You’ve decided you’re ready to use donor eggs to have a baby, but you’re unsure whether fresh or frozen donor eggs are the right choice. It’s likely that you have a lot of questions about the difference between the two options. After all, picking an egg donor is overwhelming enough; deciding between whether to use fresh or frozen donor eggs shouldn’t add another layer of confusion to the process.
We’ll break down what you need to know about the two different methods and how to choose which is right for you.
Fresh donor eggs: pros and cons
When talking about the difference between fresh donor eggs and frozen donor eggs, it’s important to remember that one of the key points is that fresh eggs haven’t yet been retrieved. Using fresh donor eggs means that the oocytes (eggs) won’t be available immediately after choosing your donor.
There are several reasons some intended parents choose to use fresh donor eggs, especially if both your budget and timing are flexible.
First, you may have access to a higher number of eggs from a fresh donor cycle compared to a frozen egg batch. When using a fresh egg donor, she will go through an IVF cycle. At egg donor agencies, usually all eggs retrieved will be fertilized and made into embryos for the intended parents. This means that there is the potential to have more eggs available from a fresh egg donor cycle than you would receive in a frozen donor egg “batch”.
With Family by Co, our egg donors split the yield of retrieved eggs to freeze the other half for their own reproductive future — so while the number of eggs you may obtain are fewer, you’ll be doing so knowing that you’re avoiding cash compensation, which can feel transactional and…icky. Additionally, there is some evidence from a 2021 study that the success rate with fresh donor eggs is higher than with frozen donor eggs. Hopeful parents may opt to use fresh donor eggs due to the fact that they have a slightly better chance of successful fertilization and implantation the first time.
Frozen donor eggs: pros and cons
If you are using frozen donor eggs from an egg bank, the retrieval process has already taken place (so you may be skipping a waiting period), and you can begin the fertilization and implantation process shortly after selecting your donor. This method can possibly cut time from your process and make becoming a parent all that much closer to becoming a reality.
With less coordination needed, this can sometimes translate into a much more cost effective approach for some families for whom budgeting (and timing) is a major sticking point. You may also have a larger donor pool to choose from since the frozen eggs can be shipped from a wider variety of places. If you’re hoping to grow your family considerably, you may not have access to as many frozen eggs as you’d like. Typically, when frozen donor eggs are used they are released in batches of around six—with the option to use multiple batches if they are available.
Fresh donor eggs vs frozen donor eggs: which is right for you?
Which option ends up being best for your growing family will really come down to the things that are most important to you. If you value getting started quickly and having a variety of options at your disposal, frozen donor eggs may be the better choice. Not only can you make sure that you're working on your own timeline, but you can ensure that you’re staying on budget throughout the process.
That being said, if your budget is flexible, or if you are hoping to have multiple children using the same egg donor, fresh donor eggs may be the way to go.
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