IVF is becoming increasingly common.
IVF is becoming increasingly common. rez-art

IVF, infertility and egg donations: What you need to know

FOR many couples in Australia, an embryo donation is the last hope of having a child. But still, many myths and misconceptions remain. Here is what you need to know about IVF, infertility and egg donations.

Infertility is common

Infertility is the inability of a couple to achieve conception after a year of unprotected intercourse, or the inability to carry pregnancies to a live birth.

One in six Australian couples experiences infertility.

Donor eggs need IVF

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is when an egg and sperm are joined outside the body, in a laboratory.

The fertilised egg grows in a protected environment for some days before being transferred into the woman's uterus, increasing the chance pregnancy will occur.

This can be done with the mother's own eggs. In the case of an egg donation, IVF is used to fertilise the donated egg before it is implanted in the recipient's uterus.

Many mothers who receive an egg donation will have also had many rounds of IVF themselves.

It's really expensive

Each cycle of IVF can cost a family up to about $10,000.

Age is a very big deal

The younger the egg, the better the chance of a successful pregnancy. That is the advice from IVF Australia Associate Professor Peter Illingworth.

Success rates for women in Australia are higher for those who use oversees donor clinics, where eggs are often younger. In Australia, the average age of a donor was 32.6 years in 2016.

Mums look to mates

In Australia, 90 per cent of egg donors are recruited by the recipient.

In 2016, six per cent of all IVF cycles came from egg donors. Five years earlier, the figure was almost zero.