What are donor eggs?
Donor eggs are eggs donated by a woman to a fertility clinic or to an egg bank, to be used in the fertility treatment of another woman hoping to get pregnant. In 2014 there were 9,815 donor egg recipient cycles conducted in different fertility clinics across the United States. Each cycle brings with it the hope of creating a new life.
The process of donating eggs
In order to donate eggs, the egg donor will for 10-14 days have to take self-administered injections that will stimulate the ovarian follicles to produce and mature eggs as well as temporarily suppress her natural cycle.
When the eggs are mature, the eggs are retrieved with a needle through the vagina under ultrasound guidance. During the procedure the egg donor will be given intravenous (IV) sedation. The procedure takes 20-30 minutes and the donor can to return to work and other normal activities within 24 hours.
Fertility treatment with donor eggs
After retrieval, the donor eggs are fertilized with the partner’s or a donor’s sperm, and the embryos are transferred to the recipient woman. This procedure can take place both with fresh eggs, shortly after the retrieval, or with frozen eggs that have been thawed.
Since the first human donor egg pregnancy, there have been many advancements in assisted reproductive technologies. The ability to use frozen donor eggs instead of fresh donor eggs is one such advancement.
Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs
- A fresh donor egg procedure is more complex than a frozen, as it requires that the egg donor’s cycle is synced to the recipient’s cycle. It may be hard to find the perfect donor as there is less availability.
- Frozen donor egg procedure allows the recipient to search through databases of egg donors whose eggs are already available. It is possible to obtain the quantity needed and syncing the cycle of the recipient with the donor is not necessary.
Due to the above mentioned reasons the frozen donor eggs have made the process more efficient and easier for the recipient. Studies have shown comparable success rates between the two, and frozen donor eggs are as likely to result in a pregnancy as fresh donor eggs.
In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) announced that it no longer considered egg freezing to be experimental. In 2016, Cryos opened the first fully independent frozen egg bank in the U.S and has helped countless women and couples start the family of their dreams.