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Why is use of donor eggs not viewed as treatment failure? A call for improvements in treatments with autologous oocytes


Based on national registry reports, after age 42, the number of IVF cycles utilizing autologous oocytes is very small; after age 43, autologous oocyte use in US IVF cycles is almost non-existent. We here argue that the in vitro fertilization (IVF) field has created a self-fulfilling prophecy by basically abandoning the utilization of autologous oocytes after ages 42-43 years. This not only resulted in almost no IVF cycles with autologous oocytes being performed but also in abandonment of research that could lead to improvements in IVF outcomes in older women when using autologous oocytes. As a consequence, IVF has largely stagnated in this area. We further argue that third-party oocyte donation in clinical IVF should be considered a treatment failure, as it requires patients to choose a second rather than a first-choice treatment. Such a redesignation of third-party egg donation would not only be appropriate but could lead to necessary changes in physician attitudes, considering that women almost exclusively prefer to conceive with their autologous oocytes.

Published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

Citation Page #: 2020; 37(7):1583-1588.

Journal: Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

Author Publication: Gleicher, N, Barad, DH, Adashi, EY.

Publication Link:

Date: 2020


Norbert Gleicher, MD

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.

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