Fresh or frozen eggs?

Nowadays egg freezing and storage became possible. This is a wonderful opportunity for creation of door egg banks. The name of the modern method used for egg freezing is called vitrification. AVA-Peter has started vitrification of eggs in 2008. First, AVA-Peter’s embryologists went to Japan for intensive training. Since 2008 AVA-Peter has frozen more than 3000 donor oocytes in open system. The first children in Russia conceived with vitrified donor eggs were born by my patients in 2010 after embryo transfer at AVA-Peter.

Now AVA-Peter Clinic has the largest Cryobank of Donor Eggs in Europe. More than 1500 donor eggs from more than 100 egg donors are available to our clients’ choice or matching. Donor eggs from the Cryobank can be chosen by yourself within the Chosen donor programme or we can match a donor to you if you feel that you would like to distance yourself form the choosing process.

The donors who have donated eggs to the Cryobank of Donor Eggs within the Matched donor programme have disclosed their age, blood group, height, weight, colours, family situation, education, occupation, interests. You will of course receive this information when we propose a donor to you within our Matched donor programme. If you prefer to choose your egg donor yourself, we provide you with the free 7 day access to the Data Base of IDEAS, which contains detailed profiles of egg donors, who have agreed to disclose more than 120 details about themselves including their photos in the age under 10. All the donors who were invited to participate in the detailed Data Base of IDEAS have donated before with a positive result (ongoing pregnancy or delivery). Whether you prefer to choose your donor yourself or ask us to match a donor to you may depend on your wish to play an active or passive role in the process of choice and if you want to know more or less about your donor.

Vitrification and thawing is a highly accurate and delicate procedure, which is possible within a highly professional embryological lab. Thanks skills and experience of its embryologists AVA-Peter’s results with frozen donor eggs are the same high as with fresh. Our results are in line with the literature data, as in 2012 we have had 63% Clinical pregnancy rates with vitrified donor eggs and with fresh donor eggs.

Table 1. Pilot Results of AVA-Peter Egg Donation Programme with vitrified eggs, 2012

Number of fresh ETs with vitrified donor oocytes 55
Number of thawed oocytes 645
Number of oocytes per patient 11,7
Survival rates 83%
Fertilization rates 72%
% of oocytes resulted in blastocyst formation for ET or FR 52%
Clinical pregnancy rates (45DET+10SET) 63,6% (55)

The evidence based data confirms that vitrification and thawing does not reduce the quality of a human egg. The incidence of chromosomal mistakes in eggs and malformation rates in newborns does not grow. The clinical pregnancy rates after transfer of fresh embryos which were created from frozen eggs do not fall in comparison to fresh eggs. More over egg donation procedure with frozen eggs is very simple from organizational and logistical point of view. If you use frozen donor eggs, a one day visit is required for your partner to freeze his sperm (unless you use a donor sperm) and a one day visit is required for you to put your embryos in the uterus.

Still as a clinician I recommend using fresh donor eggs. During freezing-thawing ate least 20% of eggs do not survive and I am unhappy about wasting so valuable eggs, hence the amount of eggs available for fertilization is significantly higher if you use fresh eggs (because there is no egg wastage during freezing-thawing). The good amount of eggs is required to provide you with a good amount of embryos to choose the best one or two for the transfer and to freeze some more good ones as a back-up for you. There are supernumerary embryos of good quality available for freezing more often in fresh egg donation programme than in egg donation programme with frozen eggs.

So if you would like to collect the maximal opportunities that egg donation offers, if you have time to spend 5—10 days in our beautiful city, I recommend using fresh donor eggs.

From my point of view availability of the Bank of frozen donor eggs provides a perfect back-up for the fresh egg donation programme. In those rare cases when an egg donor has failed to produce a good amount of good quality eggs within a fresh egg donation procedure, a large variety of frozen eggs can be offered to a patient to her choice with no need to cancel or postpone the treatment.

If you would like to make your stay in St. Petersburg as short as possible, if you do not wish to freeze supernumerary embryos as a back-up or for your second child — egg donation programme with frozen eggs is perfect for you!

Table 2. Results and Advantages with fresh and vitrified donor eggs
at AVA-Peter Clinic

Results International Egg Donation Programme
  Fresh eggs Vitrified eggs
Average number of eggs available 15 11
Clinical pregnancy rates with fresh embryos 62% (more than 700 international cycles 2007-2012) 63,6% (2012, 55 national and
international cycles)
Timing for ET day + - 2 days (depends on egg collection day) Precise ET day timing
Minimal stay for a woman 5 days 1 day
Minimal stay for a man 1 day 1 day
  • More eggs available for fertilization
  • More embryos available for selection and freezing
  • Higher cumulative pregnancy rates per one 
  • The same success rates as in fresh ED cycle
  • No synchronization with a donor required
  • Precise timing of ET day (Sat. possible)
  • Only one day required for ET visit
  • Only one day required for sperm freezing visit (Sat. and Sun. possible)

If you have questions about using frozen donor eggs please post your question in “Ask the doctor”  page