For many years, Frozen Eggs & Fertility donors were the only option for couples and individuals looking to have a baby using donated eggs. However, advances in egg-freezing technology now allow intended parents to use frozen eggs to become pregnant and add a new member to their family.
In this article, we’ll look at what frozen donor eggs mean, the advantages of using frozen oocytes, and other important things you need to know about frozen donor eggs.
What Are Frozen Donor Eggs?
Frozen eggs are mature oocytes that are collected from the ovaries of an egg donor and immediately frozen in the laboratory for future use. When an infertile couple wants to conceive with these eggs, they are thawed and mixed with sperm to make a baby.
Note that the freezing of eggs is not a new process. However, the old method often led to the formation of ice crystals, making the eggs non-viable for reproduction. Nowadays, eggs are frozen using an effective technique known as vitrification or flash-freezing, which freezes the eggs at an ultra-rapid rate before any ice crystals can be formed.
How Do Frozen Donor Eggs Help Infertile Couples?
Infertile couples can benefit from frozen donor eggs in the most wonderful way, as it enables them to have their own babies. A frozen donor egg IVF can be an excellent fertility treatment option for child couples facing any of the following issues.
Premature ovarian failure: This is a health condition that occurs when a woman reaches menopause earlier than expected, usually before the age of 40.
Diminished ovarian reserve: A woman is said to have a diminished ovarian reserve when her eggs are of low quality. This is usually due to age since female fertility tends to take a dip after 40.
Genetically transmitted diseases: A couple may also consider frozen donor eggs when the would-be mother has an undesirable genetic condition that can be passed on to their child.
Cancer: A cancer survivor may not have any good eggs left after therapy since most of the common cancer treatments are known to impact a woman’s ability to have a baby. Read our blog on 36 potent healthy foods to fight cancer
Advantages of Using Frozen Donor Eggs
More and more people are now using frozen donor eggs to build their families. Here are some notable benefits of choosing frozen oocytes for your IVF cycle.
- Immediate availability
Frozen donor eggs are already collected and ready to be shipped to the intended parents. So, you don’t need to wait for the donor to complete her egg donation cycle before starting your fertility treatment. You can get the eggs immediately and begin your IVF cycle straight away.
- Time flexibility
Once you have secured frozen donor eggs, you can have them thawed and fertilized at any date that works for you. However, if you are using fresh eggs, you will have to wait until the donor completes her donation cycle and embryos are formed before you can proceed on your family-building journey.
- No risk of your egg donor cycle being canceled
Since frozen donor eggs are already retrieved and ready to be sent to the buyers, there is no chance of your egg donation process being stopped when using frozen oocytes.
- Wide range of options
With frozen donor eggs, you will have the opportunity to choose from a diverse pool of pre-screened egg donors recruited from all around the country. So, you are more likely to find a donor with a particular feature you want in your baby compared to when using fresh eggs.
- Lower costs per treatment cycle
The cost of IVF cycles using frozen eggs is usually lower than that of fresh donor cycles. This is because there’s no need for cycle synchronizations between the donor and recipient. Therefore, you will not have to pay for the donor’s travel expenses, medications, and some other costs.
Frozen Eggs & Fertility Donor Process
An IVF cycle with frozen eggs is almost the same as a fresh donor cycle. Here are the steps you can expect to undergo when completing an IVF cycle with frozen donor eggs:
- Consultation and pre-treatment screening tests
The first step is to consult with your fertility doctor and complete several tests before beginning the treatment. The aim of these screening tests is to ensure that there are no underlying issues that could affect the outcome of the IVF cycle. Your fertility specialist will explain the process involved and give you a quote for your treatment.
- Choosing your egg donor
Selecting your egg donor is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you will need to make. Remember that the resulting baby will be sharing half the genes of your egg donor, so you need to choose right. Fortunately, there are many reputable frozen egg banks around providing top-quality eggs with high chances of resulting in a pregnancy.
- Preparing for pregnancy
Once you’ve selected your egg donor, the fertility specialist at your chosen IVF clinic will start to prepare you for pregnancy. They will do this by placing you on fertility medications to thicken your uterine lining to make it easier for the embryo(s) to implant inside the womb.
- Egg thawing and fertilization
While you are taking the medications, the fertility doctor will carefully thaw and “fertilize” the frozen donor eggs with your partner’s sperm or donor sperm to form embryos. A common technique that many clinics use to fertilize eggs is ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), in which a single sperm cell is introduced to each donor egg.
- Embryo development
Fertilized eggs (called embryos) are then loaded into a culture medium and placed in a standard incubator for about 5 days. By the fifth day, the embryos will have grown into blastocysts. At this stage, you can have genetic testing done on the embryos to check for any genetic or chromosomal abnormalities before they are transferred into the womb.
- Embryo transfer
The doctor will then put the embryo or embryos (as the case may be) will then be deposited in your womb or that of your gestational carrier using a thin, flexible tool known as the catheter.
- Pregnancy test
2 weeks after embryo transfer, you are going to do a pregnancy test to confirm whether or not you have conceived. If the test result is positive, the fertility doctor at your IVF clinic you guide you through the early days of your pregnancy and help schedule your first pregnancy ultrasound.
Intended parents now have the option to choose between fresh donor eggs and frozen ones when pursuing fertility treatments. For those who want to save on costs and want more flexibility, frozen donor eggs may be a more suitable option. However, the IVF success rates are a bit higher with fresh eggs than with frozen ones, especially in women older than 40. On the other side, fresh donor cycles are often more expensive and require more planning than when you are using frozen donors. In the end, the choice of donor eggs to use for your fertility treatment is up to you, but it’s best to consult your doctor and speak with your family before making your decisions.