Considering Frozen Donor Eggs? Here Are 5 Important Things to Think About

by: Heidi Hayes | CEO | Donor Egg Bank USA

If you have tried repeated cycles of traditional IVF with your own eggs but have not been successful, it may be time to explore using a frozen egg donor. In the last five years, there have been major technological advancements in the field of egg freezing, or vitrification. This new flash freezing process minimizes formation of ice crystals in the eggs, meaning that success rates of frozen egg cycles now rival some of the best fresh donor programs in the United States. IVF with frozen donor eggs has therefore become an attractive option for many couples.

If you are considering frozen donor egg IVF as your next fertility option, here are some things you may want to think about:

How Will You Feel Emotionally?

Facing infertility can lead to a kaleidoscope of emotions, including anxiety, anger, exhaustion, and sadness. Thankfully, there is a wide-variety of emotional support and resources available to struggling individuals and couples – such as those found on Shine Fertility. In terms of alternative treatment, however, IVF with frozen donor eggs can also offer you hope, providing another chance for you to expand your family.

As you consider pursuing a frozen egg donor cycle, you may still be trying to accept the idea that your own eggs are no longer viable. Using a donor egg carries the harsh reality of giving up genetic ties between you and your child, and feelings of grief and anger are quite common. However, unlike adoption, donor egg IVF does offer you the chance to experience giving birth to your own child. Also, if you are using your husband’s sperm, your child will be genetically related to him.

You may also struggle with the decision of whether or not to tell your family, friends, and future child about the use of donor egg. You may want to seek counseling or join a support group to determine what is best for your family before you even begin a frozen donor egg cycle. RESOLVE: The National Fertility Association can refer you to counselors and support groups in your area.

How Much Will It Cost?

Frozen egg donor IVF costs more than IVF with your own eggs because another party is involved in obtaining the eggs. On the other hand, it is 30-50% more affordable than a fresh donor IVF cycle. Some egg banks, like Donor Egg Bank USA, offer a payment option that will provide a full refund if you have not delivered a live born child after a certain number of tries.

How Long Will It Take?

One of the main advantages of using frozen donor eggs is that the frozen eggs are immediately available when the time is right for you. Once your pre-screening is complete, it typically takes four weeks to complete your cycle. This is a huge advantage over fresh cycles, in which women can wait up to a year for a donor, and then may face possible delays or cancellations due to the complexities of coordinating with the donor’s personal schedule.

Where Will The Eggs Come From?

Receiving frozen eggs from a national egg bank provides you with a larger pool of possible donors, whereas the fresh donor egg option tends to be smaller and more localized.

Additionally, you can feel comfortable when choosing the donor eggs, given the thorough donor screening and the detailed background information provided by the egg bank. Each year, thousands of donor applications are submitted; however, less than 10 percent of the applicants qualify to become a donor following the highly selective process. Each donor undergoes an intensive medical, genetic, and psychological screening. You will be able to review donor profiles that typically include medical history, genetic carrier information, pregnancy history, education history, employment status, and the reason for donating their eggs.

How Many People Do You Have to Worry About?

IVF with frozen donor eggs is a much simpler process than using fresh donor eggs because you have only one person to worry about—yourself. Ultimately, you will have fewer doctors’ visits, require less medication, and can avoid stressing about coordinating travel and your schedule with the donor’s.

During fresh donor egg IVF, your menstrual cycle and your donor’s cycle need to be synchronized. This can be very challenging and frustrating, since you must rely on another person to do everything right in a given time frame. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and the donor may experience unexpected changes in her schedule, not take her injections correctly, or not produce enough eggs during the cycle due to poor response to the fertility medications.

With frozen donor eggs, the number of steps is reduced because the eggs are already retrieved and ready to be fertilized. The resultant embryos are cultured for three to five days and then transferred into your prepared uterus. By removing many of the uncertainty factors involved in a fresh donor cycle, you will have greater control and less to worry about when using frozen donor eggs.

For couples who are struggling with infertility, frozen donor egg IVF can be a cause for renewed hope. While the mother and child’s DNA may not match, the opportunity to carry your own baby and deliver him or her into the world creates the type of bond that genetics alone cannot.