CU’s Research Shows That as With Many Things, Fresh Is Also Better Than Frozen for Women Using Donated Eggs

Advanced Reproductive Medicine’s research with Duke proves that birth of a healthy baby is more likely with non-frozen donated eggs, which is important news for the more than 24,000 women using donated eggs annually.

DENVER February 5, 2020 – Research by fertility physicians from the University of Colorado and Duke University concluding fresh donor eggs during in vitro fertilization (IVF) provide a significantly higher chance of implantation and birth when compared with donor eggs that have been cryopreserved has just been published in the February 6, 2020, edition of Obstetrics & Gynecology, commonly referred to as “The Green Journal.” The use of IVF and donor eggs is increasing, but the CU Advanced Reproductive Medicine (CU-ARM) and Duke researchers were concerned about a lack of data on the success rates of fresh versus frozen donated eggs.

“This research has given us the data we needed to counsel women receiving donor eggs that they have a better chance to achieve implantation, pregnancy and live birth with fresh donor eggs rather than frozen,” said senior study author Dr. Alex Polotsky of CU Advanced Reproductive Medicine. “We can now confidently say that choosing to utilize fresh donor eggs along with transferring a single embryo instead of multiple embryos will provide the best chances for a healthy mother and a healthy baby.”

Both IVF and the use of donor eggs continues to grow, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting 1% to 2% of all births in the United States occurring through IVF. In addition, more than 24,000 women use donated eggs annually.

Although frozen donor eggs from egg banks may provide a more economical and convenient way to undergo IVF for several reasons, this new data suggests such women may want to opt for fresh donor eggs to better their chances of a positive outcome. Dr. Polotsky said that when it comes to building a family in the most effective and healthy way possible, quicker and cheaper does not necessarily equal better.

This new research on success rates builds on preliminary findings presented at the 2017 convention of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). It can help many infertile couples and individuals, including a growing number of LGBTQ+ people in need of these services, make the best decision on such treatments.

CU and Duke researchers conducted this extensive study analyzing nearly 30,000 IVF cycles because existing medical literature did not clearly indicate whether fresh or frozen donor eggs lead to better birth outcomes for patients undergoing IVF. Their study examined a three-year swath of the latest available national U.S. data reported to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

This study looked at only those cycles that used eggs from donors in order to control for factors relating to egg quality. Donor eggs are known to provide the best chance of success for many women undergoing IVF. Age and other factors decrease chances of a successful outcome and some women are counseled to consider eggs donated by younger women to increase the chance of a healthy newborn.

The study yielded novel results, with a 10% improvement for a good perinatal outcome in women receiving fresh vs. frozen donor eggs. Likewise, there was a 25% improvement in women achieving live birth when using fresh donor eggs as an alternative to frozen donor eggs. Rates of multiple birth were also up to 37% higher when using fresh donor eggs, lending credence to the increasing practice of transferring a single embryo during IVF to help avoid multiple births and the complications they often cause to mother and child.

About University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine

University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine specializes in the evaluation and treatment of infertility and reproductive disorders. The clinic is located at 3055 Roslyn St., Room 230, Denver, Colorado, with surgery and lab facilities at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. A Colorado Springs office is located at 4125 Briargate Parkway, #350. For more information, see arm.coloradowomenshealth.com or call 720-848-1690.