What’s the Difference Between Fresh and Frozen Donor Eggs?

fresh vs. frozen donor eggs

You’ve decided you’re ready to use donor eggs to have a baby, but you’re unsure whether fresh or frozen donor eggs are the right choice. It’s likely that you have a lot of questions about the difference between the two options. After all, picking an egg donor is overwhelming enough; deciding between whether to use fresh or frozen donor eggs shouldn’t add another layer of confusion to the process.

We’ll break down what you need to know about the two different methods and how to choose which is right for you.

Fresh donor eggs: pros and cons

When talking about the difference between fresh donor eggs and frozen donor eggs, it’s important to remember that one of the key points is that fresh eggs haven’t yet been retrieved. Using fresh donor eggs means that the oocytes (eggs) won’t be available immediately after choosing your donor.

Pros of using fresh donor eggs

There are several reasons some intended parents choose to use fresh donor eggs, especially if both your budget and timing are flexible.

First, you may have access to a higher number of eggs from a fresh donor cycle compared to a frozen egg batch. When using a fresh egg donor, she will go through an IVF cycle. Usually, all eggs retrieved will be fertilized and made into embryos for the intended parents. This means that there is the potential to have more eggs available from a fresh egg donor cycle than you would receive in a frozen donor egg “batch.” If intended parents are hoping to have more than one child using the same egg donor, they may prefer to do a fresh egg donor cycle.

Additionally, there is some evidence from a 2021 study that the success rate with fresh donor eggs is higher than with frozen donor eggs. Hopeful parents may opt to use fresh donor eggs due to the fact that they have a slightly better chance of successful fertilization and implantation the first time.

Cons of using fresh donor eggs

However, there are also downsides to opting for a fresh donor egg cycle. When using fresh donor eggs you’re at the mercy of the universe. Unforeseen circumstances (like your donor falling ill or missing a cycle) could push back your timeline. In addition, not all rounds are successful. It is possible that your egg donor does not have as many eggs retrieved as you and your doctor were expecting. Alternatively, using frozen donor eggs does provide a guarantee of the number of eggs you will receive.

Additionally, using freshly retrieved eggs can be more expensive and require significantly more coordination between all parties involved. If you’re on a tight budget and timeline, using fresh donor eggs could get a bit tricky.

Frozen donor eggs: pros and cons

If you are using frozen donor eggs from an egg bank, the retrieval process has already taken place. You can begin the fertilization and implantation process shortly after selecting your donor. This method can possibly cut months from your fertility timeline. It can make becoming a parent all that much closer to becoming a reality.

Pros of using frozen donor eggs

With less coordination needed—there’s no need to match cycles and combine schedules—the costs can go down as well. This can be a more cost-effective approach for some families for whom budgeting (and timing) is a major sticking point. Additionally, you’ll likely have a larger donor pool because frozen eggs can be shipped from a wider variety of places. When using fresh donor eggs, you’re more limited by who you can select as your potential donors because you need to consider where the donor lives and when she is available for a cycle.

Another advantage to frozen donor eggs is many egg banks provide a guarantee that you will have a good quality embryo for transfer. This guarantee program can give intended parents peace of mind that there will at least be an embryo transfer at the end of this process.

Cons of using frozen donor eggs

If you’re hoping to grow your family considerably, you may not have access to as many frozen eggs as you’d like. Typically, frozen donor eggs are released in batches of around six—with the option to buy more if they are available.

Fresh donor eggs vs frozen donor eggs: which is right for you?

The best option for your growing family will really come down to the things that are most important to you. If you value getting started quickly and having a variety of options at your disposal, frozen donor eggs may be the better choice. With this approach, you can you make sure that you’re working on your own timeline and you can ensure that you’re staying on budget throughout the process.

That being said, if your budget is flexible, or if you are hoping to have multiple children using the same egg donor, fresh donor eggs may be the way to go.