An Honest View: When Are Fresh or Frozen Donor Eggs the Best Choice?
When you’re considering using fresh vs. frozen donor eggs to reach your long-cherished dream of pregnancy, it’s a major step in your journey. You’re probably doing a lot of research and homework on egg donors and the process of donor egg IVF. The biggest decision many of our recipients struggle with is whether to try a cycle using fresh donor eggs, or frozen donor eggs from an egg bank. What’s the best option for your particular situation? By taking an honest look at your priorities, you can make a choice that’s best for you.
Fresh Donor Eggs and Future Children
In a fresh donor egg IVF cycle, donor eggs are retrieved and immediately fertilized with the male partner’s sperm, with the resulting fresh embryos transferred to the recipient. Remaining embryos can be frozen for future frozen embryo transfer procedures. In other words, for future children and future siblings for your family.
If it’s critical for you to have these multiple frozen embryos, a fresh donor cycle might be the best way to go. Why? It’s a simple numbers game. Recent research indicates that fresh eggs are more efficient at generating viable embryos. While egg retrieval from live donors can be inconsistent and can involve a long waiting period, there is a potential for a greater number of eggs to be retrieved per cycle, and thus a greater possible number of embryos. Frozen donor eggs are usually provided in consistent but smaller cohorts (batches of eggs). Though frozen donor eggs are as likely to result in a successful pregnancy, it might not result in as many embryos for the recipient to use for future IVF cycles because of the smaller batch of donor eggs.
The Waiting Game
As we’ve discussed before, one of the big disadvantages of working with fresh donor eggs is the wait. The donor’s menstrual cycle needs to be synchronized with the recipient’s, which could be a fairly time-consuming process. And then, once the process starts, there’s no guarantee that the donor will produce the number of eggs needed for success. There is an element of high risk involved.
Many patients who choose donor eggs are often coming to this decision as the last viable option for a successful pregnancy, sometimes after years of other unsuccessful infertility treatments. Sometimes, at this stage, patients simply don’t want to go through another lengthy process. Frozen donor eggs, since they’ve already been retrieved from highly screened egg donors, are ready to be shipped, thawed, and used on your schedule alone, when you’re ready. For emotional and financial reasons, frozen eggs represent a better choice if you’re not up for a protracted cycle.
An Affordable Option
Finally, the cost of donor eggs is no small investment. Frozen donor eggs are a more affordable option for IVF treatment with donor eggs compared to fresh donor eggs. One reason frozen is more affordable is that recipients don’t pay for the egg donor’s travel expenses. Also, there are simply more variables at play when using fresh donor eggs. Unforeseen circumstances might pop up in the egg donor’s life—life has a tendency to get in to get in the way of the best thought out plans. Even if everything goes according to your plan, there’s no guarantee on the number of donor eggs retrieved. This is also a major risk in shared donor egg programs, there is no guarantee as to how many eggs will be shared and you need to wait for 1 or 2 other people to share the egg donor with you.
Frozen donor eggs represent less risk for the cost. You receive a set, guaranteed number of donor eggs from the egg donor you choose. Many frozen egg banks offer other guarantees; at Fairfax EggBank, we offer a frozen donor egg guarantee of least one good embryo from your purchased cohorts of donor eggs with the security of a replacement cohort if the first’s quality standard is not met. Thanks to egg freezing, IVF with donor eggs is within closer reach for families who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
As you make the difficult choice to use an egg donor, you deserve honest information about the choices available to you. At Fairfax EggBank, it’s important to us that you make an informed decision that’s right for your circumstances. Contact us if you have any questions about frozen donor eggs or choosing a frozen egg donor.