IVF with egg donation: what are the chances of getting pregnant?

By (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (gynecologist), (embryologist), (embryologist), (gynecologist), (embryologist) and (biochemist).
Last Update: 10/13/2022

In vitro fertilization (IVF) with egg donation or oocyte donation is one of the assisted reproduction treatments with the best success rates. Thanks to it, many women manage to become mothers when it hadn’t been possible with their own eggs.

The high probability of success is because the eggs come from young, healthy women and are therefore of good quality. This makes it easier to get pregnant the first time round.

In this article, we are going to give information from the last statistical report published by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), which gathers all the results obtained by the Spanish assisted reproduction clinics in 2020 (National Registry of Activity 2020 - SEF Registry

Provided below is an index with the 8 points we are going to expand on in this article.

Reasons for IVF with egg donation

In 2020, 10,326 fresh egg reception cycles were performed in Spain with a total of 5,065 embryo transfers.

The main causes that led women to opt for this egg donation treatment in order to become mothers were the following:

Advanced maternal age
over the years, the number and quality of eggs decreases. After the age of 35, it is more common for eggs to begin to accumulate mutations, which compromises the viability of embryos or can even lead to repeated miscarriages.
Low ovarian reserve or no ovarian function
due to primary ovarian failure, premature ovarian failure, menopause or ovarian surgery.
Genetic mutations
in cases of hereditary genetic disease that can be transmitted to the offspring and that cannot be detected by preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Repeated IVF failures with own eggs
low response to ovarian stimulation, poor egg and/or embryo quality (as in the case of patients with endometriosis), fertilization and/or implantation failure or repeated miscarriages are the main reasons why pregnancy may not be achieved in IVF treatment.

In summary, either because of the absence of eggs or because of poor egg quality, when a woman cannot get pregnant with her own eggs, she can resort to egg donation treatment to achieve motherhood.

Percentage of success with egg donation

The success rates of IVF with donated eggs are very good, as shown by the data published by the SEF in the 2020 registry:

Pregnancy rate
57.5% (embryo transfer pregnancies).
Delivery rate
43.3% (embryo transfer deliveries).
Single birth rate
90.1% (single deliveries per total number of deliveries).
Twin delivery rate
9.8% (twin births per total number of births).
Miscarriage rate
18.9% (miscarriages per number of pregnancies).
Live newborn rate
47.4% (babies born by embryo transfer).

In addition, there were no major differences in pregnancy and delivery rates between women with different age ranges, i.e., between women younger than 35 years and women older than 40 years. Therefore, the age of the recipient woman is not an important factor in achieving success with oocyte donation.

When comparing these success rates with those of IVF with own eggs, it is possible to appreciate the enormous advantage of ovodonation in achieving pregnancy, since the pregnancy rate for transfer with own eggs was 34.8% and the delivery rate for transfer was only 25.2%.

This doesn´t mean that egg donation should be requested from the outset. Rather, each particular case should be carefully studied and individualized. After performing the fertility study and the corresponding tests, a diagnosis of the cause of infertility must be made in order to prescribe the most suitable treatment for the couple or woman seeking pregnancy.

Number of attempts required for success

One of the questions that most concerns egg donation patients is how many attempts will be necessary to achieve the long-awaited pregnancy.

The vast majority of these patients are people who have already undergone several IVF cycles and accumulated several failures, with the emotional and economic wear and tear that this entails.

Since the cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle is around 70%, it is very likely to achieve first-time success with ovodonation.

In addition, in case of failure to obtain a positive result in the first attempt, it is estimated that the probability of success reaches approximately 90% after three attempts of embryo transfer.

However, it should be noted that it is very difficult to determine the exact number of attempts that each patient will need, as many factors influence the treatment.

Implicating factors

The most important factor in virtually all IVF treatments is oocyte quality.

The main reason why egg donation has such high success rates is that the age of egg donors never exceeds 35 years, and it is stipulated by law in many countries.

