Success and Outcomes

What is the science behind frozen donor eggs?

Fairfax EggBank uses the most advanced technology available, called vitrification, to freeze our donor eggs. In laymen’s terms, vitrification can be considered a “flash freeze” method. Until a few years ago, egg freezing wasn’t very common, but when it was attempted, it was done through a slow freeze technique.

The old fashioned, slow-freeze method had limited success because ice crystals would form within the egg and destroy its internal structure. By contrast, vitrification greatly minimizes the formation of ice crystals because the freezing is done so quickly and because of the use of special coating around the eggs called “cryoprotectants.”

In our close laboratory analysis, we observe that eggs that have been vitrified are virtually the same as freshly retrieved eggs. They appear very similar under the microscope, they fertilize at nearly the same rate as fresh eggs do and the resultant embryos grow and divide (progress) in the same manner.

What’s the difference between fresh and frozen donor eggs?

In a frozen donor egg cycle, the IVF cycle has already taken place, with the eggs retrieved and vitrified for use in your future treatment. Recipients using frozen donor eggs do not need to synchronize their treatment schedule with the egg donor, as is required in fresh egg donation cycles.

The major benefits of using frozen donor eggs are the convenience of being able to start based on your schedule alone, rather than having to sit on a waiting list or work around the egg donor’s menstrual cycle or availability. By contrast, the benefit to doing a fresh cycle would be the potential for more donor eggs. A typical cohort of frozen donor eggs from Fairfax EggBank consists of 6-8 eggs. It is possible that a fresh donor egg cycle could yield more than that. (It is also possible that a fresh cycle could yield less.) Fairfax EggBank does offer an embryo development guarantee for each purchased cohort – this is the promise that if at least one good embryo does not result despite meeting stated conditions, Fairfax EggBank will provide a free replacement cohort of another 6-8 eggs.

Fairfax EggBank recipients have the peace of mind of knowing that the eggs have already been retrieved and vitrified so any concerns about egg donor compliance, cycle cancellation and response to medications are no longer issues.

Cost is almost always less when using frozen donor eggs and it is also more predictable. This is true in part because many of the variables in a fresh cycle are not present in a frozen donor egg cycle. These variables include costs of egg donor medications and insurance, and the expense of making last-minute travel plans due to a donor’s response that could be faster or slower than predicted.

Learn more here.