Fresh or Frozen Eggs in IVF?
Egg donation makes it possible for thousands of women who want to get pregnant, particularly women over forty, or with fertility-related difficulties, to successfully conceive and have a baby. For many years the only eggs available were those freshly donated, but rapid advances in the technology of freezing (cryopreservation) methods, have made it possible to successfully freeze unfertilized eggs which can be used in IVF procedures or stored for later use. But which, fresh or frozen eggs, are more successful in achieving the goal of producing a healthy baby?
A study conducted in the US between 2012 and 2015, using data from around 37,000 IVF cycles (1), concluded that fresh eggs gave a slightly better chance of a successful birth than using frozen eggs, but by a narrow margin of only 2%. A similar recent study in the Czech Republic confirmed the US study by a wider margin, with the chances of a live birth resulting from a fresh egg at over 60%, while the chances of live birth from a frozen egg at 45% (2). Research goes on, but in the meantime each type of egg donation has advantages and disadvantages which are still relevant.
The Advantages of Fresh Eggs
- Multiple Eggs: the number of eggs typically available from a frozen egg bank is 6 to 10, whereas the number available through a fresh donor arrangement is 10 to 20. The more eggs available the better the chance of a successful embryo transfer and birth.
- Reliability: Fresh eggs have been used since the very beginning of IVF in the late 1970s and their use is backed by a wealth of history and research.
- Finding a Donor: it can be time-consuming finding a donor who is the best match for the egg recipient. Also, the donor’s cycle has to be synchronized with the recipient’s which can also take time and may delay embryo transfer. There may also be problems in the donor’s response to some of the fertility medications used during IVF treatment, and though a rigorous screening process of the donor is undertaken, as with any medical treatment, unpredictable reactions can’t be completely ruled out.
- More Expensive: using freshly donated eggs tend to be more expensive, though the extra expense can be limited, depending on the fertility clinic used. It also varies around the globe, and the fact that IVF treatment tends to be cheaper in Europe should also be borne in mind.
The Advantages of Frozen Eggs
- Little or No Waiting Time: a fresh donor cycle can take around three months to complete, while a cycle using frozen eggs can begin as soon as the eggs are chosen.
- Lower cost: using eggs from a bank is generally cheaper, as many of the costs can be shared between multiple recipients.
- Availability and Quality: as the eggs are in the bank or clinic they’re immediately available in the number required and there’s no need to match cycles with the donor. Depending on the clinic being used, egg quality can be guaranteed.
- Fewer Eggs: as previously mentioned, fewer eggs are available frozen than through a fresh donor, usually 6 to 10 per portion. If the portion is being shared with other intended parents to reduce costs this can reduce the number further. Fewer eggs mean fewer IVF cycles available, which limits the chance of conception.
- Narrower Choice: There’s also a smaller selection of donors who’ve donated those eggs, thus a narrower range of qualities available to the potential parents.
As mentioned above, the gap in success rates of producing an IVF baby using freshly donated or frozen eggs has narrowed in the last few years, and, in another few years may well disappear altogether. But there will still be distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the requirements of the couple trying to conceive, and these always need to be weighed up carefully. Central Europe, whose centre is Prague, remains an ever-fertile option for IVF treatment. And at its centre is the Gynem Clinic, a family-owned fertility clinic established in 2009, specializing in IVF, egg and embryo donation, and egg freezing. An acknowledged byword for quality around the world, it’s currently offering two egg donation packages: the Basic and the Comfort Package. Whether frozen eggs or fresh eggs are used, quality is guaranteed with each package’s comprehensive range of treatment. Crucially, while many clinics have extra charges that remain hidden until a client is presented with the final bill, Gynem also guarantees no extra charges. You pay only for the items specified in the egg donation package.
1. ‘Fresh Donor Eggs Better For IVF Than Frozen’: Dr Katie Howe, Bio News:
Updated: 28th July 2020 Viewed: 30th July 2020
2. ‘Are Frozen Eggs Better Than Fresh?’ https://www.myivfanswers.com/video/fresh-or-frozen-eggs-for-ivf/
30th July 2020 Viewed: 30th July 2020
28th July 2020 Viewed: 30th July 2020
29th July 2020 Viewed: 30th July 2020
23rd July 2020 Viewed: 30th July 2020