Six years of fertility treatment. Are donor eggs my best option?

Dear Professor Winston,
Thank you so much for this opportunity to contact you. I am 39 and have been having fertility treatment for 6 years. I have had 2 early miscarriages from clomid induced ovulation cycles and 3 ivf failures all due to very poor embryo development. I am a poor responder to max dose stimulations but including dhea in last cycle I managed to produce 9 eggs and in that cycle I got my only blastocyst. I have been told by 2 clinics that donor eggs are the only option for me. My whole life has been on hold for last 6 years, forsaking holidays to pay for expensive ivf. The donor treatment is going to be around 10k and the odds of success are against us. Would you agree that donor eggs are my best option?

I just do not have enough information to to make your decision for you – I do not even know your baseline hormone results, nor your hormonal response when are stimulated. But you are capable of producing eggs – indeed you managed an embryo which developed beyond four days. So it is certainly quite possible that you might find it easiest to get pregnant not having any treatment at all – in my view, this is a serious option – as I suppose you could always go for donor eggs (if you are really sure you want to) in five to seven years time. As for IVF now it is obvious your chances are not good, but from what you have told me it is not at all clear why you are infertile. A great deal of evidence points to the fact that often ‘poor responders’ are best off not having drugs to stimulate their ovaries at all. Just be aware that you are at risk of putting your life on hold – there is nothing worse than becoming a ‘professional patient’.

Best wishes
Robert Winston