In developed countries, more and more women are delaying the moment of having children until later in life. This has led to an increase in the number of assisted reproduction treatments using donor eggs, and as a result an increased demand for donors. However, clinics don’t always have the capacity to meet this demand, either because they lack sufficient donors or because they don´t have the necessary resources or facilities to properly freeze (vitrify) the extracted eggs.
To respond to this need for donor eggs, egg banks were born. Egg banks are entities who work directly with assisted reproduction clinics, providing vitrified (specially frozen) eggs for use in treatments and speeding up the processes of donor selection and stimulation.
At Ovoclinic we work with Ovobank, Europe’s first egg bank. In this article we highlight the benefits that using an egg bank gives to our patients.
5 advantages of using eggs from an egg bank
Strict donor selection protocols
Egg banks perform exhaustive tests and examinations on potential donors to rule out the presence of genetic diseases or alterations that are incompatible with egg donation or affect the quality of the eggs. These tests also include general health checks, an analysis of the medical history and a psychological examination, amongst others.
At Ovobank, these measures mean that only 30% of aspiring donors are accepted, and guarantee safety and security for the mother, the baby and the donor themselves, throughout the process.
Less delays for embryo transfer
In an egg donation treatment with fresh eggs, the donor has to undergo an ovarian stimulation process that is synchronized with the endometrial preparation of the patients. Having to synchronize the cycles of two patients can lead to delays in the embryo transfer and even to its cancellation if the ovarian stimulation doesn´t give the hoped-for result.
At an egg bank, the eggs cells are cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen, in a process known as vitrification. These eggs can be thawed at any moment and used for immediate fertilization. The embryo transfer can then be programmed at the convenience of the patient, and cancellation rates are very low as the treatment does not have to be synchronized with that of the donor.
Extensive pool of donors
To start an egg donation treatment, the donor needs to be phenotypically compatible with the patient, or in other words, they should share certain physical traits, such as hair color, eye color, height and ethnicity. If the patient has a less common phenotype, it can increase the waiting time while searching for the right donor.
Egg banks count on a wide pool of available donors, enabling a phenotypically compatible donor to be found in less time.
High rates of successful pregnancy
Using frozen eggs from an egg bank does not mean a lower probability of achieving pregnancy. Indeed, numerous scientific studies have shown that devitrified (thawed) eggs and fresh eggs give rise to similar fertilization, implantation and pregnancy rates, when the established protocols are followed.
You can see our success rates in the following link.
The price of an egg donation treatment using frozen eggs is lower, as the patient does not have to pay for the costs of the donor’s ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval.
In summary, working with an egg bank allows us to offer our patients flexibility, speed and safety in their assisted reproduction treatments.