In-house (IVF clinic) or external egg bank?

Should you choose fresh eggs made available by your IVF clinic or should you get frozen eggs from an external egg bank?

Egg banks specialize in acquiring eggs and egg donors. They also sell frozen eggs or offer donor availability – that is when a donor travels to a fertility clinic where the IVF procedure is done and donates her eggs.

There are some advantages of using an external egg bank like the fact that you can choose from a far wider range of donors than in an IVF clinic. Some of the egg banks claim that frozen eggs have the same success rate as fresh eggs and are 50% less expensive. In fact, most of new medical research shows that the success rates for fresh and frozen eggs are indeed similar. The costs of using egg banks seem to be lower than fresh egg cycle cost at an IVF clinic, especially when the cost of one fresh cycle is spread among more than one egg recipient. However, it is a fact that in the frozen cycle you get less eggs because during devitrification process (thawing) only 50 to 60 percent survive.

Egg banks usually give you access to donor registry on their websites. It is pretty easy to get full access to donor profiles where you can find egg donor photos, description of appearance, education level, ethnicity, talents and hobbies. Larger banks provide also fresh eggs but this of course increases the cost significantly. Most egg banks are pretty transparent about the fact they prefer selling frozen eggs. Very often banks stress how problematic fresh donations can be for them, mentioning issues like:

  • providing medication to the donor egg before the egg retrieval,
  • coordinating the menstrual cycles,
  • higher costs,
  • travel arrangements and
  • transportation issues.

Egg banks usually do not mention any disadvantages of using frozen eggs at all – they are transparent with their preferences. They oddly rarely mention the risks of eggs extraction compared to fresh eggs donation. Why? Does the fact that the extraction was made in the past make it any different? No, no it does not, it’s the same procedure. Definitely, selling frozen eggs is a lot easier for egg banks: there is a lot less administrative work to be done with frozen oocytes sale. Simply put the “product” is cheaper to “manufacture” which, in turn, provides more profit for the egg bank. Let us not forget that while the egg donations do a lot of good for a lot of people, it is still business for the banks. Another thing is the guarantee of a specific donor. Can you be 100% sure that you receive the eggs of a donor you have chosen?

There is also a third option – a donor from an egg bank with fresh cycle. It is definitely the most expensive option because the donor has to travel to the clinic where the recipient is having the treatment and that adds a lot to the overall costs of the treatment. The advantage would probably be the fact that such a bank will have a wider range of donor to choose from.

EggDonationFriends advice is to consider each option carefully, compare the costs, look at pros and cons and do proper research. We do not aim to discourage you from using any egg bank’s services – we simply aim to educate you and encourage you to be vigilant and careful in your choices. Read more about success rates of fresh and frozen eggs, watch educational webinars, consult a few fertility specialists. Our tip is: if someone says to you “this is better”, it might as well mean it is more profitable for them if you choose it. However, do not be discouraged in any way. Having a set goal in mind (conception and successful birth of a healthy baby) should help you make the right, well-thought-out decisions.