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27 December 2023

Nature or Nurture: The journey of IVF with Donor Eggs

1 in 6 couples have problems conceiving and upon seeking help, the treatment pathway is not always straightforward with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). For some patients their egg reserve and quality of their eggs is insufficient to have a pregnancy using their own eggs.

Today’s technological advancements allow donor eggs from a healthy young female to be fertilised and implanted as a frozen embryo, often resulting in a successful pregnancy. Motherhood through nature or nurture has evoked many interesting debates and there is well established evidence to support both routes. Hence, IVF with donor eggs provides a viable option for those facing challenges in conceiving.

As couples explore IVF with donor eggs, the process involves careful coordination with experienced fertility specialists and counsellors such as those at Harley Street Fertility Clinic, to ensure personalized care and support throughout the journey.


The altruistic motivations of a donor

There are many reasons behind donors wanting to donate their eggs. Exploring ways to make a positive impact, our egg donor Sevgi, a compassionate individual who regularly donates blood, sought additional avenues to contribute. With a profound maternal instinct but not yet in a position to have children herself, Sevgi recognized that there were women facing obstacles to motherhood. She empathetically stated, "There might be women who have everything in place, secure accommodation, career, finances, partner - all the things you need before deciding to have children. Giving them this gift felt like the right thing to do." Unlike Sevgi, Laurie was already a mother, and her decision to donate eggs came after her own battle with infertility. "Experiencing infertility made me empathetic towards others facing similar challenges," she explained. “I wanted to support people who are going through IVF, and donating eggs felt like being a light at the end of the tunnel," Laurie said, shedding light on the emotional rollercoaster many couples face during fertility treatments.


Choosing the right donor

The decision to pursue IVF with donor eggs is often rooted in a desire for a biological connection to the child while overcoming specific fertility challenges.

 The perennial debate of nature versus nurture explores the fundamental question of how genetics and environmental factors shape an individual's personality, development, and various aspects of life. According to this article "nature" is represented by genetics, including hereditary factors impacting personality formation, while "nurture" involves environmental elements such as early childhood experiences, upbringing, social relationships, and cultural surroundings.

Egg donation highlights the complex connection between behavioural and physiological traits in offspring conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs. Recent studies have delved into the multifaceted nature of this relationship, emphasizing that, while genetic factors play a role in shaping certain traits, environmental influences and upbringing significantly contribute to a child's behavioural characteristics. As advancements in reproductive technologies continue, understanding the intricate dynamics between genetics and the environment becomes crucial in understanding the holistic development of children born through assisted reproductive methods.



The IVF process

In the context of IVF with donor eggs, when the intended mother faces difficulties with egg production or quality, using donor eggs and the father's sperm makes sure nature and nurture are combined. The process typically begins with the selection of a suitable egg donor based on desired criteria such as age, ethnicity, genetic background, and other relevant factors. The donor undergoes ovarian stimulation to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved during a minor surgical procedure. Simultaneously, the intended father provides a sperm sample. In the laboratory, eggs and sperm are combined to facilitate fertilization, and resulting embryos are cultured for a few days. Subsequently, one or more viable embryos are selected for transfer into the uterus of the intended mother or a gestational carrier. This intricate process offers a viable option for couples experiencing challenges related to female fertility, allowing them to achieve parenthood with the genetic contribution of the intended father.


But let’s hear from the parents who took this path…..


Magda’s journey

Magda’s fertility journey took an unexpected turn when an initial attempt resulted in no viable eggs for transfer. Magda and her partner chose the path of egg donation, guided by the compassionate support of Dharshi, Harley Street Fertility Clinic's dedicated egg donor coordinator. Opting for the clinic's own egg bank, Magda's journey embodies courage and adaptability, resulting in the joyous presence of her baby daughter, Tiger Leia. Her story reflects the resilience of the human spirit and the possibilities that arise when navigating the intricate world of assisted reproduction. “It’s not the genetics, but love that makes a family,” reflected Magda.

Magda's pregnancy was announced over the phone by nurse Linda, and below is the touching moment Magda was told the happy news.


Jasmin and Patrick’s experience

Jasmin and Patrick faced their own set of challenges in the pursuit of parenthood. Although very young, Jasmin's fertility tests revealed pre-menopausal indicators, prompting an open discussion with Dr. Venkat about the slim chances of conceiving with her own eggs. Opting for IVF with an egg donor, their journey led to a harmonious match with a Latina donor, perfectly aligning with their diverse backgrounds. The arrival of baby Harley, named in the honour of the clinic, became a living testament to the delicate dance between nature and nurture.

Below is a short snippet of Jasmin, baby Harley's mum, wishing Harley Street Fertility Clinic a Happy 10th anniversary - and, yes, baby Harley's cooing can be heard in the background.



Magda and Jasmin and Patrick's stories illuminate the resilience, hope, and joy that characterize the diverse and transformative landscape of assisted reproduction.

In concluding the story of IVF with donor eggs, these inspiring narratives of resilience and hope, embodied by individuals like Magda and couples like Jasmin and Patrick, emphasize that the heart of family creation extends far beyond genetic ties. Ultimately, what truly matters is the boundless love that defines a family, regardless of the method by which it is formed.


To reply our webinar highlighting IVF with donor eggs, please click below.