After spending years building your career, finding Mr. or Ms. Right, or following your passions like traveling the world – you’re finally ready to start a family.
But is your body ready?
After celebrating your 40th birthday, your chances of conceiving naturally are 5 out of 100 each month.
If you’re over 40 and wish to explore getting pregnant with donor eggs, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll use fresh or frozen donor eggs before moving forward. Which is better? Both have their benefits, but the significant differences between fresh and frozen donor eggs can help determine the best option for you and your family to increase their chances of pregnancy.
Your Chances of Natural Pregnancy After 40
As early as your 20s, your fertility and ovarian reserve can begin to steadily decline. And, by the time you reach 40, there’s less than a 5% chance each month for your egg to become fertilized and lead to pregnancy. This low rate is due to the overall decrease in the eggs you have available and the declining quality of those eggs.
Whether you choose fresh or frozen, pregnancy success significantly increases when you use donor eggs. During donor egg IVF, the egg is fertilized by a highly qualified technician. After waiting three to five days for the embryos to mature, one or two embryos are then inserted into the uterus using a thin catheter.
For women over 40, it’s important to consider using donated eggs to increase their chances of pregnancy. Eggs from a younger woman with proven fertility in her early 20s are of a higher quality and more likely to lead to a successful pregnancy.
Frozen vs. Fresh Eggs: Time, Cost, and Quality
Fresh and frozen donor eggs vary considerably in time and cost yet are nearly the same in quality and success rates. Using frozen donor eggs saves precious time and money compared to fresh.
With fresh eggs, the donor and recipient cycles must be synchronized before the eggs are retrieved. During a fresh donor egg cycle, the donor receives medication to increase her production of eggs while the recipient mother is given hormones to prepare her uterus to receive the embryo.
Unfortunately, various complications can delay or cancel a fresh egg donation, like the donor improperly administering medication or skipping appointments. With frozen donor egg IVF, this isn’t an issue: your donor’s eggs are retrieved ahead of time, thus eliminating the need for cycle synchronization. You can start the process exactly when it’s convenient for you.
The average fresh donor egg cycle costs approximately $25,000 – $38,000, while a frozen donor egg cycle is nearly half that amount. Additionally, many frozen donor egg banks offer a money-back guarantee; depending on the financial plans offered, they may refund all or part of your money if a pregnancy doesn’t occur after several attempted cycles.
When egg freezing technology was first introduced, the slow freezing method used often compromised the egg’s cell structure integrity and quality. However, the new flash-freezing method – vitrification – has removed that risk in cryogenically storing eggs. The ice crystals formed during the old slow freeze method are eliminated by flash-freezing, thus the cell structure remains intact. Today, frozen donor eggs show similar success rates to fresh, with about 47 percent of women who use frozen donor eggs delivering a live born baby per treatment cycle.
Make the Right Choice for You
It can be an emotional roller coaster trying to get pregnant with no success. Feelings of anxiety and anticipation can likely surface as the struggle to conceive continues. However, by using quality eggs donated by the bright young woman of your choice, you can finally build your dream family.
If you decide donor eggs are your path to parenthood, using frozen eggs can save your family a significant amount of money and lets you have full control over your schedule to start the process. It’s very difficult to naturally get pregnant over 40, but using donor eggs is a great alternative if you want to experience the joys of pregnancy and birth.