Choosing Between Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs: What You Need To Know

Hatch Fertility

When deciding whether to use fresh or frozen egg donation, a great starting place is to first connect with the chosen agency. They will take into consideration the intended parent's requirements and then match them with available eggs and egg donors to find the perfect match.

Whether choosing frozen eggs or fresh eggs, egg donation can help build a family when needing this element.

In some cases for intended mothers, after several cycles of IVF using their eggs with no success, their fertility center may determine that the problem is with the quality of their eggs. There are many reasons an Intended Mother's eggs aren’t working out, these include:

  • Premature ovarian failure (menopause before age 40)
  • Diminished ovarian reserve
  • Lower quantity of eggs due to the woman’s age
  • Previous failed IVF cycles may be due to poor egg quality
  • Being a carrier for genetic abnormalities which can be inherited
Whatever the reason for the failure, egg donation may be the solution. So now to decide between fresh and frozen eggs. There is no automatic right answer for everybody but here are some of the factors to consider when making this momentous decision.


Will Donor Eggs Help Me Get Pregnant?

The answer in almost all cases is yes! The primary reason a lot of IVF cycles fail, when the woman is trying to use her own eggs, is because her eggs are simply too old. As women age, their egg quality diminishes, even if they are still ovulating regularly. As you can see from the above list, the majority of the reasons eggs don’t fertilize or implant is due to the age of the egg. Studies have shown that older women who use younger eggs have the same chance of getting pregnant as a younger woman would. It really is “all about the eggs.”

Where Can I Find Egg Donors?

A reputable fertility center will have information on egg donation agencies and, depending on the type of eggs the intended parent is looking for, can guide them to the one that suits their needs. Many fertility centers also have in-house egg donation agencies, if your center has one this would be the place to look first because the coordination will be easier as they will have a process in place already. Now the question is, do you want fresh or frozen eggs?

Are Fresh or Frozen Donor Eggs More Successful?

Studies have shown that the chances of live birth resulting from a fresh egg donation IVF cycle were 9%-20% higher than from a frozen egg donation cycle. There are a lot of variables that go into that number, primarily the number of eggs available for use and possible damage to the eggs from freezing. During a fresh egg donation cycle, the intended parents get all the eggs retrieved, this can be between 15 and 20 and is hardly ever below 10. While not all eggs will fertilize properly if starting with 15 eggs, normally will result in 3-4 viable embryos to choose from and possibly some to freeze for later cycles.

Frozen eggs, on the other hand, come in batches of five to eight. While frozen eggs can be fertilized at almost the same rate as fresh, there still aren’t going to be as many embryos since the intended parents will likely be starting out with fewer eggs unless the donor is extremely fertile. This is a significant factor when making a decision, especially when you think about the physical, emotional, and financial costs of repeated IVF cycles. By the time they get to the realization that they need donor eggs, most people have gone through several IVF cycles already and don’t want to go through an indefinite number of cycles. Search carefully to find out the success rates in the clinics you are considering.

What’s So Great About Fresh Donor Eggs?

When doing an IVF cycle with fresh donated eggs the donor and recipient have to be in the same place at roughly the same time. If the donor has to travel then that has to be arranged ahead of time. The two women also have to have their cycles synced so the intended mother’s body is ready for embryo transfer. This means both women have to be on fertility medication. All the timing issues can add to the amount of time between the decision to use donor eggs and the embryo transfer. Fresh donor eggs have been used for many years and are proven to work extremely well. Fertility clinics have to track and report their success rates, you can read about a clinic’s success rates with donor eggs on the SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) website or the CDC website. Of course, a fresh egg cycle, especially if the recipients are keeping all the eggs, is the most expensive egg donation cycle., often 2-3 times more expensive than a frozen egg cycle.

What Do Frozen Donor Eggs Have to Offer?

One of the first things frozen eggs offer is convenience, they are already harvested so can be there when needed. Since there is no synchronizing of cycles, frozen eggs can be used with the intended mother’s natural cycle. One of the major advantages of frozen eggs is the ability to get eggs from all different kinds of women without paying for them to travel to the intended parent’s fertility center. This is really a consideration because often the ideal egg donor for you might not be able to travel. Eggs are harvested and stored near the home of the donor and shipped to recipients, making timing a lot easier for everyone concerned.

They are also cheaper, this is because they are sold in units of five to eight so it’s possible for the egg donation agencies to get two batches from one donation. The donors are paid higher fees and these fees are often very high for a frozen cycle. Freezing eggs is now done using the vitrification process so there are no ice crystals forming within the egg that would damage it. Frozen eggs offer intended parents the widest range of possible donors at a reasonable price and the ability to work around their cycle or schedule. Frozen eggs are a wonderful alternative for people who need a certain type of donor or can’t afford the whole fresh egg donation process.

The best place to start, when deciding whether to use fresh or frozen eggs, is to talk with the chosen agency. They will take into consideration your requirements and match them with the available eggs and egg donors. Whether you use fresh or frozen eggs, the young age and viability of the eggs can almost assure you a couple of healthy embryos ready to be implanted.

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