Egg Freezing, what do you think?
I am curious to know what the general thinking is in the field regarding the move toward frozen egg banks. With the progress of better and better freezing techniques it seems that we are not very far from moving in the direction of egg banks rather than fresh cycles. There are already a number of frozen egg banks in the country. I don’t know how often intended parents choose frozen donor egg cycles. I know that my clients, so far, are not interested in frozen eggs when they are looking for an egg donor. For now the average intended parents that I deal with seem to feel more secure in owning all of the eggs from their donor’s retrieval so that if they should want to try again they will hopefully have frozen embryos. The average fresh cycle is usually 10-20 eggs. Most egg banks sell 8 at a time.
The success rates now seem to be rivaling the success rate of fresh cycles. From the buzz at the professional conferences it seems that the reproductive endocrinologists (REs) are all for this time saving advancement. Couples would not have to wait to be in-sync with there donor or wait until the donor has finished finals. There would be one less unpredictable factor in the equation. Eggs would be readily available.
There are still many unanswered questions, which make me think that we may not ever completely eliminate fresh cycles. One issue of course is the cost of extracting eggs from donor. Egg banks of course choose only the most likely to match donors with the best health background (we hope) and a high potential to produce multiple eggs so that the cost can be recouped by using her eggs for 2-3 cycles instead of just one. This would also cut down on the number of frozen embryos in storage but there is always the chance that thought donor they think will be easy to match might not. People are understandable very particular as to who they choose to join their families gene pool. I know as I am always in search of the “perfect” egg donor and that is going to be different for every couple.
With having one donor’s eggs available to more intended parents the issue of consanguinity rather concerning. Donors are limited to having six retrievals, if that same donor now is helping possible 3 times as many families we have jumped from 6 families related to this one donor to 18 families not counting the egg donors own future children. If intended parents were worried about genetic relatives of their donor conceived children before the odds have just gone up dramatically that these children possibly could meet and date some day, yet another reason for full disclosure.
Another issue arises with the efficiency of egg donor banks has to do with the feeling that some of the human warmth and connectivity is being removed from the process. There is less chance for intended parent and egg donor to have any contact. Young women tend to move a lot in there twenties as the complete college and enter the work force. While some may think that is a good thing for the complications it can eliminate in the short term it may lead to more complications in the long term as discussed in earlier post. Meeting for many of my couples and egg donors has brought them piece of mind. The intended parents know that the donor is a nice person who they can feel proud to tell their child about. The donor sees that this couple/individual are warm and wonderful people who will be great parents. While I appreciate the advances in technology I am still left with more questions than answers.