Donor Conception

Egg banks – what does world-leading look like in 2023?

Eloise Edington  |   20 Oct 2022


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From quality assurance to choice, reference clinics and customer care – what are the biggest watch points for donor egg banks as we close out 2022? And, how might these impact your decision, when choosing your donor egg bank? 

Today, we’re focusing on a few core factors: 

  • the donation process
  • quality assurance
  • choice
  • reference clinics
  • guarantees
  • customer care

Cryos International currently provide the world’s largest selection of sperm and egg donors, with more than 30 years of experience in helping people on their path to parenthood. Here’s how they score across these key areas of focus for our community, as we head into 2023. 

*Before we dive in*, as we went to press Cryos International welcomed their 100th carefully selected egg donor to their panel – that’s 100 egg donors in one year, with the team launching their world-class programme just 12 months ago. Let’s find out what sets them apart, and how it all works.

1 Full control over eggs and the donation process

Going ahead with using a donor egg (or eggs) is already a huge decision. The last thing you want is uncertainty about the process itself, or which provider your donated eggs are coming from.

As a rule, intended parents (IPs) within the FHH community prefer their chosen egg or sperm bank – Cryos International currently offer the world’s largest selection – to use cells donated directly. So from a donor on their panel or catalogue, rather than sourcing from a third party – buying them in from other banks or clinics, for example.

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This allows for a more full-service, in-house approach to egg donation, with everything happening in one place. And in this way, you can avoid navigating an additional layer of company intros, points of contact, customer service teams, etc. The dots are already joined between you, your bank and donor, and quality is under your team’s control.

2 Quality-assured 

Which brings us, more specifically, to egg quality. Your egg bank having full control over the entire donation process means quality assurance is embedded. They screen and select every single donor, and are able to ensure the same high standards across all departments. Egg banks should be able to give you detailed information about the age range they’ll accept for donors – all Cryos donors are aged over 18 and under 32 – and screening processes/checks for:

  • serious medical disability
  • gynaecological conditions
  • inherited genetic disorders
  • disease and infection (such as Hepatitis B and C)
  • blood group, count, chromosomal make-up
  • overall health status (BMI and smoker status, for example) 

Extensive screening processes are essential, and some banks will go further than others in this – Cryos include checks on background and family history in their selection criteria, for example, but this isn’t universal. There should also be a physical check-up, primarily ensuring that the donor’s ovaries are healthy. 

3 Lots of choice 

By working with an egg bank to find your donor, you’re opening up a world of options. And while choice is an amazing thing, not all pooling and banks can deliver on range, quality and customer care, all at the same time. 

Dig into the numbers with your bank, before you commit – how many donor profiles do they currently have, for example? And how are these managed? 

Cryos International Director of European Operations, Saghar Kasiri, says: 

“Cryos’ egg donors are from a variety of ethnicities and have many different phenotypes. The reason for that is, we have many patients that are from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and we must meet the needs of those patients.” 

Note – you may want to know everything there is to know about your donor – from eye colour and life experiences to ethnicity and even the sound of their voice – Cryos give the option to hear a sound clip, for specific donors. 

On the other hand, you may be more comfortable with knowing as little as possible – the essentials only. As we head into 2023, banks are working harder to tailor their ability to meet these preferences. So ask, and make the most of a good website and fantastic customer care team, if you find one. 

4 Reference clinics quality

If you’re going with an egg bank outside your home country, chances are they’ll work with a network ‘reference clinics’, to bring treatment closer to you.

These clinics are hand-picked and approved to handle patient treatment more locally. For UK patients, egg banks aren’t currently able to import to the UK, so your reference clinic would be somewhere as close as possible, for example, in Ireland. Your eggs will be shipped from your chosen egg bank, transported with pinpoint care to your reference clinic, ready for your treatment plan to begin. 

Reference clinics can play a pivotal role in your family-building journey. It’s essential that, if your bank connects you with one, you’re made fully aware of their credentials, quality and patient care standards. 

Are they given specific training by your bank, to handle thaw and fertilize eggs on arrival? What is their medical team’s experience, and are they set up to continue the great quality of care you’ve put so much into finding, with your chosen egg bank? Cryos, for example, only approve a clinic’s senior embryologist – trained in Cryos protocols – to handle the eggs they send. 

5 Is there a guarantee?

They say there are no guarantees, when building a family. This may be true, but as we move into 2023, fertility providers are clicking with the fact that for patients who are on an (often traumatic) journey to parenthood, some rare reassurance can be everything.

From finance guarantees – we’re seeing more of these from boutique, expert providers – to egg banks themselves, it’s worth making these options part of your planning. Egg donation can be prohibitively expensive, but increasingly, there are policies to counterbalance this. 

egg-donor-bank-reassurance-couple

Planning to speak to Cryos? Find out more about the Cryos Donor Egg Guarantee. For qualifying patients taking delivery of six oocytes, Cryos guarantee that treatment will result in: 

  • at least one good quality blastocyst on day 5
  • OR a pregnancy 

If neither of these are met, Cryos will replace six oocytes one time, free of charge. Ask them today for more details, terms and conditions, and next steps. 

6 Customer care – your team are everything 

From languages spoken (for Cryos that’s 14 different languages) to case handling and availability, customer care is exceptionally important when making the decision to go with your chosen egg bank. So ask all the questions up front which will help you work out whether this bank is right for you. 

There’s a lot to be learned too, from an egg bank’s website. Is it laid out clearly and coherently? Are impartial reviews easy to locate? Can you get a sense of pricing, or financial planning, and any support that’s available? Overall, do you feel empowered by the bank and its customer communication, and excited to get started? Or do you just feel more confused and overwhelmed with every click or phone call? 

Ask these questions and expect the very best from your egg bank’s customer care team. In 2023, it should be a given. 

Connect with Cryos International today, for world-leading, expert care as you take that first step into 2023, and your family-building plans. 

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