If you’ve decided you’re ready to use donor eggs to have a baby, but you’re still unsure whether fresh donor eggs or frozen eggs are the right choice, it’s likely 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 exactly what you need to know about the two different methods and how to choose which one 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” donor eggs haven’t yet been retrieved. Using fresh donor eggs means that the oocytes (eggs) are retrieved only after you match with a 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. 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 and freeze their half for their own reproductive future — while donating half to your family. 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 may 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.
However, if you’re hoping to have more than one child, 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. This also means that your child could have even more half-siblings.
The other downside to using frozen donor eggs from a typical egg bank is that you will likely not be able to meet the donor beforehand. Most egg banks only offer completely anonymous donor eggs. At Cofertility, we think it’s important to have the option to meet the donor to make the best possible decision for your family.
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 don’t mind having a small number of eggs and don’t want to meet the donor, frozen donor eggs may be the better choice.
That being said, if you are hoping to have multiple children using the same egg donor, fresh donor eggs may be the way to go. Plus, with Cofertility, you have the option to meet the donor beforehand. Regardless of which option you pursue, we are ready to help you on your journey.
Meera Shah, MD, FACOG, is a double board-certified OBGYN and reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California. She is a Founding Medical Advisor at Cofertility. Dr. Shah has authored numerous research articles on topics ranging from fertility preservation, pregnancy loss, reproductive genetics, and ethnic differences in IVF outcomes. Her medical practice incorporates the highest level of evidence-based medicine and the most cutting edge technologies to optimize outcomes for her patients. Dr. Shah applies this approach to her work with Cofertility, ensuring that Cofertility remains up-to-date on latest medical advancements and research in third-party reproduction and reproductive endocrinology in general. When Dr. Shah isn’t busy working with her patients at NOVA IVF, she enjoys playing pretty much any sport, learning new piano pieces on YouTube, and spending quality time with her husband and three boys. You can find her on Instagram providing fertility-related advice and education at @dr_meerashah.
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