In fact, in many centers, age is restricted a little more to ensure good results and the limit for candidates is 30 years old.

In addition to being young, medical and psychological tests are also carried out to verify that the donors do not have any known alterations that could affect their health and fertility.

In an interview, Dr. Federico Galera explained to us that success rates are higher when using donated eggs than eggs previously preserved by the woman because:

The average age of the donors is 23 years old. When you freeze oocytes from a donor, you are freezing oocytes with a very high fertility potential and at 23 years old nobody comes to preserve fertility, logically.

Other factors that influence the success of IVF with donor eggs include:

Number of embryos transferred
ovodonation can be shared (the recipient receives a limited number of eggs) or exclusive (all eggs retrieved from the donor are for the use of the recipient). Obviously, the greater the number of eggs, the greater the availability of embryos for transfer or freezing, and the higher the pregnancy rate per cycle.
Fresh or frozen cycle
donor eggs can come from a bank and be frozen or it is also possible to synchronize the donor with the recipient and make a fresh donation. Success rates are very similar, but are still slightly higher when performing a fresh cycle.
Semen quality
if the male has fertility problems or his sperm are aneuploidy carriers, the probability of success may also decrease.
Recipient uterus
it is necessary for the woman to have a receptive endometrium so that the embryo can implant after the transfer. In addition, other problems such as uterine malformations or alterations of the immune system can also affect the success of ovodonation.
Assisted reproduction clinic
finally, fertility centers may have different success rates depending on their working protocols, experience of gynecologists and embryologists, etc.

You can learn more about success rates and all the factors involved in a fertility treatment in the following article: An analysis of success rates in assisted reproduction treatments

Evolution of egg donation

The first pregnancy from an egg donation was achieved by Dr. Alan Trounson, but it was Dr. Lutjen who a year later, in 1984, achieved the first full-term pregnancy in a woman who had ovarian failure, i.e. her ovaries were not functioning. Without this technique she would not have been able to become a mother.

All assisted reproductive techniques are relatively young, but the most recent one to come into use is egg donation. It began timidly, occupying a small space within fertility centers, mainly because the moral implications of the process are difficult to accept.

However, with the passage of time, egg donation has become increasingly important. Its evolution has been so fast that today it has become one of the most used techniques in assisted reproduction, even at the same level of IVF or ICSI with own eggs.

IVF with donor eggs is probably the most confusing of all fertility treatments, and oftentimes, a misleading one. Transparency is one of our strict selection criteria when it comes to recommending fertility clinics to our readers. You can create your Fertility Report now to filter clinics based on our selection criteria and get an individual report based on your preferences with answers to your queries and most importantly, to prevent potential frauds.

The progress of society, new lifestyles and the incorporation of women to working life are the main reasons why motherhood has been displaced to the background. With egg donation, many women have succeeded in becoming mothers despite having passed the ideal moment marked by the biological clock.

FAQs from users

Does the age of the recipient woman influence the success rates of egg donation cycles?

By Elena Izquierdo Trechera M.D., M.Sc. (gynecologist).

The age of the recipient woman does influence the success rates of oocyte donation cycles since some studies have detected changes at the uterine level with age that may be responsible for the decrease in embryo implantation rates more markedly after age 45.

What is the difference between embryo donation and embryo adoption?

By Elisa Pérez Larrea M.D., M.Sc. (gynecologist).

Ovodonation consists of performing In Vitro Fertilization, using a donor's eggs together with the couple's sperm. It is also possible to perform this technique with donor sperm.

Embryo adoption consists of transferring existing embryos that have been donated by other patients for reproductive purposes. These embryos come from healthy patients, under 35 years of age, who have successfully undergone In Vitro Fertilization treatment and have fulfilled their genetic desire. In many cases they come from egg and/or sperm donors.

