Donor-egg pregnancies develop the same way a natural pregnancy does. Still, the symptoms women may feel can be slightly different due to the medications donor-egg recipients should take.
Even though getting pregnant with donor eggs on the first try may seem easy because high-quality eggs are used, the truth is donor-egg IVF can fail for various reasons, too. Having poor sperm quality or uterine problems may reduce the success rates of IVF with donor eggs.
The various sections of this article are assembled in the following table of contents.
Pregnancy symptoms after donor-egg IVF
Within 15 days approximately, a period known as two-week wait (2WW), hCG levels can be detected with a pregnancy test. By doing this, women can confirm that the lack of menstruation, the most common pregnancy symptom, is an early sign of pregnancy.
The blood levels of beta-hCG normally increase over time from embryo implantation until roughly the end of the third trimester. This increase in beta-hCG levels and other hormonal changes are responsible for the most common very early pregnancy symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent urination
- Heightened sense of smell
- Extreme hunger or loss of appetite
As pregnancy progresses, the woman’s body will go through several changes to adapt itself to the different phases of pregnancy. This leads to new symptoms, such as breast size changes, sore breasts, acne, stomach pain, gestational weight gain and body swelling, feeling of heaviness, etc.
It should be taken into account that these are the normal pregnancy symptoms of both normal pregnancies and donor-egg pregnancies. Each woman experiences pregnancy differently, and therefore not all of them may feel the same symptoms or with the same intensity.
When pregnancy is achieved through egg donation, it is common for women to have an advanced maternal age (over 35 years old). This may increase the number of symptoms she notices because it is more difficult for her body to bear hormonal changes.
Grieving process before accepting donor eggs
Deciding to use donor eggs to get pregnant means losing the genetic connection with the child. Going through the grieving process is not easy and may give rise to a number of doubts or psychological effects.
This is the reason why patients are recommended to undergo donor-egg IVF only if they understand the potential side effects and emotional issues of egg donation. Thinking twice before deciding to use donor eggs is crucial, and this can be done by seeking medical and/or psychological counsel.
Most fertility clinics have a department of psychology where a team of experienced psychologists can be of great help while grieving the loss of your genetics, as well as during and after the treatment.
The truth is, as pregnancy progresses and especially once the baby is born, the vast majority of fears of never bonding with the baby and regrets the intended parents could have had before deciding to use donor eggs do disappear.
After the birth of the donor-egg baby, intended parents comprehend parenthood is about educating and bringing up a child, rather than just having a genetic link.
FAQs from users
How can I calculate my due date after donor-egg IVF?
In general, when donor eggs have been used, pregnancy due date calculators work by adding two more weeks to the date of the embryo transfer. It allows us to copy the process followed in natural pregnancies, where we start counting from the first day of last menstrual period. In principle, embryo implantation occurs around 2-3 weeks before the last menstrual period.
What are a woman’s chances of getting pregnant with a donor egg?
One should keep in mind that the egg cells used have been donated by young, healthy egg donors, which makes them high-quality eggs. For this reason, the average success rates of donor-egg IVF are high. However, as stated earlier, it may depend on significant factors such as sperm quality, endometrial receptivity, the profile of the donor-egg recipient, etc.
For further information, we recommend that you read the following post: Pregnancy success rates with donor eggs.
How likely am I to get pregnant with twins from donor eggs?
This factor depends on the number of embryos to transfer. If two embryos are transferred, the chances of getting pregnant with twins increase. If, however, a single embryo transfer (SET) is done, it is highly unlikely that a multiple pregnancy occurs.
What is the cost of a donor-egg pregnancy?
The price of having a baby through egg donation depends on factors such as the number of attempts, the country where it is carried out, the need for additional techniques, etc. On average, the cost of a donor-egg IVF cycle in Europe ranges from €4,500 to 9,000. In the United States, although it varies by states, the minimum price is $30,000.
Many fertility clinics offer money back guarantee programs and discounts in repeat cycles. You can get an estimate cost for egg donation by filling out our form: Cost estimates for egg donation.
Does the donor-egg baby have genes from the birth mother?
Recent findings suggest that women using donor eggs still pass some traits of their DNA to the donor-egg baby. This phenomenon is called “epigenetics” and is defined as the study of enduring changes in gene activity while the fetus is in the womb.
Epigenetic alterations may influence and/or modify the activity levels of some genes. To sum up, there exists an epigenetic mechanism through which the mother’s genetic material appears to influence the embryo’s genes.