Before discussing which is better to use, fresh donor eggs or frozen, we need to define the differences between them. This will help you understand not only which option offers better chances of having a baby but also why this happens.
A fresh donor egg cycle means that you choose a donor and receive the entire yield of her cycle. This yield may vary, and there is nothing you can do about it. If everything goes extremely well, you may get as many as 26 eggs from a cycle. However, you may only get 8 eggs to work with. Hormonal injections and other tools are used to increase the donor’s fertility, thus increasing the number of eggs from a cycle.
When you deal with a frozen egg cycle, you work with an existing egg bank. In simple terms, you get a lot of unfertilized eggs from a bank. Then, the eggs need to be fertilized and used for IVF. In this case, you usually get only 6 eggs, regardless of how many were actually received from this particular donor. The eggs yielded by a donor are divided in several lots of 6 and may go to different recipients.
Which Should You Choose?
It’s impossible to say that one method is clearly superior to the other. Therefore, each decision should be based on the individual circumstances of the couple. For example, international recipients may not be able to ‘purchase’ a fresh egg cycle. On the other hand, local recipients may not be able to cover some of these procedures with insurance.
There are a dozen other factors that must be considered before making a final decision on this subject. You will need to consult your doctor as well as talk this matter through, taking into account your expectations, aspirations, and finances.
Some of the important things that you will need to keep in mind are:
A frozen egg cycle is not necessarily cheaper. It’s true that a single cycle is cheaper, but you only get 6 eggs in this case. Out of them, only about 4 will be fertilized. Therefore, the chance is high that you would have to repeat the cycle, perhaps even several times. Note that once thawed to fertilize, the eggs cannot be frozen again, so you lose one cycle in a single attempt.
The chance of having a genetic sibling for your child is small if you use frozen eggs. It would be extremely difficult to find eggs from the same donor. Therefore, it would be impossible to have a sibling for your child with the same set of genes.
The chances of fertilizing fresh eggs are, generally, higher. In the vast majority of cases, you will get much more than 6 eggs from a fresh cycle, and all of them will be yours to use whenever you need them. If they are fertilized immediately, you can use several for IVF and freeze the rest to use in case the pregnancy doesn’t succeed or you would like to have another child in the future.
Insurance companies in the US cover only fresh egg cycles. This procedure is not cheap by default, so insurance coverage often is an important factor.
The number of eggs in egg banks is limited. At the moment, egg donation is not nearly as popular as sperm donation. Therefore, there is only a small number of eggs in egg banks, so your choices will be extremely limited.
You cannot meet and negotiate with the donor if you use a frozen eggs cycle. This option only allows you to read the file and see photos of the donor. In addition, there might be other couples using a lot of eggs from the same donor, meaning your child will have half siblings none of you will ever meet.
Frozen egg cycles render faster results. If time is of the essence to you, using frozen eggs might be the best option as the procedures might be started immediately.
All frozen eggs are pre-screened. Therefore, the risks associated with using donated eggs are minimal.
Consider all these factors and talk to your doctor about the chance of success using both types of eggs. In many cases, the decision between fresh and frozen eggs is a matter of personal preference as the chance of pregnancy is similar, though a bit higher for fresh eggs.