Causes & Treatment

Using vitrified donor eggs – what are the benefits?

Jessie Day  |   24 Nov 2022

From a ‘vitrified’ definition to technique and success rates, read our guide to vitrification in egg donation and fertility treatments, how it works and why your clinic or donor bank might suggest using vitrified over fresh eggs.

We’ve put this guide together in collaboration with Ovobank ID, Europe’s first donor egg bank. Using state-of-the-art matching and logistics technology, they play a pivotal part in helping intended parents navigate the donor selection and delivery process. They’re also passionate about the use of vitrification in IVF and fertility treatment, for the very best success rates. 

Here’s everything you need to know, about vitrification, with Ovobank ID. 

What is vitrification in IVF?

Vitrification is a technique used in fertility treatment, to freeze eggs and/or embryos. Once vitrified, these cells can be stored safely in liquid nitrogen, for future use. Vitrification in IVF is also known as ‘fast freezing’ or ‘rapid freezing’ and the latest statistics show it’s more successful than the slow-cooling method. 

Plus, with vitrification, oocytes retain the same level of quality – viability – as they had at the point of freezing. It’s a bit like frozen peas – they stay just as good as when they were freshly frozen. 

Vitrification has revolutionised the world of assisted reproduction, family-building, and cryobiology. It routinely produces the most impressive success and oocyte survival rates – from the numbers collected in a quality control report, we see clinics have successfully fertilized over 41,000 eggs from Ovobank ID, from more than 63,000 devitrified eggs, similar rate to those seen with fresh eggs.


Run me through an oocyte vitrification protocol

So more specifically, how does it work? In 2020, PubMed described the process as ‘a more efficient and safer in vitro fertilization treatment’, and that’s really how we see and approach it, at Ovobank ID

A vitrification protocol involves treating oocytes with cryoprotective substances, and then storing them in liquid nitrogen, ready for use in the future. The rapid freezing process reduces the formation of ice crystals in these cells, producing higher oocyte survival rates, on average. 

After egg retrieval, oocytes are:

  1. contained in a cryoprotectant
  2. carefully inserted into a specially designed “straw”
  3. submerged in large storage tanks containing liquid nitrogen
  4. thawed when needed, in just a few minutes
  5. ready to be fertilized with the sperm, and the resulting embryos grown in the embryology laboratory, for use in transfer

Oocytes can be frozen at various stages of development. If you’re using donor eggs with Ovobank ID, one of our specialists can travel to your clinic to thaw the oocytes under a strict protocol. 

I’m using donor eggs – is vitrified better than fresh?

Fresh vs. vitrified eggs – it’s such a common question we get from intended parents (IPs) here at Ovobank ID. 

Our team are highly specialised in oocyte cryopreservation, achieving exceptional success rates in egg donation treatment. Our vitrification process is carried out by a highly specialised team, and all oocytes in our care are treated under optimised conditions, helping to preserve their full potential. 

Here are the benefits of vitrification we see on a daily basis: 

More choice

By using vitrified eggs, you as the patient and/or IP will have access to a much larger pool of donors, with more choice over phenotypes, too. With fresh eggs, selection is usually limited to the number of egg donors available at the time, and therefore less choice, and fewer options. 

No (or shorter) waiting lists

The vast majority of patients who use Ovobank ID to find their egg donor won’t have to join a waiting list. By using vitrification we’re able to preserve eggs safely for longer, and offer incredible diversity. 

Immediate availability

With vitrified eggs, patients can sync treatment with their own cycle, following the plan they’ve put together with their clinic. This isn’t as easy with fresh donor eggs, because you need to coordinate with the donor’s cycle and allow for specific risks – for example, her stimulation cycle being cancelled. 

Cost savings

Using vitrified eggs with a bank like Ovobank ID, you won’t need to pay for any of your donor’s medical tests. When using fresh eggs, you may find costs increase to cover these tests – comparatively, your vitrified eggs just need to be selected as a batch, and sent straight to your clinic. 

vitrified donor eggs-ovobank

Vitrification at Ovobank ID

To achieve superior success rates, we only ship vitrified oocytes in Metaphase II. We screen all oocytes for morphological quality, and only send out the most optimal cells. You can go for a mini batch (between 3 and 4 vitrified eggs), a batch (6-7), or a maxi batch (8-9), or an embryo at blastocyst stage, depending on your requirements, and your clinic’s. 

Ovobank ID is now available in the UK and Ireland. Connect with the team today and get super-quick access to their amazing technology. Wherever you’re at on your journey, Ovobank ID can help you find the right donor and order vitrified oocytes, straight to your clinic.   

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