More and more women today who wait to get pregnant later in life are turning to in vitro fertilization and for those who need a donor egg, it means even more time will pass as they wait for the right match. Then, the donor and recipient must synchronize their cycles. So, again it takes more time.
But what if whenever you decide the time is right to get pregnant you could get a frozen egg from an egg bank just like you can get donor sperm from a sperm bank. That is the next option on the horizon.
"The eggs are the last challenge and technically, it's been difficult, showing we can freeze the eggs, thaw them safely, get them to fertilize, get them to grow. Then do some genetic testing on the embryos," said Dr. Gad Levy, a New England Fertility Institute.
A 37-year-old patient in Connecticut, who wishes to remain anonymous, is in her third month of pregnancy now after getting a frozen donor egg. She is one of a group of women worldwide who are trying this procedure, even though the technology is still experimental. The problem is eggs are fragile and harder to freeze and thaw than sperm. But the technique is improving and Dr. Levy says egg freezing could be widely available in five years.
So why would a woman volunteer to try this technique getting pregnant with a frozen and thawed egg? These are women who really want to have a baby and in testing this procedure, the services are free whereas normal in vitro with a live egg can cost about $20,000.