Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago ivf

Egg donation using frozen eggs - pros and cons

  • Egg donation originated by using fresh eggs from young egg donors
  • The donors were chosen by a recipient couple and stimulated to produce multiple eggs.
  • The eggs were retrieved and fertilized with the male partners (or donor) sperm with the resulting fresh embryos transferred to the recipient female.
  • Remaining embryos would be frozen for future frozen embryo transferprocedures (if needed).

Fresh egg donation cycles are still a popular option for many recipients.  However, more and more patients are turning to frozen donor eggs as an alternative option.  In fact, in 2017, there were 3,324 Fresh Donor Egg Cycles and 3,452 Frozen Donor Egg Cycles reported in the USA (add link to SART/CDC page).  Frozen eggs have surged in popularity because of recent advances in egg freezing technology leading to improved success rates using frozen eggs.
We offer egg donation using frozen (vitrified) or fresh donor eggs. We have been providing fresh donor egg treatments since 1997 and frozen eggs since 2014.

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Egg freezing has improved over the past several years through fine-tuning of freezing and thawing protocols. Thawed egg survival and viability is much better than in the past. When these eggs are frozen and thawed at high quality IVF clinics, we see high pregnancy success rates using frozen donor eggs.

How much do frozen donor egg IVF success rates vary?
Quite a bit - as shown below
2017 frozen donor egg success rates - AFCC vs. USA average
Our 2017 live birth success rate per transfer was 71.7% for 2017 for frozen donor eggs
USA national average for 2017 was 39.3%

Data from 2016 SART report - go to the SART site for more details

Recently there has been a proliferation of "egg banks" that recruit egg donors, have their eggs frozen and then sell them to recipient couples for their egg donation cycles. Some of these businesses are claiming to have high success rates from the thawed donor egg cycles.

However, buyer beware - egg banks are not yet required by law to report success rate data to the government like fertility clinics are.

Egg freezing is far from perfect but using frozen donor eggs instead of fresh donor eggs can have some potential advantages for recipient couples.

  • There is no need to have synchronization of the cycle between the donor and recipient
  • The complexities of ovarian stimulation for the donor and any problems that may result during the stimulation were already dealt with and a now done deal. As a result, you know how many eggs you will be getting before they cycle starts.
  • There can be a shorter time frame from choosing a donor until having embryo transfer when eggs are already frozen
  • Costs per treatment cycle are reduced using frozen donor eggs compared to fresh
  • However, the cost per baby born could be lower, the same, or higher - depending on the live birth rate per embryo transfer procedure at the clinic doing the procedure.

The national average for live birth success rates using frozen frozen donor eggs at this time are still somewhat lower than success rates with fresh donor eggs. However, egg freezing and thawing has come a long way in the last several years and success rates with frozen donor eggs are not very different from those seen with fresh eggs in some clinics (including ours).


Success rates using frozen donor eggs are dependent on several factors:

  • The quality of the donor eggs
  • The ability of the clinic to perform effective freezing and thawing of the eggs
  • The number of eggs thawed
  • The number of embryos transferred to the uterus
  • The expertise and quality of the IVF program

At our fertility center, we are currently seeing pregnancy rates with our banked frozen and thawed donor eggs that are somewhat lower as compared to what we have with fresh donor eggs. However, the average batch size for a cycle using frozen donor eggs is about 6 eggs, vs. about 17 using fresh eggs. Therefore, we would expect a slightly lower success rate due to the lower number of eggs to start a cycle with.

We believe that our ability to control all aspects of the egg freezing process gives us an advantage over other programs using frozen eggs from an outside egg bank. We choose which donors to freeze and we maintain excellent quality control by freezing and thawing all eggs in the same laboratory. Thus far we have not used frozen eggs from outside egg donor banks.


Embryo development guarantee for frozen donor eggs at the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago

If all frozen donor eggs in your lot are thawed and fertilized, we guarantee you will have an embryo available for transfer on either day 3 or day 5.

If there is not at least one embryo available for fresh transfer on day 3 or day 5 (a rare occurrence in our program):

  • A free lot of eggs will be provided to the patient for another attempt if they are in a single cycle financial plan.
  • The cycle will not count as one of the 6 attempts for patients in our shared risk or 100% refund plans.
  • This guarantee does not apply in severe male factor cases because severe impairment of fertilization and/or embryo development could result.

See our success rates with frozen and with fresh donor eggs

Being a recipient of donor eggs from out of town can be done with one trip to our clinic

To become a patient call us at 888-257-4420, or fill out the form below:

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Email us with questions about our donor program

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Information provided by and last updated on (6/11/2019) by: Michelle Catenacci, MD

Dr. Catenacci joined the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago in 2012 and is our medical director. She is board-certified in both Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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4920 N. Central Ave
Suite 2C

Chicago, IL 60630

Phone: (773) 794-1818
Fax: (773) 794-1819

30 Tower Court
Suite F
Gurnee, IL 60031

Phone: (847) 662-1818
Fax: (847) 662-3001

820 E. Terra Cotta Ave (Rte 176)
Suite 118
Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Phone: (815) 356-1818
Fax: (815) 356-1866