Why Do Reproductive Conditions Sometimes Lead to Using an Egg Donor?

Fertility issues can stem from a number of causes in regard to female factor infertility. There can be underlying health conditions whose symptoms can cause issues with menstrual cycle regulation, hormonal fluctuations, and the environment of the uterus. All of these concerns can lead to difficulty conceiving and, in some more-severe cases, a need for an egg donor or at least some fertility care.

Please note that just because a woman has been diagnosed with a reproductive condition, such as endometroisis or PCOS), it does not mean that she will automatically need an egg donor or even struggle to conceive. Many women with PCOS and endometriosis have conceived without reproductive care and had healthy babies. We just want to elaborate on the impact such conditions can have on the female body and when an egg donor or fertility care is needed.

How do PCOS and endometriosis impact the female body?

PCOS symptoms can include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Abnormal hair growth and/or thinning
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Severe acne
  • Impaired ovarian function

Endometriosis symptoms can include:

  • Severely painful periods
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pain during bowel movements and/or urination

Because PCOS can impact a woman’s hormones and ovarian function and endometriosis can disrupt a period cycle and cause scar tissue to develop on the uterus, both conditions can potentially negatively affect fertility.

In fact, because both conditions are described by doctors as occasionally tricky to diagnose, many women only receive an accurate diagnosis for either when they struggle to conceive.

Will I need an egg donor if I have a reproductive condition?

Ultimately, your need for an egg donor will depend on the following:

  • Does your fertility specialist believe your inability to conceive is due to an issue with your eggs or an issue with another aspect of reproduction? For example, some women are able to conceive, but they may not be able to successfully carry a pregnancy or deliver a healthy baby due to a reproductive issue.
  • If the fertility issue is related to some aspect of ovarian function (eggs), can it be treated successfully with medications or a procedure such as IUI or IVF?
  • Are you able to carry a baby on your own or does an underlying health condition prevent this from occurring safely (for you and baby)?

These are questions a fertility specialist can answer once an accurate diagnosis has been ascertained. The key is to provide your doctor with a clear review of your symptoms from as far back as possible. Screening procedures may be needed to check hormone levels if PCOS is suspected or for scar tissue if endometriosis is suspected.

It is important to remember that while fertility issues can stem from these conditions, many treatment options are widely available to assist with managing symptoms and aiding in conception—even with the use of donor eggs.