If you’re considering using donor eggs, you are probably aware that one of the choices you’ll have to make is whether to use fresh or frozen eggs. You also probably have questions about what the differences are between the two. A fresh donor egg cycle is when you handpick a live donor, and you get all the eggs retrieved from her ovulation, no matter the quality and quantity of them. A frozen egg cycle means that you work with an egg bank and you will get a specific number of eggs – usually six – to fertilize.
Choosing which of these is better is a very personal and individual choice. Many factors come into play, including your situation and your particular needs. Do you want one child, or do you want to try for siblings? Do you want them to be biological siblings? Is your time limited? Do you have insurance?
Some people tend to think that frozen egg cycles are cheaper than using an egg donor, but that’s not necessarily the case. A single transfer may be less costly, so if you want only one child and get pregnant the first time, you may save money going this route. If you do not get pregnant, or if you want to try for a sibling, you’ll have to pay for another cycle.
With a fresh donor egg cycle, all the eggs from the donor you choose are yours. That means that if the cycle yields 24 eggs and ten become fertilized, you can transfer a couple and freeze the rest for later. If you don’t get pregnant the first time, or if you want to try for a sibling, you can transfer more eggs from the same donor without paying an egg bank or agency again.
Other things to keep in mind include:
- Egg banks have fewer donors than egg donation agencies; you’ll have an easier time finding a good match using a fresh donor egg cycle.
- With frozen egg donation, you won’t be able to ask questions to get more information about the donor, should you want it.
- You won’t know how many other couples used frozen eggs from the same donor, and therefore your child may have several half siblings that you won’t know about.
- Frozen egg cycles are faster; if you are in a rush, this may be a better option.
Overall, fresh donor egg cycles have a higher success rate than frozen, but as you can see, there are other factors to consider. It’s up to you, and your health care team, to decide which option is best for you and your family.