IVF is an advanced Artificial Reproductive Technique (ART) which involves fertilization of eggs with sperms in the lab to produce embryo(s) and have the same implanted in the uterus. In many complicated cases, such as those with premature ovarian failure or advanced maternal age, specialists rely on donor eggs to carry out the IVF. There are two options for IVF patients using donor eggs, namely fresh donor eggs and frozen donor eggs.
Traditionally, fresh donor eggs have been used for IVF but with the passage of time and technological advancement, frozen donor eggs have become a feasible option for the same. The reasons why frozen eggs are regarded as a preferred option are more than one. It is considered better for all- the donor, the patient and the IVF specialist and here we see how.
Egg Freezing and IVF
Egg freezing, also known as cryopreservation, was initially carried out using freeze thaw process. The procedure was not so efficient and resulted in loss of a number of eggs. For this reason, experts continually worked on looking for better and more advanced techniques of egg freezing. Also, they had to rely on fresh eggs for donor IVF in most cases. However, after the advent of verification technique of egg freezing, there has been a dramatic improvement in the survival rates of the frozen eggs. Today, these are being widely used for IVF procedure.
Once it becomes certain that a woman cannot get pregnant with her own eggs, the next step is to find a suitable donor for her. Frozen donor eggs are made available for the patient and used for IVF following a strict protocol for the same. While the frozen eggs are thawed and merged with the sperms in the lab using IVF, at the same time, the recipient’s uterus is prepared to receive the embryo.
For this purpose, she is administered oral dosage of estrogen along with progesterone injections. The right timing of embryo transfer is of prime importance because the receptivity of the uterus greatly determines the chances of embryo implantation (and pregnancy). The success rate of IVF may be compromised if there is a time lag between the growth of eggs in the donor ovaries and the growth rate of the endometrial lining for the latter to be prepared for successful implantation. Frozen egg IVF brings a resolution for this problem.
How do frozen donor eggs make a better option?
As said before, the synchronization of the embryo culture and recipient’s uterine receptivity is of key importance for the success of IVF. The process becomes tough in case of fresh donor eggs as the specialist has to fine tune the donor and recipient cycles to perfection. At the same time, there are several other reasons why frozen donor eggs emerge as a better option:
- The donor can be super ovulated naturally for frozen egg IVF as these eggs have to be stored for later use. There are no complicated timing and synchronization issues in this case.
- The number of eggs available for transfer is reasonably good, which improves the chances of getting at least two high quality blastocysts for transfer. When fresh eggs are used, there is no guarantee about the number of good quality eggs (and subsequently embryos), which would be available at the end of the cycle. This means that there is always a risk of a failed cycle as compared to high probability in case of frozen egg IVF.
- Additionally, the eggs can be screened for infectious diseases (as is done with donor sperms), which makes the process much safer.
- Frozen egg donor IVF is a much faster process because the recipient need not be queued up for getting the egg donation and she can have the frozen ones as soon as she is ready for the cycle.
- The choice of donor eggs is wider for the couples as they get the opportunity to look through a wider pool with the frozen egg option, as compared to relying on a single egg donor as in case of fresh eggs.
Generally speaking, frozen donor egg IVF technique has a series of benefits over that with fresh donor eggs. A good IVF clinic can make use of the technique to improve the chances of implantation of the frozen egg embryo by matching it up with uterine receptivity. The technique is likely to yield even better results in the coming years as medical technology becomes more advanced.
Gaudium IVF is a renowned infertility clinic which excels at combating all major fertility-related complications using advanced techniques such as egg donation. Visit Gaudium IVF for a free second opinion from the expert fertility specialist, Dr Manika Khanna.