Egg donor and surrogacy programs

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
The first test tube baby was born in 1978 by the process of in vitro fertilization. This pioneered the era of assisted reproductive technologies, which has helped many couples have healthy babies. However, routine in vitro fertilization can't help all couples. The older a woman is, the more likely she is to have a limited number of eggs or chromosomal arrangement of the eggs that becomes disrupted during cell division. Fortunately, there are many egg donors to help women who aren't producing enough eggs for in vitro fertilization. Egg donors are matched in much the same way sperm donors are matched for male infertility. This is a relatively common procedure. Each year approximately 4,000 (four thousand) couples rely on egg donors, and 80,000 (eighty thousand) couples use sperm donors. If the woman is unable to carry a baby because of a prior hysterectomy or an abnormal condition of the uterus, then a surrogate can be used. The woman's eggs and the husband's sperm are combined in the process of in vitro fertilization, and the resulting embryos are placed into another woman, who carries the baby to term. Many couples have used this technique to have a healthy baby.

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