What You Should Know about Using Frozen Donor Eggs
The donor egg bank process is one of the most straightforward ways to obtain eggs for IVF. The frozen eggs are already available in the bank, so there is no waiting for a donor to be ready to donate fresh eggs. However, there is still a process to go through for fertility patients.
As with any fertility treatment, the first step is a consultation to discuss all the available options. Patients who are good candidates for donor egg use are those who:
The intended recipient will undergo various prenatal care tests and an evaluation of the uterus to ensure there are no reproductive issues that would interfere with IVF or carrying a pregnancy to term. She may need to undergo a “mock” cycle and embryo transfer (without an embryo) to ensure that the real process will go smoothly when the time comes.
The parents review a range of available donors with frozen eggs in reserve to determine the best match. Typically, recipients seeking donor eggs that will be fertilized with the male partner’s sperm prefer a close resemblance to their own family for physical characteristics including skin, hair, and eye color—and even blood type.
Intended parents consult an attorney who specializes in reproductive law in order to review and sign the egg donation agreement. Current law fully protects the rights of recipients for eggs, resulting embryos, and any children born from donor eggs. Throughout the egg donation process, the legal ramifications of each decision are explained to all parties. Donors understand that they are not retaining any rights to the donated eggs. The recipient of the donor eggs is considered the mother of the baby.
Payment is the next step to secure the desired donor eggs. The costs of using a batch of 8 frozen donor eggs is much lower than traditional egg donation. Frozen eggs cannot be reserved for a particular recipient until payment has been arranged.
Intended parents can obtain a batch of 5 or 8 frozen donor eggs. When the recipient is at the correct point in her cycle (which can also be optimized using hormones), the selected eggs are carefully thawed and the ones that survived injected with one sperm, a term called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The sperm can be obtained from a fresh sample or from a frozen sample previously provided by the father.
The embryos are monitored as they develop over the next several days. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) may be performed at this time to ensure that no chromosomally abnormal embryos are transferred. Hormonal supplementation is given for 12 weeks until the mother’s own pregnancy hormones reach the appropriate levels to support normal fetal development. Because the chances of pregnancy using donor eggs is high, no more than two embryos are usually transferred. Additional embryos may be frozen for later use if desired.
To learn more about the donor egg bank process, contact us at (866) 991-1990.