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Fertility, IVF and Egg Donation

Frozen donor egg banks – should we use frozen or fresh donor eggs to do egg donation?

by on Jul.31, 2011, under Age and Fertility, Donor Eggs, Egg Banking, Egg Donation, Egg Donation Cost, Egg Freezing, IVF Clinic Success Rates, Oocyte Cryopreservation

Egg donation has been utilized to help infertile couples since the early 1980s. Donor egg IVF utilization has continued increasing as more couples delay childbearing until their late 30s and 40s. In the United States in 2009 there were over 15,000 cycles using fresh donor eggs reported to SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies) from their member clinics. Links to the SART and CDC IVF and donor egg success rate reports

Until the last few years all donor eggs cycles were done with fresh eggs retrieved and fertilized the same day with the male partner’s sperm. Over the years egg donation using fresh eggs has become highly successful at some fertility clinics in the US.

Live birth rates with fresh donor eggs are over 70% per fresh transfer procedure at the best egg donation clinics. Success rates at these same donor egg programs using fresh eggs are over 50% for live birth per transfer using a single embryo for transfer. This approach almost totally eliminates the risk for multiple pregnancy.

Our donor egg live birth success rates

In recent years the techniques for freezing and thawing eggs have advanced significantly. As a result of these advances, success rates at some frozen donor egg banks has increased from about 10% success in the past to approximately 50% – at least this is what they claim.

Accordingly, business models have developed for frozen donor egg banks. Egg banks sell frozen donor eggs on a per batch or per egg basis. This can make the cost of using frozen eggs seem to be less than the cost of egg donation with fresh eggs. However, there are some significant problems with this approach.

  1. Uncertain and relatively low success rates – with low success rates the cost per baby is actually higher
  2. Uncertainty about long-term health issues for the children born from frozen eggs

(continue reading…)

Richard Sherbahn

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a fertility doctor practicing in the Chicago, Illinois area. Connect with me on Google+

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Egg Freezing to Extend Fertility – Ready for Prime Time?

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Age and Fertility, Egg Banking, Egg Freezing, Fertility Preservation, Oocyte Cryopreservation

What are the issues with freezing eggs to preserve fertility?

Can you freeze eggs in an attempt to preserve fertility for a future pregnancy?

There is currently controversy about:

  • Who should be offered egg freezing?
  • What should women of different ages be told about their chances for having a baby with frozen eggs?
  • Are women who freeze eggs well informed about the chances to have a baby in the future with their frozen eggs?

What do recent studies show regarding pregnancy success rates using frozen eggs?

Egg freezing is relatively new

  • IVF with fresh eggs has reportedly resulted in the birth of about 3 million babies worldwide
  • IVF with frozen eggs has resulted in the birth of about 2000 babies worldwide
  • Studies continue to investigate whether the older “slow freezing” technology or the newer method of “vitrifying” eggs will be better

Older studies

  • Studies from the 1990’s to early 2000’s showed pregnancy success rates with frozen eggs of about 2% to 10% (live birth rate per embryo transfer cycle).

Recent studies

  • A recent study from an Italian group found similar fertilization and embryo development rates of vitrified versus fresh eggs. Vitrification is a relatively new freezing method.
    • This study involved 40 cycles in women (average age 35.5)
    • The ongoing pregnancy rate (beyond 12 weeks of pregnancy) with vitrified eggs was 30% per cycle.
    • This is a good rate since only 3 eggs can be inseminated under Italian law.
      • Study by L Rienzi, et al, Human Reproduction; January 2010

     

  • A 2009 study of 23 IVF cycles using frozen eggs (average age 31.5)
    • There were 14 pregnancies, 1 miscarriage and 13 ongoing pregnancies (57% per transfer)
      • Study by J Grifo and N Noyes, Fertility and Sterility; May 2009
  • A large multicenter Italian study compared IVF using fresh vs. frozen eggs
    • Italian IVF clinics tend to have lower success rates because only 3 eggs can be inseminated per cycle (by law)
    • They compared 2209 cycles with fresh eggs to 940 cycles with frozen eggs
    • The success rate was halved using frozen instead of fresh eggs
    • 748 thawing cycles in women less than 39 years old (average age 33.6)
      • Live birth rate per transfer with frozen eggs was 13.3% (age < 39)
    • 192 thawing cycles in women 39 and older (average age 40.5)
      • Live birth rate per transfer with frozen eggs was 8.1% (age 39+)
    • Study by A Borini et al, Fertility and Sterility; January 2010

(continue reading…)

Richard Sherbahn

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a fertility doctor practicing in the Chicago, Illinois area. Connect with me on Google+


Welcome to the
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago Blog

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist.

Dr. Sherbahn founded the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago in 1997.

He will post regularly about fertility issues.

Dr. Richard Sherbahn
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