Are you and your significant other trying to start your family, but experiencing difficulties?
It can be very frustrating for a couple that’s having trouble getting pregnant.
If you’ve already undergone unsuccessful IVF treatment with your own eggs and are beginning to wonder if you’ll ever have a child of your own, comparing how much donor eggs cost in time, effort, and finances to your current treatment plan may be a good idea.
If you’re not sure how donor egg treatment works or if it’s the right choice for you, here’s information that may help you make an informed decision.
Fresh versus Frozen Eggs: What’s The Difference?
When you decide to move forward with donor egg, you have a choice between fresh or frozen eggs. For fresh eggs, you’ll select your donor from a small pool of local donors near you, and you’ll receive the entire yield of your donor’s cycle. However, keep in mind that your fresh donor’s ‘entire yield’ may result in zero eggs if your donor doesn’t follow their medication or appointment regimens perfectly.
On the other hand, an egg bank like Donor Egg Bank USA typically offers a much larger egg donor database to choose from. You’ll select your donor based on their egg donor profile information provided to you, and you’ll receive between 5-8 unfertilized eggs, regardless of the total number of eggs retrieved from the donor.
While fresh eggs were previously known to generate ‘good’ embryos, with more eggs retrieved per cycle and thus more viable embryos overall, egg retrieval from fresh donors can be an unpredictable process and can involve a long waiting time due to the synchronization of donor and recipient cycles.
Fortunately, frozen egg cycles are more predictable and less costly since they don’t rely on synchronizing cycles. While they come in smaller egg lots, success rates are just as high as fresh eggs.
How donor Egg IVF Cycles Work
Choosing your donor
Once you’re given the green light to use an egg donor, you’ll choose your donor from an egg bank’s donor pool, or use a known donor such as a friend, acquaintance, or relative. A reproductive endocrinologist will be able to help you determine if your known donor is a good candidate. If choosing from an egg bank’s donor profiles, you’ll be able to view information about their background, including educational level, family history, and medical history.
When using a fresh donor, risks and liabilities will be discussed, and waivers and legal documents will be signed to make sure you understand your rights and agree to the terms and conditions of the process. Intended parents choosing frozen donor eggs don’t need to worry about this part of the process, as everything has already been taken care of by their egg bank.
When it comes to using fresh eggs, your cycle needs to be synced with your donor’s cycle. This ensures your uterine lining will be ready for implantation at the same time your donor’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized. This is usually achieved through birth control pills. Once synchronized, you’ll need to take estrogen supplements for 8 to 10 days to prime your endometrial lining for embryo implantation.
Comparatively, no synchronization is needed when using frozen donor eggs which significantly cuts down the time and costs involved in the process.
Receiving your eggs
When using frozen eggs, you’ll receive a guaranteed number of eggs from your egg bank. They’re ready for your use, on your schedule, without the need to synchronize your cycle with your donor.
With fresh, you’ll need to wait for your donor to complete the entire egg donation process (upwards of six months or more) before receiving an unknown number of eggs.
Fertilization and embryo transfer
For fresh eggs, egg retrieval is scheduled once your donor’s eggs are mature. After the eggs have been retrieved, they’ll be fertilized with sperm from your partner or a sperm donor. For frozen eggs, your donor’s eggs will be thawed and then fertilized with sperm from your partner or sperm donor when you’re ready.
When your embryos are ready for transfer, one or two embryos will be transferred to your uterus. However, transferring just one embryo will greatly reduce the chance of twins. Any additional high-quality embryos left from the cycle can be frozen for use at another time, especially if you’d like to have more children in the future.
Post-check-up and pregnancy test
After two weeks or so – known as the Two Week Wait – a blood pregnancy test is performed. This test checks for the presence of a pregnancy hormone called hCG in your blood.
Once positive, the test will be repeated two days later to confirm your pregnancy.
Donor eggs can help solve infertility issues
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you’ll be transferred to an obstetrician who will tend to you for the duration of your pregnancy, just like any other. While this is indeed an extensive process, trained professionals make it much easier; and in the end, you can fulfill your dream of being a parent.