Periods: for most women a monthly hassle, but generally not the end of the world. For women that are struggling with infertility, however, their monthly visitor becomes an unwelcome reminder that there’s still no baby.
If you are one of these women who have seen too many tampons and not enough plus signs on pregnancy tests, then it might be time to start considering alternative fertility treatments. Donor eggs, for example, have become a valid choice for many couples hoping to conceive.
Generally, women who choose to conceive through donor eggs are of advanced maternal age, have a medical condition, or have low ovarian reserves. Using a donor egg is similar to traditional in vitro fertilization; instead of going through egg retrieval yourself, however, a donor provides a number of eggs to give you the gift of a family.
Why choose frozen donor eggs? Here are five reasons to help you decide.
- There’s no time like the present.
Waiting for a fresh egg donor to complete her screening process and preliminary testing is only the start of a long waiting period for fresh egg recipients. The donor must also undergo a hormone stimulation regimen that allows her to produce enough eggs for the retrieval process, in addition to making sure your menstrual cycle has synced up with hers. Overall, this process can take several months, or up to a year.
Meanwhile, with frozen eggs, the egg retrieval process has already occurred. The eggs are ready to be shipped to your facility whenever you say “go.” The waiting period between selecting your frozen donor eggs and having an embryo transferred into your body can be as little as one to three months. That means, theoretically, you could go through in vitro fertilization with a frozen donor egg and give birth to your beautiful baby in the time it would have taken just to get pregnant with a fresh donor egg.
Haven’t you waited long enough already?
- A cycle with frozen eggs cost less.
There are many expenses involved in procuring fresh donor eggs. For instance, you will be responsible for covering the donor’s medication to stimulate egg production and the cost of the egg retrieval procedure. You will also need to pay for the medication for both yourself and the donor to synchronize cycles – this ensures she’s ready to provide the eggs at the same time as you’re ready to fertilize and implant the embryos. Depending on where she lives, you may even need to pay for her travel back and forth to your fertility clinic. And of course, don’t forget your own medical bills.
Conversely, with frozen donor eggs, most of these costs are built into the price of the donor egg package as a flat fee. Additionally, since the costs of the donor cycle are generally split between several recipients, one frozen donor egg cycle costs about half as much as a cycle using fresh eggs. Some facilities even offer guarantee programs that that will provide a full refund if you haven’t experienced a live-birth after a certain number of tries.
- There’s less uncertainty.
Growing your family through donated frozen eggs can remove some of the uncertainties from a very emotionally trying experience. When you choose a donor from a frozen egg bank, you know up front how many eggs you will receive based on the lot you selected. Industry standard suggests a number between five and eight eggs being ideal. You are also guaranteed only mature eggs in an egg lot.
With fresh egg donations, the egg retrieval doesn’t happen until you have chosen a donor – you are depending on everything to go right. If the donor takes her stimulation medication improperly, or if she simply does not respond well to it, the egg retrieval may not be successful. The number of eggs the doctor is able to retrieve is the number of eggs you will get. There could be 15, or there could be only three – it’s impossible to know in advance.
- Choose the donor you like.
Most clinics and egg banks that offer frozen donor eggs have very strict standards for donors. Women who wish to donate eggs must pass medical, genetic, and psychological tests. Those who are interested in using donated eggs can choose amongst donors using criteria ranging from height and eye color to education level.
With fresh egg donation, you are generally limited to a local pool of donors. Additionally, the donor does not begin the prescreening process until after you have selected her, and it is entirely possible that the donor you love could be screened out before she even makes it to egg retrieval.
- Feel your baby growing inside you.
Surrogacy and adoption are beautiful options for many families, but if you’ve dreamt of seeing yourself with a baby bump, or knowing what it really feels like when the baby kicks, then donated eggs can give you that opportunity. Along the way, you will get to experience other milestones, too, like seeing your baby on ultrasound for the first time and finding out whether you are having a little boy or a little girl. All these experiences, and the quiet moments you share, will help you will forge the amazing bond you’ve been searching for.
For these reasons (and many more) women who long to become mothers or expand their family are turning to donated, frozen eggs. Isn’t it amazing what modern technology can do?