CLEVELAND, OH – If you’ve been trying to have a baby without any luck, you’re not alone. About one in six couples is unable to conceive a child after trying for a year.
Infertility can be caused by a number of different factors. One of them being that a woman doesn’t produce enough healthy eggs. Because of this, some women may consider in-vitro fertilization (IVF), which uses eggs donated by another woman.
Women using donor eggs now have the choice of using fresh or frozen eggs. What’s best for the woman often depends on her plans for the future.
“If they think they just want one pregnancy, using frozen donated eggs is a good choice,” says Cynthia Austin, MD, a fertility expert at Cleveland Clinic. “But if they’re thinking more of a family with two or three children, they’re better off going with the fresh donor.”
Going with a fresh donor is optimal for a family of two kids or more because they’re going to have more eggs from the fresh cycle, versus the frozen donated egg cycle.
Recent research finds a small but statistically significant difference in the chances of getting pregnant using fresh versus frozen donated eggs. The study shows that IVF using frozen donor eggs may be associated with lower live birth rates when compared to fresh donor eggs.
However, there are a couple of advantages to using frozen donor eggs:
- Frozen eggs aren’t as time consuming and be more convenient
- They’re also less expensive
Since egg banks are a newer option, it’s recommended that couples do their homework if they’re interested in using frozen donor eggs.
“It’s important for them to know that this is a new technology and there are very few programs that can give them solid data on their own experience with freezing,” says Dr. Austin. “They should look for a program that is going to be up front about what the extent of their experience will be.”
Infertility is generally defined as not conceiving after one year of unprotected intercourse. At this point, couples may benefit from an infertility evaluation.
Some couples should seek help earlier. Couples in whom the woman is over age 35 are advised to have an evaluation after six months of trying to conceive. Women with irregular periods and or pelvic pain, men with a history of urologic problems, and couples who are stressed from their inability to conceive are also among those who should seek evaluation earlier.