The main difference between Ovodonation and Embryo Adoption is the possibility of using the couple's sperm for fertilization, which is impossible in embryo adoption. In addition, all the embryos generated in a cycle after the fertilization of the eggs belong to the patient, and vitrified embryos may remain after the embryo transfer. The rest of the process, both in terms of treatment for the patient and success rates, are very similar for both procedures.

What is the success rate of ovodonation in terms of achieving a healthy baby at home?

By Agustín Ballesteros M.D. (gynecologist).

Egg donation is a high performance technique that allows pregnancy to be achieved in 60% of the cycles performed and reaches cumulative pregnancy rates of over 90% in only 3 attempts. Its performance is independent of the woman's age, which makes it a magnificent solution for all those women, whatever their age, who have failed conventional treatments. In fact, the only requirement a woman needs is to have a healthy uterus and to be in good health, so it is not advisable to perform it on women over 50 years of age.

Is ovodonation or embryo adoption better?

By Rut Gómez de Segura M.D. (gynecologist).

Ovodonation and embryo adoption are two very different treatments and it is up to the physician to guide the patient after an evaluation of his case. That is why it is not possible to speak of a "better or worse" treatment.

Pregnancy rates for egg donation are around 65-70% and pregnancy rates for egg donation are around 65-70%. On the other hand, embryo adoption or embryo donation has pregnancy rates of 50-55%.

Does using frozen eggs affect the success rate of IVF with donor eggs?

By Rebeca Reus BSc, MSc (embryologist).

The success rates achieved with frozen egg donation vary widely among centers. In some centers, the probability of success is not altered by using vitrified oocytes. However, in those centers where the vitrification technique is not optimized, it may be reduced.

Does ovodonation have a high pregnancy rate?

By Carolina González Arboleya M. D. (gynecologist).

ln general, the success rates of treatments with egg donation are quite high. The SEF reports success rates of approximately 70% or more, not only in positive pregnancy tests, but with pregancy confirmed by ultrasound and fetal hearbeat.

What are the chances of twins with donor eggs?

By Rebeca Reus BSc, MSc (embryologist).

The chances of twins with egg donation are higher than in normal IVF cycles using the woman's own eggs due to the young age of donors, which translates into very healthy oocytes. This is the reason why multiple embryo transfers are unadvisable.

On average, if more than one embryo is transferred, the likelihood of becoming pregnant with twins is about 40%, while the chances of carrying triplets or greater is roughly 4%.

What are the best success rates for donor-egg IVF abroad?

By Rebeca Reus BSc, MSc (embryologist).

Success rates vary by country, but also from clinic to clinic, so choosing a single destination as the best according to general statistical data is difficult. We recommend you to take a look at this map: Egg donation rates worldwide.

Additionally, our advice is that you choose the clinic that best fits your needs, in accordance with factors such as your particular fertility issue, budget, etc.

If you want to know how the ovodonation process works, step by step, we recommend reading the following article: What is IVF with egg donation and how much does treatment cost?

Alternatively, if you are interested in learning about the process for egg donors, you can access the following post: Egg donation: requirements, procedure and compensation

We make a great effort to provide you with the highest quality information.

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References

Bodri D, Colodron M, Vidal R, Galindo A, Durban M, Coll O. Prognostic factors in oocyte donation: an analysis through egg-sharing recipient pairs showing a discordant outcome. Fertil Steril. 2007 Dec;88(6):1548-53.

Braga DP, Setti AS, Figueira RC, Azevedo Mde C, Iaconelli A Jr, Lo Turco EG, Borges E Jr. Freeze-all, oocyte vitrification, or fresh embryo transfer? Lessons from an egg-sharing donation program. Fertil Steril. 2016 Sep 1;106(3):615-22.

Domingues TS, Aquino AP, Barros B, Mazetto R, Nicolielo M, Kimati CM, Devecchi T, Bonetti TCS, Serafini PC, Motta ELA. Egg donation of vitrified oocytes bank produces similar pregnancy rates by blastocyst transfer when compared to fresh cycle. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2017 Nov;34(11):1553-1557.

