Frozen Donor Eggs: An Emerging Market and a Word to the Wise

Posted On October 10th, 2013

Now that new freezing techniques have made frozen eggs more viable, doctors and patients are eager to work them, as they offer some time and cost advantages over fresh. However, because a donor egg cycle is so costly, is it not financially practical in most cases for a clinic to do a donor egg cycle on speculation. The costs for the procedures, drugs, and donor compensation are typically more than the selling price of the resulting eggs. So clinics have been working on some creative solutions, which they may enthusiastically pitch to their patients as well as to prospective donors. I would like to make both parties aware of the full implications and motivations of these strategies, so that they can make informed decisions.

DONOR EGG RECIPIENTS: your doctor may encourage you NOT to fertilize all the eggs retrieved from your donor, to avoid the supposed ethical conundrum of left over frozen embryos. I am dubious of this advice, as in my experience, recipients want as many good quality frozen embryos as possible, and would not want to compromise all that time, money, and effort by not fertilizing all their eggs. Any doctor who advises this does not have that state of your conscience in mind: he or she wants to buy any left over frozen eggs from you to sell to his other patients! Most egg donor recipients we work with would rather have frozen embryos than an extra few hundred dollars, although some may appreciate getting some money back.


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