In a nutshell
This article summarizes the availability and use of commercial egg banks for egg donation in the United States.
Egg (oocyte) cryopreservation, or the freezing of unfertilized eggs for future use, is gaining in popularity, due in part to the fact that improved freezing techniques have increased successful pregnancy rates. Egg donation has also been increasing in use as an assisted reproductive technique, for women who cannot use their own eggs or who have experienced age-related declines in egg quality. The combination of cryopreservation and egg donation has led to the creation of commercial egg banks, similar to sperm banks, where donated eggs are available for use whenever needed. The focus of this publication was the current use and availability of commercial egg banks in the United States.
Methods & findings
In this article, seven commercial egg banks were surveyed on various topics, including the number of donors used, the donor screening methods employed, the number of eggs currently in storage, the freezing and thawing techniques employed, and the number of successful pregnancies following use of the cryopreserved donor eggs.
Commercial egg banks were generally associated with one or several in vitro fertilization (IVF) centers, although two surveyed were available to any IVF center. 86% froze the eggs through vitrification, a very fast freezing process that does not allow for the formation of ice crystals, which can damage the egg. Each bank stored a median of 250 eggs at the time of the study, though that number ranged from 100 to 1,000 depending on the bank. There was an overall estimated total of 3,130 eggs stored, and the mean cost of each egg was $2,225. All of the commercial egg banks performed psychological, genetic, and medical screenings on potential donors.
Overall, 8,780 frozen donor eggs have been used in IVF through the commercial egg banks, with a resulting rate of 602, or 7.7%, clinical pregnancies.
The bottom line
This study concluded that commercial egg banks, and the frozen donor eggs they provide, are currently in wide use across the United States.
Published By :
Fertility and Sterility
Mar 01, 2013