your Fertility Journey
Despite how simple the process may seem, this doesn’t mean you won’t face a number of highs and lows – especially emotionally.
This is a huge undertaking for you and your partner, and you may struggle with the knowledge that you are using someone else’s eggs to create your perfect baby.
However, by working with a psychologist and understanding your emotions, you will take that huge step forward in your infertility journey.
As your baby starts to grow inside you and you feel their first kick, you’ll create an irrevocable bond with your child – one that genetics alone cannot form. When your baby is born, the rollercoaster journey you have been on is forgotten as you look forward to the future as a family