What’s the Difference? Donor Egg Choices

Pursuing IVF with donated eggs brings hope to a family that’s ready to grow. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the differences between a fresh or frozen donor egg cycle. Weighing the differences in donor selection, cycle preparation, and price can help you decide which type of donor egg cycle is right for your family.


Donor Selection


Whether you decide to use fresh or frozen donor eggs, it’s important to find the right donor.


If you are interested in using fresh eggs, you may receive eggs from either a known or anonymous donor. Known donors include friends or family members known to you personally.  Anonymous or ID release donors are generally donors represented by an agency or a clinic who will not be known to the recipient, but in some cases, their identity may be released to the donor conceived children in the future. Considering which option to use requires you to think ahead of the possible relationship dynamics.


Another aspect to consider if you’re using fresh egg, whether known or anonymous, is the donor’s location. Fresh donor egg requires implantation to be done relatively quickly once the donor’s eggs are ready. Either you or the donor may have to travel, as fresh donated eggs cannot be shipped. Frozen donated eggs, however, can be shipped across the country, which expands your pool of donor choices significantly.


All frozen donor eggs come from anonymous or ID release sources, but all donors must provide the same important background information, like medical history, ethnicity, and age, similar to fresh donations. Additionally, using frozen donor egg means the donor has already waived all legal rights to their eggs; this ensures that your egg donor will not have legal parenting rights.


Picking a donor, whether using fresh or frozen egg donation, can cause a variety of sometimes conflicting emotions. Couples might feel both excited to experience pregnancy and saddened by the absence of one partner’s genetic material, even if a family member is contributing their eggs. However, remember that regardless of your donor’s genetic material, the child will be your very own.


Cycle Preparation


A significant difference between fresh and frozen donated eggs is the amount of preparation involved in implanting the egg. Frozen eggs are ready for implantation as soon as you’re ready, typically after a few weeks of hormone therapy to ensure the highest chance of success. On the other hand, fresh donor egg requires you to take both yours- and the donor’s – hormonal cycles into account.


To maximize success when using a fresh egg cycle, the donor and recipient must synchronize their menstrual cycles. This means there is a higher risk of cancellation, which ultimately results in fertilization rescheduling, as optimal fertility was not achieved. Cancellation occurs in approximately one out of ten IVF attempts involving fresh donor eggs.


As well as synchronizing with your donor—a time-consuming and frustrating process—you must also consider the possibility that your donor may not respond well to the fertility treatments, or that your donor may experience a life-event that prevents them from donating, such as a medical illness. If that happens, you may have to start over with a new donor.


Conception using frozen egg is much faster, as it does not require synchronization and is entirely reliant on your own schedule. It also has a lower chance of cancellation (less than five percent) because only your menstrual cycle is involved, and guarantees the recipient a certain amount of viable eggs.




Conceiving a child through fresh or frozen egg donation is a considerable investment, but not without good reason. There are many factors that add to the cost of donor egg IVF, and it’s important to budget carefully so your future family will thrive.


If you decide to use a fresh donor egg cycle, you must pay your donor’s medical costs as well as your own. Because hopeful parents may require more than one round of IVF before conceiving, an extended timeline can strain the bank, especially if your donor lives far away and travel expenses need to be considered.


Using frozen donor egg is a more accessible option than fresh to many families hoping to conceive. Many donor egg banks offer fixed prices for a certain number of treatments using frozen donor egg, as well as refund plans if a baby is not born after a certain number of attempts. Frozen donated eggs can also be split among multiple families, lowering the cost associated with the donor’s medical expenses. In all, using fresh donor egg is typically two times more expensive than frozen donor egg.


Making the Right Choice


Deciding between fresh or frozen egg donation can be difficult, especially when every family’s needs are different. Explore both options carefully, take plenty of time to decide, and remember that the right choice is the one that’s best for both you and your baby.


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