PCOS and Infertility: Decrease Stress and Increase Success with Frozen Donor Eggs

 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common conditions impacting fertility and affects 4-12% of women in the United States. PCOS is caused by the endocrine system both over- and under-producing a variety of hormones, specifically over-producing androgens, which play a role in your body’s ability to ovulate and conceive. A variety of treatment options are available, but using frozen donor eggs to overcome your PCOS can significantly decrease your stress and increase success during your fertility journey.

PCOS signs and symptoms

Women show signs and symptoms of PCOS from an early age but often aren’t aware of the condition. Unfortunately, this leaves women thinking their symptoms are normal for their bodies and without a diagnosis until they see a doctor after trying to conceive for months, if not years.

Common signs and symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Hirsutism, or increased hair growth in areas more common for males (face, back, etc.)
  • Acne
  • Overweight
  • Insulin resistance

If you experience these symptoms, please call your doctor or gynecologist to be evaluated.

Diagnosis

The most common diagnostic tools, aside from reviewing your symptoms and health history, include a blood draw to evaluate your hormone levels and a sonogram to evaluate your ovaries. Key features of PCOS include elevated androgen levels, such as testosterone, and a sonogram showing ovaries full of several small cysts/follicles. These small follicles continue to be produced but rarely achieve maturity for ovulation, leading to irregular ovulation or anovulation.

Options for treatment

Because your body is unable to ovulate regularly on its own with PCOS, the main goal of your PCOS treatment is to stimulate ovulation. Lifestyle and diet modifications, supplements, oral and/or injectable medication to promote follicular growth for ovulation or egg retrieval are all options you might be presented with to produce mature eggs. If these lifestyle changes or treatments prove unsuccessful, another fantastic option you should discuss with your doctor includes bypassing your ovaries altogether and using frozen donor eggs.

What are frozen donor eggs?

Thousands of women have donated their eggs to help others have children. Each donor undergoes a thorough screening process including a review of their own physical and mental health, as well as family medical history. Donors see fertility specialists for close monitoring as their ovaries are stimulated to produce many mature follicles for an egg retrieval. Once mature, the eggs are retrieved, cryopreserved, and safely stored until selected for use.

Why would I want to use frozen donor eggs and how does the process work?

When receiving treatment for PCOS, the goal is to stimulate a mature follicle for ovulation and conception. Unfortunately, each woman responds differently to the medications, and some don’t experience an adequate response to achieve ovulation. These cycles can be expensive, time consuming, anxiety-provoking, frustrating, and discouraging – and may have a very low chance of success depending on the individual. 

However, a vitally important piece of information you should know is just because your ovaries may not produce eggs as they should, your uterus should still be in prime condition to carry a baby. This is where frozen donor eggs can help. 

Thankfully, the option of using donor eggs allows you to become pregnant without the hurdle of needing to ovulate. By using a frozen donor egg bank such as Donor Egg Bank USA, you’ll be able to review donor profiles from all over the globe so you can select a donor who best matches your family’s desires. Once selected, you’ll work with your doctor to coordinate an embryo transfer cycle. This will involve prepping your uterine lining so it’s receptive to the embryo for implantation, and then pairing the donor eggs with sperm to create a healthy embryo(s). When your uterus and the embryo are ready, the embryo transfer will take place and then you’ll wait a short 1-2 weeks to find out if you’re pregnant.

The decision to use frozen donor eggs might come with excitement and relief or feelings of grief and loss. It’s important to discuss your feelings, questions, and concerns with your physician, partner and family, or perhaps a mental health professional if needed. Know your options, be your own advocate, and don’t go through this journey alone.

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