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  • Signature Team

Fresh vs Frozen eggs

Once you’ve made the decision to use donor eggs to build your family, you might find yourself having to decide between using fresh donor eggs or frozen eggs. In the early days of fertility treatments with donor eggs, fresh donation was the only option because the freezing techniques had not yet been perfected. Today, both options are safe and widely used depending on the intended parents’ preferences, timelines, and budgets. 

Picking a donor is overwhelming in itself: the decision to use frozen or fresh donor eggs shouldn’t add another layer of confusion - which is why we’ve created a breakdown of the two options. 

The Key Difference

The first important distinction between frozen and fresh eggs is that the latter have not yet been retrieved. This means that the eggs are retrieved only after you match with a donor. When using a fresh egg donor, the donor will undergo stimulation and monitoring in order to produce as many viable eggs as possible. While the number of eggs retrieved cannot be guaranteed, we try to predict it to the best of our ability through hormone testing and other resources. The successfully retrieved eggs will be fertilized with sperm. The recipient's cycle can be synchronized for fresh embryo transfer. Frozen eggs, however, are eggs that are retrieved from the donor (without that donor having an IP match), then frozen through a method known as vitrification, allowing them to be stored for future use. When ready, the eggs are removed from storage, thawed, fertilized with sperm, and prepared for transfer. In this case, intended parents are aware of exactly how many eggs they are receiving, which allows them more flexibility in terms of their family building timeline.

Myths Surrounding Fresh vs Frozen Outcomes

A 2020 study which analyzed 36,925 IVF cycles found that fresh eggs have a slightly better success rate than frozen eggs. Fresh eggs had a 47.7% live birth rate, whereas frozen eggs had a 39.9% live birth rate. Fresh embryos have a comparable success rate to frozen embryos - however, these statistics do not take several factors into consideration such as: 

  • Age of woman when her eggs were collected

  • Quality of eggs and sperm used 

  • The kind of treatment taking place

  • Age of recipient when treatment took place

Advantages of Frozen Donor Eggs

As egg freezing technologies continue to improve, there are notable advantages when considering frozen donor eggs. Most importantly, there is no need to have synchronization of the cycle between the donor and recipient - which gives recipients more flexibility. Furthermore, there is also a shorter time frame from choosing a donor until having an embryo transfer when eggs are already frozen. On the other hand, should intended parents wish to postpone, they can still purchase frozen eggs and keep them for months/years until the time is right in their family-building journey. Additionally, you know how many eggs are available before beginning a cycle because the retrieval has already been done. 

While there is a slight difference in success rates between fresh and frozen donor eggs, it’s important to note that egg freezing and thawing technologies have come a long way - and will continue to become even more effective, rendering the use of frozen eggs still a safe and reliable method.

Advantages of Fresh Eggs

Using fresh donor eggs allows mature eggs to be quickly fertilized. This may supply more viable embryos - which is a good start especially if intended parents plan on having more than one child. Intended parents can select an egg donor from their egg donor agency of choice. And while the difference in birth outcomes is small, using fresh eggs has a slight advantage over frozen eggs, according to a national study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Fresh vs Frozen: Which Is Right For You?

Which method ends up being the best for you comes down to the things that are most important to you. While fresh eggs were the only option in the earliest stages of fertility treatments, the use of frozen eggs and improvement and the technology involved in the process have given aspiring parents yet another viable option. Frozen eggs’ biggest advantage is time - you can start more quickly and you won’t rely on synching with the donor’s cycle. However, with fresh eggs you may have more eggs available and a slight better chance at a successful outcome.

Whatever choice you land on, Signature Donors is here to help guide you through the process every step of the way - using our expertise, care and personal touch to make your family building dreams come true.

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