4 Myths About Frozen Donor Eggs Debunked

February 26, 2016
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For many, donor eggs represent hope. Today’s advanced egg freezing technology makes the use of donor eggs more convenient, effective, and affordable than ever.

As patients embark on the donor egg journey and conduct research to learn the difference between frozen and fresh donor eggs, they may encounter some myths or inaccurate statements. Read on to learn the truth behind four widespread myths when it comes to frozen donor eggs.

Myth: The use of frozen donor eggs is still not widespread

Truth: Let’s look at the numbers. In 2013 the number of frozen donor egg IVF cycles was reported in Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART)’s data report for the first time. According to the national data, 20% of all donor egg cycles used frozen eggs. One out of five women attempting to conceive with donor eggs chose frozen eggs—that’s a sizeable ratio. This percentage is anticipated to be much higher in 2014 and 2015, as more IVF clinics perform their own egg banking or use frozen donor egg banks at a rapidly increasing rate.

Myth: The technology for freezing donor eggs is still too new

Truth: The flash-freezing technique for eggs, begun in 2005, was deemed a standard treatment – no longer experimental – by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine in 2013. But reproductive endocrinologists have been using the technique for much longer: the first reported human pregnancy was in 1986 (reported by Dr. C. Chen in The Lancet, a respected medical journal), and the first reported human birth from a frozen egg was in 1999 (Kuleshova). And let’s not forget that sperm has been successfully frozen and used for conception since the 1950s. In short, freezing and thawing human oocytes (reproductive cells) is an accepted, mainstream treatment for infertility.

Myth: Patients get more eggs from a fresh donor cycle

Truth: It’s true that with a fresh donor egg cycle, there’s a chance that you’ll get more eggs based on how many are retrieved from your donor…but there’s no guarantee. Many of the eggs retrieved during a cycle may not be mature enough to use for fertilization. You even run the risk of getting no eggs if the donor is not compliant with the medication or the cycle is cancelled for any reason – and if you can imagine, that can be a highly stressful situation to experience if you’ve spent time and money finding a donor and syncing your cycle, only to realize you have to start the whole process over.

With a frozen egg donor at Fairfax EggBank, however, recipients receive a set number of mature eggs: a cohort of 6-8 eggs that have already been successfully retrieved and vitrified. So while it is possible to get more eggs from a fresh donor, it’s important to know that frozen eggs banks, including Fairfax EggBank, provide 100% assurance that the recipient will receive those mature eggs. Fairfax EggBank takes it one major step further beyond what typical agencies and egg banks provide by guaranteeing at least one good embryo. We provide recipients with another donor egg cohort of 6-8 eggs for free if the guarantee conditions aren’t met, giving them another opportunity to conceive.

Myth: The more recently the eggs are frozen, the better.

Truth: A common question that recipients ask us when looking at a particular donor is when that donor’s eggs were frozen. The assumption is that older eggs are more “stale” and don’t offer the same chances for success as more recently frozen eggs do. This myth hasn’t caught up with the amazing advances in freezing and thawing eggs. The older method of freezing eggs meant gradually freezing the eggs after retrieval. With this method, there was a higher risk that ice crystals could form and harm the egg’s viability upon thawing.

But today, frozen egg banks use the method of vitrification in which eggs are flash-frozen, thus preventing ice crystals. The truth is that at a reputable bank with constant controls and high-quality cryopreservation techniques, frozen eggs retain the same quality and structure no matter how much time passes. Fairfax EggBank is at a particular advantage, since we are the sister to Fairfax Cryobank, one of the largest sperm banks in the world that has been in operation for over 30+ years.

It’s natural to have worries or concerns when thinking about frozen donor eggs—it’s a major step on the road to building a family. But myths surrounding the use of frozen donor eggs don’t help anyone make a sound decision. At Fairfax EggBank, we believe in countering myths with information. Still have questions or concerns? Connect with us, we’d love to chat!

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