Kushnir VA, Gleicher N. Fresh versus cryopreserved oocyte donation. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2016 Dec;23(6):451-457.

Pereira N, Kligman I. Predictive factors for live birth in donor oocyte-recipient cycles. Fertil Steril. 2017 Aug;108(2):235.

Sociedad Española de Fertilidad. Registro Nacional de Actividad 2020-Registro SEF (View)

FAQs from users: 'Does the age of the recipient woman influence the success rates of egg donation cycles?', 'What is the difference between embryo donation and embryo adoption?', 'What is the success rate of ovodonation in terms of achieving a healthy baby at home?', 'Is ovodonation or embryo adoption better?', 'Does using frozen eggs affect the success rate of IVF with donor eggs?', 'What are the chances of Down syndrome with donor eggs?', 'Does ovodonation have a high pregnancy rate?', 'What are the chances of twins with donor eggs?' and 'What are the best success rates for donor-egg IVF abroad?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Agustín  Ballesteros
Agustín Ballesteros
M.D.
Gynecologist
Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Valencia in 1989. Specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics. Master in Human Reproduction by the University of Valencia in 1994. Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Valencia in 2001. Founder and director of IVI Murcia and IVI Barcelona. President of the SEF since 2014. More information about Agustín Ballesteros
Member number: 39193
 Carolina González Arboleya
Carolina González Arboleya
M. D.
Gynecologist
Dr. Carolina González has a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Currently, Dr. González is doing a Master in Assisted Reproduction by the Technological University TECH and another one in Aesthetic, regenerative and anti-aging medicine by the Complutense University of Madrid. More information about Carolina González Arboleya
Member number: 282875780
 Elena Izquierdo Trechera
Elena Izquierdo Trechera
M.D., M.Sc.
Gynecologist
Bachelor's Degree in Medicine by the Complutense University of Madrid. Specialist in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Master's Degree in Human Reproduction by the King Juan Carlos University and the IVI. Currently, she is the Medical Director of Clínica de Fertilidad Velázquez (Madrid, Spain). More information about Elena Izquierdo Trechera
License: 282866949
 Elisa Pérez Larrea
Elisa Pérez Larrea
M.D., M.Sc.
Gynecologist
Dr. Elisa Pérez Larrea is a graduate in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Zaragoza and a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the University of Oviedo. She also has a Master's degree in Human Reproduction from the Complutense University of Madrid. More information about Elisa Pérez Larrea
Licence number: 203311163
 Federico Galera Fernández
Federico Galera Fernández
M.D.
Gynecologist
Physician specialized in Obstetrics & Gynecology. More than 25 years of experience in the field of Reproductive Medicine as the director and founder of the clinic Instituto Madrileño de Fertilidad (IMF). Pioneer and specialist in the treatment of infertility and sterility through the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). More information about Federico Galera Fernández
License: 23196
 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Embryologist
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
 Rebeca Reus
Rebeca Reus
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Degree in Human Biology (Biochemistry) from the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Official Master's Degree in Clinical Analysis Laboratory from the UPF and Master’s Degree about the Theoretical Basis and Laboratory Procedures in Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). More information about Rebeca Reus
 Rut Gómez de Segura
Rut Gómez de Segura
M.D.
Gynecologist
Graduation in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital Costa del Sol in Marbella. Dr Rut Gómez de Segura currently works as medical director in the fertility center ProcreaTec in Madrid. More information about Rut Gómez de Segura
Licence number: 28/2908776
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Valencia (UPV). Biotechnology Degree from the National University of Ireland en Galway (NUIG) and embryologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI) More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV
Adapted into english by:
 Michelle Lorraine Embleton
Michelle Lorraine Embleton
B.Sc. Ph.D.
Biochemist
PhD in Biochemistry, University of Bristol, UK, specialising in DNA : protein intereactions. BSc honours degree in Molecular Biology, Univerisity of Bristol. Translation and editing of scientific and medical literature.
More information about Michelle Lorraine Embleton

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