Assisted Reproduction

Women Increasingly Using Donor Eggs for Pregnancy

More than half resulting in live birth

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U.S. women are increasingly using donated eggs to get pregnant, with often good results, although the ideal outcome — a single baby born on time at a healthy weight — is still uncommon, a study found.

That ideal result occurred in about 1 out of 4 donor egg pregnancies in 2010, up from 19 percent a decade earlier, the study found.

Almost 56 percent resulted in a live birth in 2010, and though most of these were generally healthy babies, 37 percent were twins and many were born prematurely, at low birth weights. Less than 1 percent were triplets. Low birth weights are less than about 5½ pounds and babies born that small are at risk for complications including breathing problems, jaundice, feeding difficulties and eye problems.

For women who use in vitro fertilization and their own eggs, the live-birth rate varies by age and is highest — about 40 percent — among women younger than 35.

Women who use IVF with donor eggs are usually older and don't have viable eggs of their own. Because the donor eggs are from young, healthy women, they have a good chance of success, generally regardless of the recipient's age.

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