In recent years it has become possible to select frozen donor eggs, versus choosing an egg donor to undergo a fresh egg donation cycle. Some parents are excited about the prospect of using frozen eggs due to the potential for cost and time savings, however it is important to understand the differences between the two options.
First, frozen embryos are considered quite strong or sturdy, whereas frozen eggs, prior to the sperm being introduced, are more fragile and typically do not survive the thaw at the same high rate as frozen embryos. Dr. Marut from the Fertility Centers of Illinois states, “It may take 15 or more frozen eggs to eventually result in one or two good quality embryos due to attrition as eggs are thawed, fertilized, and either transferred or frozen again.”
Additionally, with frozen eggs, parents only have the option to receive a “batch” or a “cohort” of approximately 6 eggs. Once the eggs are fertilized and then genetically tested, often times future parents only end up with maybe 1 or 2 healthy embryos which isn’t very reassuring, especially if the first embryo transfer is unsuccessful. It’s also not the best outcome for parents who hope to have more than one child as it might be difficult to achieve with the limited number of eggs retrieved from the chosen donor. A new article HERE from a recent study shares more information that may be helpful as you consider both options.
Given the much higher success rates of fresh donor cycles, we continue to advocate for fresh cycles at this time. If you want to explore both options, our search includes the ability to search both fresh and frozen egg donors, and we’d be happy to talk through both options with you in further details.
In fresh egg donor cycles, donors go through many tests that help to ensure a smooth process with potential for an excellent yield of eggs that lead to viable embryos. These tests include, and are not limited to psychological evaluations, genetic screening, infectious disease screening, in person screening for STDs, drugs, nicotine, fertility markers, resting follicle counts and more. While unfortunately there are few guarantees in the world of third-party reproduction, the number of gates your donor passes through increases your chances for viable embryos that can lead to a healthy pregnancy and birth.
On a personal note, I enlisted the help of an egg donor to help create my family. I chose a fresh egg donor in order to have the highest chance of success for obtaining multiple viable embryos as I knew I may want two children. The egg donor’s retrieval yielded approximately 40 eggs, which eventually became 6 viable embryos. When my first embryo transfer occurred, the remaining 4 embryos were frozen. I was told that they could likely remain viable for literally years and years. It was reassuring to know they were there, and that there was a good chance that one of them could become my second child. Sure enough, three years later, one of them did become my now 7-year-old sparkling daughter, Michelle. In a way, my two daughters are “conceptually twins,” having been conceived at the same time, although they are three years apart!
Please let us know if you would like to discuss the two choices in more detail.
The field of third party reproduction is an ever changing, evolving science. We keep up to date on research in order to best guide you forward on your path towards creating your family.
By: Cheryl Lister - Family Match Consulting Search Consultant and proud mother through the miracle of egg donation.