Fresh Versus Frozen Donor Cycles

We work with people who desperately want to become parents and have been told that they will need to use an egg donor to help make that dream become a reality, either due to infertility or the need for reproductive assistance such as with LGBT individuals or couples.  There are two possible scenarios available as an egg donor.  Please learn more about them below.

1) Fresh Egg Donor Cycle – You are matched directly with an intended parent(s) before beginning the three-month egg donor cycle.  At the time of your egg retrieval, the disposition of all the retrieved eggs and resulting embryos lie with the intended parents.  If they do not have success from their first transfer of embryo(s), the hope is to have the remaining embryos frozen to try again at a later date.  If they are successful, the remaining frozen embryos can be used for a genetically related sibling(s).

  • Pros – Intended parent receives all of the eggs retrieved in order to have the optimal chances of becoming pregnant.  Egg donor helps one family so the number of children genetically related to the donor is minimal.
  • Cons – Intended parent risks donor backing out, scheduling conflicts, and delays while waiting for a donor to become available. Egg donor must wait for an intended parent to express interest in her profile, which can take from a few weeks to over a year.

2) Frozen Egg Donor Cycle – You are matched with a fertility clinic/physician on behalf of their intended parents.  The egg donor cycle requires the same number of appointments but it can be completed quicker than three months because there is only your schedule to consider.  After the eggs are retrieved, they are frozen in batches of 5-7 eggs, depending on how many total are retrieved.  The main difference here is the disposition of the eggs retrieved lie with the fertility physician.  This means the physician will match each batch of eggs with an intended parent(s) after your egg retrieval.  Please be aware that at least two different families will receive a batch of your eggs.  This option has opened egg donation up to intended parents who cannot afford a fresh donor egg cycle – each of the intended parents matched with your eggs will split the cost of your one donor cycle.

  • Pros – Intended parent completes the frozen cycle without risking donor backing out, scheduling conflicts, and delays.  Frozen embryo transfers have practically the same success as a fresh transfer.  Egg donor can be matched in less time, allowing compensation to be earned more quickly while helping more than one family at a time.  Egg donor is then considered a repeat donor and easily matched for another donation.
  • Cons – Intended parent receives smaller amount of eggs, thus decreasing the number of embryo transfers. Egg donor acknowledges the increased number of children genetically related to her.

Currently egg freezing is available in select geographical regions but we are working with the largest egg bank network in the country to open the option to all of our egg donors.  You will learn more about both scenarios when you apply online and attend a New Donor Consultation.

This article was composed by Missi Lockwood, Fertility Source Companies Director of Donor Recruitment.