Egg donation using frozen eggs - pros and cons
Using Donor Eggs
- Egg donation originated by using fresh eggs from young egg donors
- The donors were chosen by a recipient couple and stimulated to produce multiple eggs.
- The eggs were retrieved and fertilized with the male partners (or donor) sperm with the resulting fresh embryos transferred to the recipient female.
- Remaining embryos would be frozen for future frozen embryo transfer procedures (if needed).
Fresh egg donation cycles are still a popular option for many recipients. However, more and more patients are turning to frozen donor eggs as an alternative option. In fact, in 2017, there were 3,324 Fresh Donor Egg Cycles and 3,452 Frozen Donor Egg Cycles reported in the USA. Frozen eggs have surged in popularity because of recent advances in egg freezing technology leading to improved success rates using frozen eggs.
We offer egg donation using frozen (vitrified) or fresh donor eggs. We have been providing fresh donor egg treatments since 1997 and frozen eggs since 2014.
Egg freezing has improved over the past several years through fine-tuning of freezing and thawing protocols. Thawed egg survival and viability is much better than in the past. When these eggs are frozen and thawed at high quality IVF clinics, we see high pregnancy success rates using frozen donor eggs.
How much do frozen donor egg IVF success rates vary?
Quite a bit – as shown below
How much do frozen donor egg IVF success rates vary? Quite a bit – as shown below
Our 2017 live birth success rate per transfer was 71.7% for 2017 for frozen donor eggs
USA national average for 2017 was 39.3%
Recently there has been a proliferation of egg banks that recruit egg donors, have their eggs frozen and then sell them to recipient couples for their egg donation cycles. Some of these businesses are claiming to have high success rates from the thawed donor egg cycles. However, overall success rates are more difficult to track with egg banks relative to fertility clinic reporting.
While egg freezing technologies continue to improve over time, there are some notable advantages when considering frozen donor eggs for embryo creation.
- There is no need to have synchronization of the cycle between the donor and recipient
- The complexities of ovarian stimulation for the donor and any problems that may result during the stimulation were already dealt with and a now done deal. As a result, you know how many eggs you will be getting before they cycle starts.
- There can be a shorter time frame from choosing a donor until having embryo transfer when eggs are already frozen
- Costs per treatment cycle are reduced using frozen donor eggs compared to fresh
- However, the cost per baby born could be lower, the same, or higher – depending on the live birth rate per embryo transfer procedure at the clinic doing the procedure.
The national average for live birth success rates using frozen frozen donor eggs at this time are still somewhat lower than success rates with fresh donor eggs. However, egg freezing and thawing has come a long way in the last several years and success rates with frozen donor eggs are not very different from those seen with fresh eggs in some clinics (including ours).
Success rates using frozen donor eggs are dependent on several factors:
- The quality of the donor eggs
- The ability of the clinic to perform effective freezing and thawing of the eggs
- The number of eggs thawed
- The number of embryos transferred to the uterus
- The expertise and quality of the IVF program
- Success rates with donor eggs vary greatly between clinics
- See any clinic’s IVF and donor egg success rates on the SART or CDC sites
- Links to SART and CDC websites – check donor egg clinic success rates
At our fertility center, we are currently seeing pregnancy rates with our banked frozen and thawed donor eggs that are somewhat lower as compared to what we have with fresh donor eggs. However, the average batch size for a cycle using frozen donor eggs is about 6 eggs, vs. about 17 using fresh eggs. Therefore, we would expect a slightly lower success rate due to the lower number of eggs to start a cycle with.
We believe that our ability to control all aspects of the egg freezing process gives us an advantage over other programs using frozen eggs from an outside egg bank. We choose which donors to freeze and we maintain excellent quality control by freezing and thawing all eggs in the same laboratory. We also offer partnerships with MyEggBank for embryo creation with frozen donor eggs.
Embryo development guarantee for frozen donor eggs at the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago
If all frozen donor eggs in your lot are thawed and fertilized, we guarantee you will have an embryo available for transfer on either day 3 or day 5.
If there is not at least one embryo available for fresh transfer on day 3 or day 5 (a rare occurrence in our program):
A free lot of eggs will be provided to the patient for another attempt if they are in a single cycle financial plan.
The cycle will not count as one of the 6 attempts for patients in our shared risk or 100% refund plans.
This guarantee does not apply in severe male factor cases because severe impairment of fertilization and/or embryo development could result.