Health

Is There a Difference? Using Fresh vs Frozen Donor Eggs to Build Your Family

pregnant woman touching her belly: fresh or frozen donor eggs

At times, the different treatment options available to those struggling with infertility may seem overwhelming. Additional factors, such as the overall expense and time commitment involved, can cause additional stress and anxiety. However, for those who still want to experience pregnancy and childbirth, utilizing donor eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA is an excellent option to consider. 

If you wish to pursue this avenue, your next step is to decide between using fresh or frozen donor eggs. While there are many similarities between both, the costs and time commitment involved are considerably different. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of both is an important step towards your journey to parenthood.

Using Fresh Donor Eggs

The first step of both processes begins with selecting your egg donor. There are many factors to consider when choosing; some may be important to you, while others may not. For example, do you want your child to share similar physical characteristics to your own? What about the donor’s religion, education, ethnicity, and beliefs?

Reading a donor’s personal essay and seeing their childhood photos is a great way to feel a connection to your potential donor. Unfortunately, when using fresh donor eggs, your pool of donors will be limited to your regional area. Fresh egg donation must be done within a very strict timeline.

Additionally, both fresh and frozen egg donor candidates must go through a rigorous screening process and meet guidelines set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to be approved to become an egg donor. This screening process involves extensive personal and medical background checks including genetic testing, and reviews of family medical history and fertility potential. Most programs also conduct a psychological examination as well. 

Treatment Plan

Once you select your donor, your treatment plan can begin. In fresh egg donation, both the intended parent and donor are put on birth control pills to synchronize their menstrual cycles. The donor then receives a series of injections to stimulate her egg production.

This stage involves some risk. There’s a possibility she won’t produce the number of mature eggs needed when her eggs are retrieved. Concurrently, the intended parent receives medication to build up her endometrial lining. 

Once the intended parent’s endometrial lining is sufficiently thickened and mature eggs are retrieved from the donor, the sperm and egg are introduced together in a petri dish. The potential parent may use sperm from a male partner or sperm donor. Ideally, fertilization will occur and after an incubation period of 3-6 days, the embryo is ready for implantation. 

Time and Cost

Time and cost are two important factors to consider. Insurance coverage for assisted reproductive treatments vary depending on insurance plans and which state you live in. On average, the cost for an IVF cycle using fresh donor eggs can range from $27,000 to $40,000.

The time it takes to complete a cycle, from initial screening to implantation, is significant; usually 4-6 months. This estimate of how long it will take holds if the process itself ends up being smooth and complication free.

Keep in mind the donor’s schedule, her menstrual cycle, and whether she responds to medication are factors beyond your control. While fresh donors are committed to their role of providing the missing genetic piece to your puzzle, any family, school, or work commitment – or simply forgetting to take medication – can cause delays making the process longer.

Using Frozen Donor Eggs

There are many advantages to using frozen donor eggs over fresh. The two main advantages are time and cost. The estimated time for a frozen donor egg cycle is about 5 weeks from start to finish. This is because using frozen eggs bypasses many of the impediments that can delay the fresh donor egg process. Intended parents need not worry about synchronizing menstrual periods or possible delays from their chosen donor since their eggs have already been retrieved. 

The chosen frozen egg lot can be shipped to the intended parent’s clinic where the eggs are warmed and thawed. Using frozen eggs ensures treatment can begin as soon as the recipient’s endometrial lining is sufficiently thick for implantation. This shortens the process by months.

The other major advantage is overall expense. The cost of undergoing a frozen donor egg cycle usually ranges from $14,500 to $21,000. Considering the cost of using frozen donor egg is approximately half as much as fresh, and can take less than half the time, this option definitely has its advantages for individuals or couples concerned about both the time commitment and financial costs.

What About Success Rates?

The great news is the success rates for both programs are comparable. When using a reputable, experienced clinic, frozen donor egg success rates can be even higher than that of fresh donor egg. Whichever path you choose, those who want to experience the joys of pregnancy and childbirth should consider fresh and frozen donor eggs as a valuable alternative path to parenthood.

 

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