Egg Donation and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the major causes of female infertility. Almost 40% of women suffer from polycystic ovaries (PCO) to some degree. Women with PCO may not have problems with conceiving, but due to their ovaries having fewer follicles they have more of a chance of getting stuck at a point of development before the actual production of an egg. This results in PCOS, and mainly happens due to a hormonal imbalance such as high levels of Luteinising Hormones (LH).

PCOS has several identifying symptoms. The most common symptoms are:

  • Irregular Periods
    Longer or shorter menstrual cycles are a sign of PCOS. If you have noticed infrequent periods in the last few months, you should check with your doctor to find out the reason. Prolonged menstruation along with heavy bleeding suggests PCOS in development.
  • Elevated androgen levels
    Elevated levels of androgen hormones in the body causes facial hair growth in women. Such women often suffer from acne, baldness, and androgenetic alopecia. Women suffering from these symptoms should consult their gynaecologist for PCOS.
  • Polycystic ovaries
    Enlarged polycystic ovaries filled with multiple small fluid-filled sacs around the eggs are another common symptom of PCOS.

Women suffering from PCOS often make use of egg donations for the purposes of childbirth. Supportive egg donors provide their eggs to women who dream to start a family with the help of IVF and surrogacy. These wonderful developments in medical science give the opportunity to couples with PCOS to become parents of their own child.

The service of egg donors is improved by the medications and treatments they receive. In order to get more healthy eggs, the egg donors go through hormonal medications that increase the quality of their eggs with the intention of receiving the maximum number of healthy eggs, in order to support parenthood in PCOS couples.

Why does PCOS occur?

We don’t really know why PCOS occurs but there are a number of theories. We know there are genetic links, but no specific genetic markers.

Some researchers in this field connect the occurrence of PCOS in women with genetics. The two-cell gonadotropin theory explains why PCOS occurs in a different way. Hyperinsulinemia also causes PCOS as this syndrome causes the body to produce a high amount of insulin, raising levels of male hormones and decreasing oestrogen levels.

Women mostly find out that they have this disorder in their teenage years, after puberty, as at this time they start tracking the regularities of their menstruation calendar. Doctors suggest that girls who have just reached puberty should maintain a calendar and report it to them, as this helps identify possibilities of PCOS or other syndromes at an early stage. However, minor menstrual irregularities are common, which is why PCOS sometimes remains unidentified and untreated from an early stage.

Women in their fertile years may experience multiple failed attempts at conception due to PCOS. IVF has a lot of potential for treatment in these cases of infertility, so many women choose to receive eggs from donors. Naturally hiring an egg donor increases the costs of IVF however, so many couples instead opt for the use of cryopreserved eggs. This technique stores healthy eggs in their best stage for use in the future. Many times we have met with couples who have objections in using cryopreserved eggs as they have notions of them being the unwanted, discarded eggs – ones that are lower in quality than the ones used immediately. However, we can provide the real reasons behind preservation.

Does PCOS reduce the quality of eggs and embryos?

Yes, women with PCOS who are undergoing IVF treatment usually produce a disproportionate number of lower-quality eggs, reducing the potential for fertilization. The embryos formed by fertilizing these eggs also have poor developmental potential. The eggs of PCOS women have intrinsic defects which are likely due to the production of an excessive local variant of androgen hormones and are aggravated by extreme ovarian hyperstimulation.

The first step for couples undergoing treatment for PCOS to become a parent is to find a reliable egg donor. Almost all fertility clinics have a database of egg donors that the couples can make use of, in cases where egg production has failed even after prolonged IVF treatments. However, couples may wish to cut short the treatment procedure by hiring an egg donor for themselves.  

Using egg donors for the purpose of fertilization

As fertility clinics, it is our responsibility to pre-screen the eggs donated by egg donors before preserving or using them. We vet the applications of egg donors extensively, as the dream to achieve parenthood is an important one and shouldn’t be taken lightly at any stage. The prospective egg donors go through a series of medical tests to gauge their fertility using minimally invasive procedures. Our donors do not smoke, are physically and mentally fit, and are in the ideal age range for childbearing.

We lay out all the pros, cons, and possibilities of egg donation for hopeful couples, and explain the reasons for their infertility if it is due to PCOS. However, there are many instances where couples suffer from unexplained infertility. We put forward all the benefits and challenges they are going to experience in the process of working with an egg donor and help support their commitment to the egg donation procedure.

There are several egg donation agencies that work hand-in-hand with IVF clinics and surrogacy centers. The intended parents get to choose from their database and interview the donors before hiring them. In cases where the couple opts for a cryopreserved egg, they are supplied with all the documents related to the donor and the quality of the eggs. The eggs that are preserved for future use are not of a lower quality – rather they are simply the extra eggs collected during the normal donation process that were not used at the time. These are stored to be utilized in the future to reduce the cost and time of the procedure. We understand the care that the intended parents deserve in this critical time of their lives, and support them with the best services that we can offer.