Egg banking in the United States Current status of commercially available cryopreserved oocytes

Capsule:
Cryopreserved donor oocytes are widely available from commercial “egg banks” (CEBs); with over 3,000 oocytes currently in storage and 600 pregnancies already conceived. Most CEBs use the vitrification cryopreservation technique.

Authors:
Alexander M. Quaas, M.D., Ph.D., Alexander Melamed, M.D., M.P.H., Karine Chung, M.D., Kristin A. Bendikson, M.D., Richard J. Paulson, M.D.

Volume 99, Issue 3, Pages 827-831, 1 March 2013

Abstract:

Objective:
To estimate the current availability of donor cryopreserved oocytes and to describe the emerging phenomenon of commercial “egg banks” (CEBs) in the USA.

Design:
Cross-sectional survey of CEBs.

Setting:
Email, telephone and fax based survey of all CEB scientific directors, conducted April of 2012.

Patients:
None.

Interventions:
None.

Main Outcome Measures:
Number and location of CEBs in the USA, years in existence, number of donors, number of available oocytes, level of donor anonymity, donor screening, cost of oocytes to recipients, freezing / thawing technique, pregnancy statistics.

Results:
Seven CEBs were identified and surveyed (response rate 100%). CEBs used three distinct operational models, were in existence for a median of 2 (range 1-8) years, with medians of 21.5 (6-100) donors and 120 (20-1000) currently available oocytes. The median recommended minimum number of eggs to obtain was 6 (range 4-7), at an estimated mean cost per oocyte of $2225 (range $1500-$2500). An estimated 3130 oocytes from 294 donors are currently stored for future use. 6/7 CEBs (86%) use vitrification as cryopreservation method. To date, 8780 frozen donor oocytes from CEBs have been used for IVF, resulting in 602 pregnancies. Pregnancy rates per oocyte, available for 5/7(71%) CEBs, were 7.5% (532/7080) for CEBs using vitrification and 10% (70/700) for the single CEB using slow freezing as cryopreservation method.

Conclusions:
Frozen donor eggs are currently widely available in the US. Three different operational models are currently utilized, resulting in more than 600 pregnancies from oocytes obtained at CEBs. The majority of CEBs use vitrification as cryopreservation technique.

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