[Download Trisha’s entire blog series in PDF form here]
The following blog is the second part to Trisha H’s journey to motherhood. The words are all her own. Read Part I: The Beginning of My Fertility Journey and the Decision to Use Donor Eggs.
The Decision Journey Part II: Deliberating Fresh v. Frozen eggs
Fresh versus frozen… no longer a choice you only make when trying to decide which veggies to buy. Believe it or not, you have this choice when it comes to donor eggs. Another easy decision to make, right?
The truth is, it is not an easy decision for everyone, if at all. But hopefully, I can share enough of my story and details around the options that will help you in your decision-making.
First, let me say, initially I had no idea there was a frozen donor egg option. Actually, once we realized my eggs weren’t viable and having a baby naturally was probably never going to happen or, if it did, the struggle – emotionally and financially – would make it difficult to find happiness through the process, we thought adoption was the only or most likely option. I thought to myself “What does it really mean to use donor eggs? Where would we get the eggs? Do we ask a stranger? Do we ask someone we know? How do you do that and get them to still love you, knowing the process you are about to put them through with all of the medication, appointments, and procedures? ” I know that there are plenty of recipients out there who have fantastic outcomes using a known donor – but personally, I preferred going through a professional donor egg bank to find my egg donor, especially knowing that these donors would be thoroughly screened for medical and genetic conditions. Furthermore, I felt that this route made the legal and donor-recipient relationship guidelines a lot cleaner.
Okay, let’s get down to what you really want to know. We will start with fresh donor eggs. As I am sure you can imagine (and gathered through the previous blog), I was really excited when I learned my dream of carrying my own baby could still be a reality. A new kind of energy hit me – knowing I can still experience pregnancy with our very own child and shop around for the one who would give us the most special gift we could ever ask for, made life and the process of becoming a mom fun again. Over the next few weeks, I spent countless hours searching egg donor sites and combing through their databases of pictures and profiles. There were so many options; it was like being a kid in a candy store.
As I searched egg donor sites, I stumbled across the option for frozen donor eggs. My first thoughts were – what is the difference between fresh and frozen (besides the obvious), and how does the frozen donor egg process work? Again, whose eggs would I use? Without getting too deep, here is what I can tell you about the two separate options.
With the fresh option, there are more opportunities for you to hit some ‘thumbs down’ situations, many of which require you to wait longer than patience will sometimes allow (at least for me). Let’s be honest, after all of the waiting we have already been through, what is the last thing we want to do when we approach a new ‘promising’ process? That is right – WAIT! Without a doubt and no matter how you receive your eggs, fresh will take longer than frozen. Period. Why? There are several reasons, but for now I will name just a few.
- First, you have to find your egg donor match, and then you need to ensure that the match is available. This can take weeks, even months, and several candidates before you find the ‘perfect’ match.
- Also, while donors typically get some pre-screening tests done, it is only after they’re selected when they undergo the more thorough medical and genetic testing – so there’s the risk that you ‘perfect’ match may not work out if she doesn’t pass screening or an unfavorable medical/genetic condition manifests.
- If your fresh egg donor does pass the screening with flying colors then, like your own IVF cycle, she then has to prepare her body for the process, using medication over a period of a few weeks/months before she begins her monitoring and collection process. You’ll also need to coordinate your own cycle so that it synchronizes with hers, which can add additional time.
- You then need to cross your fingers that the donor complies with taking all her medications correctly and shows up to all her appointments. On top of that, you’ll have to pray that she’ll avoid any complications such as over-stimulation or premature ovulation, and that she’ll produce plenty of healthy, mature eggs.
In our ‘perfect’ world, all the steps above will just go according to plan though, right? There I go with the sarcasm, again.
Another thought to consider is the cost of a fresh egg donor; it’s about twice the price of using frozen donor eggs. Maybe this is because with a fresh cycle, a clinic would have to cover the costs for medication and appointments to synchronize the cycles of the recipient and donor, and compensate the donor for traveling and accommodations. I’m not sure, but whatever is the reason, all your ears will hear is Cha-ching! Cha-ching! Cha-ching!
Frozen donor eggs, on the other hand, are much more affordable, which takes away some of the stress. But what I really like about the frozen option is you can get started IMMEDIATELY because the eggs are already ready to go. Oh yes, you heard me correctly – IMMEDIATELY! If you find the donor eggs you want today, you can move through the process and get pregnant as early as your next cycle. Why? Because all of the work the fresh donor has to go through is already done. There is no screening of the donor, no stimulation, monitoring, or collection requirements… the eggs are already on ice waiting for you. All you need to do is search through the photos and profiles and make your selection. Yes, it is just that easy. And trust me, you have several wonderful options to choose from with the egg banks that actually offer this as an option like Fairfax EggBank.
So, do I have your attention yet? Stay tuned for my next blog on how I went about choosing my egg donor.
I like to talk a lot – not only vocally but with my fingers. Send me your thoughts and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to respond as promptly as possible. Below is a list of planned blog topics, but if you have additional topics to suggest, as they relate to trying to conceive through donor options, please let me know.
The decision journey Part I: The beginning of my fertility journey and the decision to use donor eggs
The decision journey Part II: Deliberating fresh v. frozen eggs
The decision journey Part III: Finding the right donor
Part IV: How the process worked once I found my donor, and the cradle-to-grave (or “big fat positive” [BFP]) process
Part V: Resources I used throughout the decision process
Part VI: Our future – What stories will we share with friends/family and our child(ren)