It has become the societal norm for women in the United States to delay motherhood. This may be due to advancing careers, economic reasons, or simply it is their choice. However, are there consequences for doing so? The biological fact is the quality of the remaining eggs in a woman’s ovaries begins to diminish in her 30s and rapidly begins to diminish in her 40s. This accounts for the significant rise in the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and an increased expense associated with the purchase of donor eggs.
Impaired fecundity (the inability to bear a child) affects 6.7 million women in the U.S.—about 11% of the reproductive-age population.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, women are less likely to become pregnant and more likely to miscarry because of the decrease in egg quality. These changes become more apparent as she reaches her mid-to-late 30s. An important change in egg quality is the frequency of genetic abnormalities called aneuploidy (too many or too few chromosomes in the egg). This means that if fertilization occurs, the embryo also will have too many or too few chromosomes. This leads to frequent miscarriage, along with genetic-linked conditions like Downs syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndrome to name a few.
Is the solution to create embryos using donor eggs? That may be one solution, but it is not the only solution. Embryo adoption may be another choice many women are not aware of and they may not learn about it from their medical professional either. You can receive donor embryos through an adoption agency, a clinic donation program, or though self-matching!
To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.