What is Third-Party Reproduction?
If you want to start a family, and you have a biological or personal reason that prevents you from conceiving on your own, our third-party reproduction services might be a good solution.
In most cases, third-party reproduction is just like the name suggests — more than two people are involved in starting a pregnancy. Women who don’t have a male partner also may decide to use a third party to have a baby.
The “third party” might be donor sperm, donor eggs, donor embryos or a gestational carrier. Our team assists patients with a variety of fertility treatment options using known or anonymous third-party donations.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Couples may choose donor sperm if the male partner has significant male factor infertility, meaning the man does not have enough sperm for insemination, or sperm can’t be retrieved for in vitro fertilization (IVF) for a variety of reasons.
It can also be used in cases where the man has a genetic condition he does not want to pass on to his child, or he has an infectious disease, such as HIV or hepatitis, that he does not want to risk transmitting to his female partner. It’s also very common for single women and female same-sex couples use donor sperm to conceive a child.
Donor eggs or embryos may be a good option for women who have experienced ovarian failure due to cancer treatments, or they have had their ovaries removed. Women who don’t want to pass on genetic diseases, or those who have diminished fertility due to their age or other condition may also choose donor eggs or embryos.
Gestational carriers are women who carry another couple’s embryo to term but do not donate their own eggs. This can make starting a family possible for women who were born without a uterus, who lost their uterus due to cancer or surgery, or who cannot carry a pregnancy themselves due to underlying medical issues. Because the relationship can be very sensitive and emotional, we recommend extensive legal and psychologic counseling for all parties involved.
How It Works
Egg donation: Eggs (oocytes) are obtained from a fertile woman and donated to a woman who is unable to produce eggs herself. The donor can be a friend, family member or anonymous. Eggs can be obtained frozen from a reputable an egg bank or from our center.
To retrieve oocytes, a donor undergoes ovulation stimulation, then the eggs are harvested during a simple outpatient procedure at our office. Next, the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the recipient’s partner. The resulting embryos are placed in the recipient’s uterus, usually through in vitro fertilization (IVF). By using an oocyte donor, an otherwise infertile woman can successfully carry a pregnancy.
Sperm donation: Sperm is purchased from a reputable sperm bank, and the donor is usually anonymous. Sperm is shipped to our office frozen, thawed and used for insemination, either during a woman’s natural ovulation cycle or an ovulation induction cycle. For more on donor sperm, click here to read our blog.
Embryo donation: Couples who have previously used IVF may have extra embryos stored in our laboratory. Sometimes, these couples decide that their families are complete and donate their remaining embryos so that another infertile couple can realize their dream of building a family. These donations are usually anonymous.
First, the recipient is given medication to grow her uterine lining, and the frozen embryos are thawed and transferred to the recipient’s uterus, usually through IVF. Success rates depend on the age of the female donor at the time the embryo was created. The younger the donor, the higher chance of success.
Gestational carrier: An egg and sperm are retrieved from a couple who wants to have a baby, and then fertilized in our lab. Or, a donated egg is fertilized by the male partner’s sperm. In some cases, donated sperm is used to fertilize a woman’s egg, or a donated embryo is used. In all cases, a fertilized embryo is placed in the carrier’s uterus to grow into a baby. A gestational carrier is not the same as a surrogate, who donates her own eggs for the pregnancy.
If you are unable to get pregnant on your own and would like to learn more about third-party options, contact us at (502) 897-2144 or email us.