In the last decade egg donation become one of the most widespread methods to help women with fertility problems to get pregnant and fulfil their dream of motherhood. Nоwadays mоre and mоre IVF babies whо bоrn arоund the wоrld gоt their start as eggs dоnated by wоmen and then fertilized оr frоzen until they cоuld be thawed and jоined with sperm in a fertility clinic. So, what is the difference between these two common cases?

The fresh donor eggs

Our program IVF with fresh donor oocytes involves immediate fertilization of retrieved eggs from donor.

Below you can see a detailed scheme of our program process with fresh donor oocytes and our usual steps with patients:

  1. Recipient should choose an egg donor. (This may take some extra time because of waiting list for the donor to become available)
  2. Patient’s menstrual cycle should be synchronized with the donor’s.
  3. On this point starts donor stimulation, she will take hormone supplements to make her ovaries produce a number of mature oocytes, at the same time recipient begin to prepare her body to accept embryos(stimulation to prepare the endometrium for the embryo implantation).
  4. Retrieved eggs will be fertilized with either partner’s or donor's semen.

This process will most likely results in amount of embryos sufficient for embryo transfer. Moreover in most cases there is a possibility to freeze the rest of the embryos with further chance to have a genetically related siblings for the first IVF child or for another try in case of unsuccessful first cycle.

The obvious benefit of this method is that you get all the harvested oocytes from donor cycle. On the other hand, there are down sides to the fresh cycle method that include differences in efficiencies of the ovulation stimulation and individual reactions to the used medications (if a donor has a poor response to medications) or risk of medication errors or non-compliance by the donor which can result in cancellation of the cycle. Therefore, when choosing the appropriate protocol for each patient-donor pair an individual approach should be used.

Frozen donor eggs

Freezing eggs was one of the major challenges of reproductive medicine, for many years.  Eggs have a high water content, so the slow-freezing techniques were not as successful.  With slow freezing, ice crystals can form, and when the eggs are thawed, those ice crystals can fracture and damage the egg. Breakthrough in assisted reproduction technique was process of vitrification- ultra-rapid process that greatly reduces the formation of ice crystals and the survival rate proves its efficiency - approximately 90% of eggs frozen with vitrification survive the thawing process.

Let us consider what you should undergo if you choose frozen egg cycle.

  1. You should choose your egg donor. All the donors are fully screened, have completed the egg retrieval cycle and ready for immediate selection.
  2. You get a set of matured, vitrified oocytes (usually 8 eggs, no matter how many were retrieved from the donor), which will go through warming procedure and fertilization.

Subsequently this method is faster in comparison with fresh donor egg cycle, there is no need in patient-donor synchronization and it is possible to try to conceive already with the next menstrual cycle (or when it fits best into your schedule). It also has the potential to make IVF-cycle cheaper  because eggs retrieved from a single donor can be shared more easily among several women. However in most of the cases the amount of embryos is just enough for transfer and there is not always a possibility of preserving for another try.

Benefits of fresh vs frozen donor eggs

Fresh

 

Frozen

Donor search

Donor screening and testing

Time

No waiting list

Usually Small (Regional Pool)

Donor pool

Much Larger (National Pool)

Synchronization Required

Cycle preparation

Synchronization Not Required

Physician chooses when cycles start in accordance with the donor availability

Start the process

No waiting list

Receiving all harvested oocytes

Amount of oocytes

Receiving one set of 8 mature oocytes per cycle

64% clinical pregnancy rate

Success rates

59% clinical pregnancy rate

Expensive due to the cost of individual synchronization

Cost

Less expensive due to lack of individual synchronization

More than 10 mature oocytes and blastocysts for embryo transfer

Guarantee

6-8 vitrified donor oocytes and blastocysts for embryo transfer

 

Insurance

 

 

All in all there are different ways to conceive your baby and your doctor, who monitors your infertility history will help you to make the right choice between fresh or frozen donor egg.