Blog > Fresh versus Frozen Eggs in Donor Egg IVF: The 7 Factors to Consider

Fresh versus Frozen Eggs in Donor Egg IVF: The 7 Factors to Consider

The fresh versus frozen eggs debate is popular in the IVF community, especially when using donor eggs for fertility treatment. If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of fresh and frozen eggs for use within egg donation treatment, this page is for you.

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Written by Apricity Team
Frozen Eggs in Donor Egg IVF

1. Fresh eggs have better success rates than frozen eggs

A 2020 study which analysed 36,925 IVF cycles found that fresh eggs have better success rates than frozen eggs: fresh eggs had a 47.7% live birth rate, versus 39.6% for frozen eggs.

When it comes to embryos, fresh embryos have comparable success rates to frozen embryos. However, these statistics don’t take several factors into consideration, such as:

  • The age of a woman when her eggs were collected, which is one of the most important factors in determining success 

  • The quality of the eggs and sperm used within treatment

  • Age of woman when treatment took place

  • The kind of treatment taking place, which is key in donor egg IVF

This is why when comparing success rates for fresh versus frozen eggs within egg donation, it pays to look specifically at donor egg IVF.

2. With frozen eggs, there are usually fewer eggs for treatment

Generally, frozen eggs are sold in batches of 6 or 10, but this likely isn’t the number of eggs you’ll actually end up with for treatment. Frozen eggs must survive the thaw - the process of defrosting - and unfortunately not all do

Thawing technology has made huge strides, but eggs remain more fragile than embryos when it comes to thawing. For example, our partner clinic IVF London has an embryo thaw survival rate of >95%. The thaw survival rate for frozen eggs is >85%. This means if you have 10 frozen eggs to start with, you may not have 10 after the thaw - more like 8 or 9.

As a comparison, our average egg collection number is 16 eggs from one egg donor. These would not be subject to thawing, and would all be fresh and ready for fertilisation to create embryos. If there are surplus embryos which can be frozen, these thaw more successfully than frozen eggs.

3. More eggs mean more embryos, significantly increasing overall chances of success and genetically-related siblings

With more eggs available, there are more opportunities to create embryos. This increases the overall potential for success and also increases the chances of building a family with genetically-related siblings.

More eggs mean more chances to make embryos. In turn, this means more chances to select the best embryos and freeze the rest for future embryo transfers. And as we’ve already discussed, embryos have greater thaw rate survival than eggs.

Should treatment be unsuccessful or the recipient(s) wish to continue growing their family with a genetically-related sibling, there is a good chance another egg collection would not be necessary. With frozen eggs, the opposite is true. It is unlikely that you would be able to use the same egg donor again.

To give an example of success rates, at Altrui by Apricity we have an 86% cumulative clinical pregnancy rate for egg donor IVF. This is defined as up to 3 recipient embryo transfer events from one cohort of donor eggs.

happy family with a baby apricity family

4. 1:1 donation with fresh eggs is more cost-effective

Doing 1:1 egg donation with fresh eggs is also particularly cost-effective, as fewer cycles (both for the recipient and donor) are more efficient and less expensive. 

With frozen eggs, you are starting one step behind. Hopefully a high percentage of eggs would survive the thawing process, which would hopefully create embryos. However, if fertilisation does not happen, you would have to start over.

5. Frozen eggs are usually split

With frozen eggs, the eggs of one donor may be split amongst several recipients. They may also be split between recipients and the donor. This is called egg sharing, and is incentivized by lower-cost fertility treatment for the donor herself. In other words, the donor may need fertility treatment, and choose to donate some of her eggs in order to have treatment at a lower cost.

Egg sharing can be an effective way for a donor’s eggs to help more people, but means that eggs are split.

With a service like ours, all of a donor’s eggs go to one recipient or recipient couple. If there are many high quality eggs - considerably more than the recipient can use - that is the only time we may suggest egg sharing to maximise a donor’s help. This would be entirely subject to the recipient’s wishes.

6. Frozen eggs allow for faster, more convenient treatment

Frozen eggs are more convenient when it comes to timing. With fresh eggs, recipients and intended parents may have to wait a long time before fresh eggs are available. With Apricity, our current waiting time to match is around 4 weeks, but we know that this is much faster than the standard. Because frozen eggs have already been collected, there is no waiting period. 

Treatment is also faster with frozen eggs because there is less coordination involved. Fresh eggs require accurate planning - the donor and recipient (or surrogate) must synchronise their cycles so that once eggs are collected, they are ready to be fertilised and transferred to the recipient at a particular time. There is a great importance on choosing an appropriate clinic which can look after the donor and the recipient as they both prepare for treatment. 

Frozen eggs remove this consideration, although this also brings certain limits

7. Selection is more limited with frozen eggs 

With frozen eggs, the selection available is what is there. With a service like Apricity’s, we actively find a dedicated intended donor which matches your requirements and wishes. You would get extensive information on your egg donor - more than you would get anywhere else. Often, this includes a non-identifying photo of the donor as a child. They are not required to include this, but many do. 

Apricity, is driven by success within fertility treatment. We want to make fertility as simple, convenient and supported as possible. 

We believe the case for fresh eggs leads to greater chances of success, demonstrated by our 86% cumulative clinical pregnancy rate*

Register your interest as a recipient to receive more information on our 1:1 bespoke matching service and how using fresh eggs for egg donation treatment could benefit you. 

* defined as up to three recipient embryo transfer events from one cohort of donor eggs

Written by Apricity Team

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