QUESTION: My husband has two sister’s who both have offered to be egg donors for us. One is 28 and the other is 45. When it comes to things like Down Syndrome and other birth defects, is it the egg or the gestational surrogate that would determine the health of the child? Also if bipolar and depression run in the family – would that be something else we should be concerned about? Or would it be better to just seek out a egg donor to have a child?
Dr. Doyle: When it comes to choosing who will donate her eggs to you, of course there are many factors to consider. Many are personal, some are genetic, others are medical. From a medical perspective, there is no doubt that in general, younger women produce healthier eggs (and more of them) that are much more likely to lead to a healthy child. So in this instance, the option of using anyone who is over 40 as an egg donor would be extremely limiting, and I would focus more on the younger sister. I wouldn’t wait too long either, since in general, egg donors are seldom over 30.
The gestational carrier has no bearing on the baby’s genetics, but certainly her health and lifestyle will contribute greatly to the safety and well-being of the pregnancy in general. For example a carrier who smokes is much more likely to have a growth-retarded baby, or an obese carrier is more likely to develop diabetes or hypertension that could lead to preterm delivery and other complications. Unlike the donor, though, her age is less important, and many surrogates carry until they are 40.
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