When harvesting eggs, whether your own or from a donor, there are two ways to then use the eggs. They can be used “fresh” or “frozen.” The terminology explains the differences fairly well, but let’s be sure by clarifying:
Fresh Cycle: The fresh eggs are retrieved, or harvested, fertilized and then transferred into the intended parent on a specific day. This means that if you are using an egg donor, your cycle and hers will be timed very carefully so that the embryo transfer is seamless.
Frozen Cycle: When using frozen eggs, cycle timing is less important. If you are using your own eggs, this option gives your body time to adjust from the retrieval and you can time the transfer for a month when you are ready. If you are using a donor’s eggs, it can be less stressful to do a “frozen egg” cycle so that you do not have to worry about how the donor’s retrieval goes and timing your cycles perfectly.
Thaw Cycle: A thaw cycle actually is the result of a fresh or frozen cycle that results in more embryos than you transfer. The extras are frozen until you are ready to use them, which could be because of a failed first transfer or for a biological sibling at a later date.
One option is not necessarily better than the other, but there are factors to weigh in your decision to go fresh or to go frozen if you are using an egg donor. For a fresh cycle, all of the eggs retrieved from the donor are yours. Typically, there is no sharing of eggs involved. An average number of viable eggs is 12.
If you choose to do a frozen cycle from a donor, you typically will have about six frozen eggs. If you conceive, you can request to reserve your additional eggs for another pregnancy in the future. Your donor may have produced more eggs than what was allocated to you, so the chances are good that someone else has eggs from her cycle as well.
Overall, there is not a right way or wrong way when choosing fresh or frozen eggs. Hopefully this article will help you think through your options.