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Frozen Donor Eggs and You: What to Know

Have you have been trying for months or even years to become pregnant, but have come to the unfortunate realization that a natural pregnancy is just not in the cards for you? If so, choosing to use frozen donor egg IVF may be the next best option. There are many questions surrounding the process including what frozen donor eggs are, how donor egg costs compare to other methods, and what you should expect during treatment. In this article, we will explore many common questions about frozen donor egg treatment as a family-building option.

1

What are Frozen Donor Eggs?

Choosing frozen donor eggs can stir up a lot of questions — mainly, what exactly are you getting? First, a woman who wishes to donate her eggs contacts an egg bank. Before she is allowed to donate, she undergoes medical testing to see if she qualifies. Once she is approved, she provides the egg bank information such as family history, physical and genetic traits, and occupation to create a donor profile. Her eggs are then retrieved and frozen for preservation until someone chooses them.

What is the Process of Acquiring Frozen Donor Eggs?

If you decide you want to go through IVF with frozen donor eggs, here is what you can expect:

Before IVF

  • Diagnostic evaluation

The first step is the initial consultation. You will speak with both a fertility care physician and a donor coordinator, who will help you understand the process. You will need to complete testing to see what will be required to get through the program.

  • Select a donor

Selecting a donor can be one of the most important—and most difficult— parts of the entire process. Egg banks work carefully to screen all egg donors and many will work with recipients to ensure that they are matched properly. You will get to select your donor based on basic characteristics like ethnic background, occupation, and basic physical traits. You also have the option of using an egg from a friend or family member who is willing to donate. If you decide, you can use an outside agency but it is going to take longer and be more expensive.

  • Get counseling

Following donor selection, you should take the time to get professional counseling. Even though having a baby is a beautiful experience, this can be a very emotional time for you.

  • Make it legal

You must make all the legal details final. In most cases, donors sign off all the rights to the baby. However, you may be able to decide if they remain active in the life of the child. This would be something to think about if the egg was coming from a family member. Just make sure you see your attorney and everything is in black and white.

During IVF

  • Hormonal suppression

Your doctor will work carefully to figure out your cycle and find out when the best chances for implantation are so you have the best chances of getting pregnant. After that, hormonal suppression will be used to prevent your normal menstrual bleeding. The process with frozen eggs is 2-4 weeks shorter than with fresh eggs because there is no need to sync your cycle with the donor.

  • Thawing and fertilization

The frozen eggs you choose will be thawed and fertilized with your partner’s or a donor’s sperm.

  • Implantation

About three to five days after the fertilization attempt, your embryo will be transferred to your uterus.

After IVF

  • Pregnancy test

A few weeks after the implantation, it’s time for the pregnancy test. You can do this at home or a doctor’s office. Make certain you and your partner emotionally prepare yourselves for the outcome.

Pros and Cons of Frozen Donor Eggs

There are plenty of benefits to using frozen donor eggs, including generally lower cost, a shorter time frame to get pregnant, and the ability to save eggs for further pregnancies. While IVF using fresh donor eggs may currently have a higher success rate than frozen eggs, the rates are very comparable thanks to advancements in technology.

In the end, only you and your partner can decide what choice is best. If you have any questions, you can turn to the egg bank of your choice for success rates and any other questions you may have. Carefully review all your options while deciding what you want to do, and best wishes to you on your journey to parenthood!

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