Improvements With Donor Eggs
Fresh donor eggs were previously the only option. The fertility clinic synchronizes the cycles of the egg donor and recipient using pharmaceuticals. After two weeks of stimulation with fertility medicines for the donor, the eggs are then removed and fertilized in the embryology lab. The recipient receives one of the generated embryos and gets preserved for use later.
Unfertilized eggs may now be effectively frozen hence advances in cryopreservation (freezing) technologies. The eggs freezing is quick during assisted reproductive technology called vitrification, which makes them less likely to be injured than in earlier techniques.
Improved cryopreservation (egg freezing) methods allowed to freeze of donor eggs efficiently and safely. Guidelines were published in 2013 by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, stating that oocyte vitrification and warming should no longer be considered experimental. Due to the success of frozen eggs, egg banks became available, allowing individuals a wider variety of options when considering the best donor.
The Initial Steps In The Egg Donation Process
Three things can happen when an infertility specialist extracts eggs from a donor:
- Unfertilized fresh eggs can be saved for later use. They are referred to as frozen donor eggs.
- The fresh eggs may be fertilized to produce an embryo, which is transplanted into the patient's uterus after several days of development. This procedure is known as a fresh embryo transfer.
- The fresh eggs are fertilized to produce an embryo that will be frozen in preparation for a future transfer. It is called a frozen embryo transfer.
The initial steps in the egg donation process are the same for fresh and frozen eggs. All donors are screened to ensure total physical and psychological health and have proven fertility. Then the donor is stimulated with fertility medication for two weeks, and after the day of egg collection, can go ahead when the eggs have matured. In a fresh egg donor cycle, the collected eggs are fertilized with sperm (from the father or a sperm donor) right after.
In several days, the embryos will be transferred to the intended mother or surrogate or frozen for future use. During a frozen egg donor cycle, eggs are retrieved from the donor and vitrified (frozen) before fertilization. They are afterward thawed and fertilized. Once embryos are created, they are ready to be transferred to the recipient.
So, What Is Better − Fresh vs. Frozen Eggs?
Choosing between fresh or frozen eggs may seem a monumental task for intended parents. It is fair since we are conscious that you want to take every precaution to increase your chances of having children! However, both treatment options have advantages and disadvantages, and it comes down to being a personal decision on the best treatment for you. There are various factors to consider when deciding whether to use fresh or frozen donor eggs.
- Proof of practice.
Fresh egg donors have been used for IVF treatments since 1984 and have proven successful, with thousands of live births worldwide. There are decades of research to verify the triumph of fresh donor eggs.
- Higher chance of live birth.
Statistical data indicates that IVF with fresh donor eggs exhibits a higher probability of live birth. Studies stipulate that the chance of live birth is higher using fresh donor eggs, yet the difference is diminutive and clinic dependent.
- There is a large number of retrieved eggs.
Donors typically produce 10 − 25 good-quality eggs during fresh donation cycles. For future parents planning to have more than one child, this is a reasonable option to consider.
- Egg survival.
In a fresh cycle donation, eggs do not need to undergo a freezing and thawing process, so there are no risks associated with egg survival.
Matching a fresh egg donor and a receipt can be challenging.
- Synchronisation of cycles.
A fertility specialist must synchronize the recipient’s and egg donor’s cycles with the hormonal medications. It causes scheduling challenges and will result in an individual having to wait longer for an embryo transfer. It also requires a lot of medical, financial, legal, and logistical coordination and consideration.
- It is more expensive.
Using a fresh donor egg usually harbors more magnific costs; in some cases, it can be double the cost of the frozen alternative.
- Risk of cancellation.
There are many reasons to stop IVF cycles (poor response to medications, medical complications, small quantities of eggs retrieved), which may prolong a successful pregnancy and birth process.
- Geographically availability.
The availability of fresh donors that fulfill your desired criteria can be limited within your geographical region.
- No cycle synchronization is needed.
Frozen donor egg treatment is a lot simpler to schedule. Intended parents can plan conception around their programs, as there is no need to synchronize cycles between recipient and donor. Frozen donor eggs can be thawed at any time, and the fertilization process may start immediately (depending on the endometrial stimulation of the recipient).
- Shorter waiting times.
Most of the time, frozen donor eggs are immediately available; therefore, there are no long waiting lists to match with a suitable egg donor. As the frozen eggs are already vitrified and in storage, an embryo transfer can occur much quicker when compared to a fresh donation cycle.
- Less expensive.
The cost per treatment cycle is reduced when comparing fresh vs. frozen donor eggs. It is since many of the costs are shared among several recipients.
- Comparable success/outcomes.
Cryopreservation has advanced significantly over the last decade, leading to comparable cycle success rates with fresh and frozen donor eggs.
- There are no issues with your donor's ovarian stimulation.
The donor's eggs are already retrieved, so you do not need to face the complexities of ovarian stimulation and any problems that may arise alongside it.
- There is certainty in the number of eggs.
As the eggs have already been collected, you know how many eggs you will get before the cycle starts.
- Lower success rates.
While using frozen donor eggs, the success rates for live births are somewhat lower than the national average. Yet, many clinics report equal success rates with frozen and fresh donor eggs.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is required.
An additional expense for this necessary step is needed. ICSI is essential as the freezing and thawing process hardens the membrane surrounding the egg, and the sperm cannot penetrate it.
What Should I Choose?
Choosing to use donated eggs to create a child can be challenging. Make sure you select the appropriate donor or egg bank by consulting extensively with your reproductive endocrinologist and the fertility clinic. We advise people to use the numerous resources at their disposal in addition to talking with their doctor to comprehend this process. Furthermore, the intended parent or parents may indeed aid by receiving psychological treatment
Deciding whether to use fresh donor eggs vs. frozen is a personal decision and must be considered. The Ovogene team is ready to answer all your questions and support you along this demanding journey to building your family!