This post outlines treatment options for women who don’t have a partner but are considering starting or planning for their family’s future.
- IUI with donor sperm
- IVF with donor sperm to create embryos for future transfer.
- Egg freezing
Before delving into these options, it’s essential to highlight the importance of planning ahead for family building and fertility preservation.
Understanding Age and Fertility
Fertility inevitably declines with age. The decline in egg quality and subsequent fertility begins in the early 30s and becomes more pronounced after age 35. Beyond the age of 43, the live birth rate with autologous eggs drops below 5%, even with advanced fertility treatments like IVF.
It’s not uncommon for women to regret not knowing earlier about the age impact on fertility. By understanding the options available, proactive steps can be taken to address potential fertility concerns.
INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION (IUI) WITH DONOR SPERM
- It’s the least invasive and most affordable option.
- Donor sperm can be purchased from a sperm bank and is inserted into the uterus during ovulation. Ovulation may occur naturally or be induced with medications.
- The success rate per IUI cycle is approximately 15-20%, depending on age. It’s common to require multiple IUI cycles to achieve pregnancy.
- This option suits those ready to become single mothers by choice.
IVF WITH DONOR SPERM
- In the IVF process, multiple eggs are collected. These eggs are then inseminated with donor sperm to create embryos.
- These embryos can be genetically tested and frozen for future use.
- The pregnancy rate for chromosomally normal embryos transferred via IVF is 60 to 70%
- One significant advantage of IVF is the potential to create multiple embryos in a single cycle.
- It’s possible to utilize IVF with donor sperm at a younger age and transfer those embryos later, benefiting from the fertility rate of the younger age.
- One consideration with this option is the commitment to a sperm donor choice, which might be a point of reflection if considering a future partner.
- Suitable primarily for women under 35.
- It involves stimulating egg production in the ovaries, which is followed by an egg retrieval procedure.
- The number of eggs required for future use depends on the patient’s age at retrieval. For women under 34, ideally, 10-15 mature eggs should be frozen for a reasonable live birth expectation.
- The primary benefit is that it provides future options to use frozen eggs before considering donor eggs if fertility becomes an issue with advancing age.
- The main challenge is that many may be needed to ensure a live birth due to the natural attrition rate of eggs.
Multiple options are available for single women to explore, catering to those considering starting a family independently or safeguarding their fertility against age-related challenges.