The technology to successfully freeze and thaw donor sperm for infertile couples has been available for decades. However, the technology to successfully freeze women's eggs did not exist until recently, prompting Cryo Eggs International (CEI) to open its doors and offer donor eggs to infertile patients who wish to create the family they have been longing for. Women select a familial "match" from the donor eggs in the bank, and the eggs are shipped anywhere in the world to be thawed, fertilized and transferred as an embryo to the waiting woman who wishes to experience the pregnancy and birth of her baby.
"We're very happy this technology was available," Wendy Kennedy said Sunday morning, a day after the birth of their daughter. "If it weren't for this, we wouldn't have Avery. She's beautiful."
The first frozen donor egg bank was formed based on new egg freezing technology developed by Jeffrey Boldt, PhD, Scientific Director for CEI.
The pregnancy rates with donor eggs are beginning to show success rates equivalent to pregnancy rates using eggs before freezing. Donor eggs which have not been frozen are commonly used in infertility therapy worldwide. In the US alone, in 2001, over 12,000 women tried to conceive with donor eggs. There are many reasons for infertility, but the most common problem for women over age 35 is that their eggs do not perform well enough to achieve pregnancy.
The first frozen egg bank will offer women the opportunity to better manage their own infertility, which is often a daunting and difficult path.
Many problems that ex ist with fresh donor eggs such as synchronizing the donor's cycle with the cycle of the infertile woman are virtually eliminated with frozen donor eggs from the CEI bank. Frozen donor eggs, like frozen sperm, offer unprecedented convenience, eliminating geographical restrictions and expenses associated with transporting a donor that fits the woman's family profile to the infertile woman's location for treatment. The infertile woman is given the opportunity to choose the timing of her pregnancy, without involving the ongoing life and complications of a third party donor, by selecting and purchasing the eggs when she is ready to proceed.
Also, the use of frozen donor eggs greatly reduces any of the current health hazards from infectious disease transmission present when using donor eggs that have not been frozen. Egg donors for CEI are tested as required by the FDA for infectious diseases within 30 days of egg collection. Additionally, the eggs are then frozen and quarantined for 6 months, and only after the donor tests negative again for HIV and other infectious diseases are the eggs released for sale.
Several of the founders of CEI have both professional and personal experience with infertility. Diana Thomas, CEO, had her own three children with donor eggs, and based on that experience, owned and operated an international egg donor recruiting agency for nine years before joining CEI. Dr. James Akin, Medical Director for CEI and Bluegrass Fertility Center and a voluntary researcher at the University of Kentucky Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, is the father of triplets and has practiced infertility for over 15 years in both the academic university setting as well as private practice. Jeffrey Boldt, Ph.D., Scientific Director for CEI, has worked with many infertile couples over the past six years as he successfully developed and improved egg-freezing technology to allow for the use of the technology in a commercial donor bank.