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Frozen Eggs: Making Egg Donation Affordable

Posted Jun 07 2013 12:00am


Affordable egg programs NYC
For many couples with infertility, egg donation may be their last and only option to conceive a child. Egg donation with fresh eggs does have high pregnancy success rates, yet unfortunately it’s beyond the financial reach of many couples. Fresh egg donation programs average at around $25,000 per cycle – and that’s before the cost of the medications for both the donor and recipient.

Is there an alternative that makes egg donation affordable?  

Yes – many fertility centers now offer the choice of using frozen eggs (instead of fresh eggs) for more affordable egg donation programs . Using frozen eggs makes a huge difference in the cost. On average, it will be around half the price of a center’s standard egg donation program. (Note:  Use of frozen eggs is not to be confused with the use of frozen embryos. Frozen egg donation is distinct. The donor’s frozen eggs are thawed and fertilized with partner/donor sperm, and then the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using frozen donor eggs?

Advantages: The principal advantage of frozen egg donor programs is the cost. It makes egg donation more accessible. Some couples also prefer the lower number of eggs received via frozen egg donation. On average they will receive around 5 eggs, which mean it’s unlikely that they’ll have excess eggs post implantation – an attraction for couples who don’t wish to freeze excess eggs for ethical/religious reasons.

Disadvantages: To decrease cost, frozen egg donation programs offer less choice and egg numbers. Many centers offer couples the opportunity to choose the nationality of their egg donor with standard egg donation programs. With frozen egg donor programs, the nationality choice may be limited to which donor eggs the center has in abundance.  The number of eggs received is also lower, leaving less chance for couples to freeze any excess eggs for future fertility treatment.

Dr. Norbert Gleicher, Medical Director at Center for Human Reproduction NYC, discusses in detail the advantages and disadvantages of frozen egg donation.




Do the success rates differ between frozen egg use and fresh egg use?

Frozen egg use is a relatively new practice. Many centers don’t have enough data collected to ascertain exactly how successful their frozen egg programs are. Unfortunately, to get individual clinics success rates, we will have to wait.

The good news? The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (or ASRM) announced that in general, frozen eggs yield successful pregnancies and healthy babies comparable to the use of fresh eggs for IVF.

For the official report, we’ll have to wait for the release of statistics by infertility centers, which will not be ready for a good few years to come.

The unofficial report – using frozen eggs for IVF treatment seems like it’s an affordable alternative to using fresh eggs, which doesn’t drastically compromise pregnancy success rates.
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