Frozen Eggs May Help Improve Fertility Treatment Options

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • For some women, egg donors are the best chance they have of becoming pregnant. Usually this is because their own eggs have been found to be of poor quality. This could be from a number of different reasons:

    • Early menopause
    • Premature ovarian failure
    • History of genetic disease
    • Ovaries not responding to stimulation
    • Hormonal imbalance

    Women who delay pregnancy, by choice, until they are in the 40s may also want to use an egg donor.

     

    The process of looking for an egg donor, however, can be difficult. Donors must be screened for medical and psychological problems. They must use medication to synchronize their cycles with the recipient’s menstrual cycle and be willing to come in to be tested on a regular basis. When their hormonal levels indicate their eggs are fertile, the donor and recipient must be available for the transfer. All of this takes time and patience. It may take many months to find a donor and wait for the right time for the doctor to harvest the eggs and transplant them to the recipient.

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    Better Accessibility


    In recent months, this process has become easier, thanks to improved technology for freezing eggs. Using frozen eggs was considered experimental, but last week the American Society for Reproductive Medicine took them off the experimental list, making frozen eggs potentially more accessible.

    Some websites are offering women the opportunity to “shop” for frozen eggs. Because donors aren’t readily available in all areas, this gives those living in these areas a wider variety of donor eggs to choose from. Each donor bank may have its own rules, for example, My Egg Bank ships frozen eggs, but recipients must be treated at an affiliated clinic.

     

    Costs


    No matter whether you look for a local donor and use fresh eggs or choose to shop for frozen eggs online, using an egg donor is expensive. According to an article on CNN.com, a lot of between six and eight frozen eggs costs $10,000 – and there is no guarantee you will get pregnant. Altogether, the costs for using frozen eggs, with doctor fees, run around $16,000. This, however, is significantly less expensive than using fresh eggs, which can run closer to $30,000. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t help pay for frozen eggs – at least not yet – because it has been considered experimental. Now that it is no longer experimental, insurance companies may begin including frozen eggs in claim payments. Check with your insurance company before choosing this option.

     

    Success Rate


    Dr. Juergen Eisermann, according to the article on CNN, says his success rate with frozen eggs is only about one third of what it is with fresh eggs, however, he thinks with experience, these rates will continue to improve.

     

    Screening and Choosing a Donor


    Using a local donor, one that has been screened by your doctor, gives you more reliable information. You trust your doctor and the physical and psychological screening is completed right in your area. Buying frozen eggs online may give you more choices, you can probably choose a donor with details similar to your own – such as hair and eye color. You can use filters to find traits and characteristics of the donor that you feel are important. But you still must trust in a company you don’t know and one that you may not be able to visit as they may be located across the country. You have to trust that the personnel at the donor bank are just as thorough as your own doctor.

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    References:

     

    “Donor Eggs,” Updated 2012, April, Staff Writer, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

     

    “Egg Freezing Changing Fertility Treatments,” 2012, Oct. 22, Elizabeth  Cohen, CNN.com

     

Published On: October 23, 2012