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Frozen Egg Bank FAQ

By Lucy Solie-Vilker, Program Director of Donor Nexus

Q: Why would an intended parent use frozen donor eggs rather than fresh donor eggs?

A: There are multiple reasons why intended parents often choose to use frozen donor eggs.

1. Affordability: Using frozen donor eggs is usually less expensive than undergoing a fresh donor egg cycle. Because the frozen donor eggs can be given to multiple sets of intended parents, you are not responsible for the entire cost associated with creating and freezing the eggs.

2. Shortened Treatment Time: Because the frozen eggs are ready for immediate use, you can cycle sooner without months of delay that often occur with fresh donor egg cycles.

3. Reduced Risk: Frozen donor eggs guarantee that your cycle will not be cancelled due to the donor’s failure to pass prescreening evaluations, an unexpected or unforeseen life event, or the IVF physician’s decision to cancel the treatment cycle due to the donor’s lack of response to the medications.

4. Convenience: If you are an intended parent who is on a strict timeline, has a very busy schedule or lives far away from your fertility clinic, frozen donor eggs allow you to schedule your treatment cycle without having to coordinate with the egg donor’s school/work/personal schedule.

Q: How many eggs do you usually receive?

A: At the majority of egg banks, you will receive a minimum of five (5) mature eggs. The number of eggs that are available from each frozen egg donor is usually listed on the egg donor’s profile on the specific egg bank’s donor database. The exact number of eggs you receive is usually dependent on the number of eggs remaining/available from the donor.

Q: How many eggs are usually in a “lot” or straw of eggs?

A: The number of eggs in a straw varies from clinic to clinic. Some clinics freeze each egg separately while some clinics freeze multiple eggs in the same straw. Q: How much do frozen donor egg cycles cost?

A: The average cost of a frozen donor egg cycle varies depending on the number of eggs, the specific egg donor, and the egg bank. Most frozen donor egg cycles cost between $15,000-$20,000.

Q: Are my drugs included in the cost?

A: No. Because different doctors prescribe different medications, the frozen egg cycles do not usually cover the cost of medication.

Q: What are the success rates of using frozen donor eggs?

A: Because the use of frozen donor eggs is still relatively new, the success rates are not reported publicly by SART or the CDC. However, most well established egg banks are recording success rates above 50%, with the average around 65%.

Q: What if I get bad eggs?

A: The majority of egg banks only freeze mature eggs. Be sure to clarify that the eggs you will be receiving are mature. Some egg banks have guarantees in the event not all of the eggs survive the thawing process. You should be sure to ask if the egg bank you are interested in has guarantees.

Q: Can the frozen donor eggs be shipped anywhere in the Untied States?

A: Most egg banks partner with specific fertility clinics. The partnering fertility clinics are usually listed on the egg bank’s website. In addition, some states have strict laws requiring specific licenses to be held by the egg bank before they allow any fertility clinic in that state to accept frozen donor eggs.

Q: How long does it take to complete the treatment cycle?

A: Typically it takes 6-10 weeks from the day you chose your frozen egg donor to the day of embryo transfer. There are certain factors that can either expedite or delay the treatment cycle. For example, the length of time it takes the egg bank to ship the frozen eggs to your fertility clinic or the medication protocol to prepare the intended mother or gestational carrier’s uterus for implantation can both affect the treatment timeline. Most clinics estimate that from the time you begin medications to the day of the embryo transfer is four (4) weeks.

Q: Do egg donors who donate eggs to egg banks have to go through the same screening as egg donors who go through fresh cycles?

A: Yes, egg donors who donate to egg banks go through the exact same screening including infectious disease screening, genetic testing, psychological screening, and legal screening.

Q: Are your egg donors genetically screened?

A: Yes, the egg donor’s have a genetic blood panel completed that screens for all major genetic disorders including cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s Disease, and Fragile-X.

Q: What does it mean if a donor has a “genetic flag”?

A: A genetic flag means that the egg donor either is a carrier for or has an atypical result for a genetic disease. When this occurs, most egg banks require the person who is providing the specimen to test negative for the specific genetic disorder. As long as the male partner is not a carrier of the same genetic disease, the egg bank will allow you to move forward with the cycle. Most egg banks also require you to speak to a genetic counselor and your doctor to go over the risks involved.

Q: How are the legalities of donor who egg bank handled? Are there contracts?

A: There are standard contracts most egg banks have with the intended parents. You can have a lawyer review the contract if you want. The egg donor’s sign a contract with the egg bank prior to the egg donation.

Q: Will your company do known egg donation cycles through the egg bank?

A: Donor Nexus does offer known egg donation cycles through the egg bank. We have frozen eggs from donor’s that are comfortable meeting the intended parent’s or registering on the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR).

Q: Will the donor I choose have the ability to register with the Donor Sibling Registry if I pay for it and she's willing?

A: Yes, as long as the donor is comfortable registering.

Q: What questions should I ask when speaking to an egg bank?

A: There are four questions you should be sure to ask prior to choosing an egg bank or frozen egg donor.

1. What is your policy if all or some of the eggs do not survive the thaw?
2. Have any of the frozen eggs on the specific donor been used? If so, what was the outcome?
3. What is your success rate using frozen donor eggs?

Lucy Solie-Vilker graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology. Lucy was originally on the path toward medical school in hopes of becoming a fertility specialist when the opportunity to become the Program Director of Donor Nexus led her in another direction. Lucy spent a considerable amount of time working as a clinical assistant to a fertility specialist. It was during this time that Lucy gained invaluable knowledge that she is now able to provide her patients with each day. Lucy feels lucky to have a career that is so rewarding. She feels privileged to be part of such an important and monumental part of each patient’s life. When Lucy is not working, she enjoys spinning, running, yoga, and attending USC football games.

Visit Donor Nexus’s website to find out more about frozen donor eggs, www.myeggdonation.com

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