According to a new study, patients who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) might reduce their chances of give birth by freezing their donor eggs.
One in eight couples, or 12% of married women, have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Infertility experts use methods such as IVF as a treatment for couples trying to have a baby. During the IVF process, donated egg and sperm are fertilized in a lab environment, and the egg is placed into the woman’s uterus to carry.
CBS News reports that the new study, published in August’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined over 11,000 IVF procedures that used donor eggs. Twenty percent of the eggs in the study had been frozen.
The results of the study showed that only 47% of the IVF procedures that used frozen eggs resulted in a live birth. When a fresh donor egg was used, 56% of women were able to give birth.
“Our research demonstrated that – contrary to some claims made mostly by commercial interests – frozen eggs offer a lower change of a pregnancy and delivery chance after IVF than fresh eggs,” Says Dr. Norbert Gleicher, co-author of the study and chief scientist with the Center for Human Reproduction in New York City.
So far, it is not clear how the freezing of the eggs results in fewer birth rates. The authors of the study hypothesize that the quality of the egg is lessened during the freezing or thawing processes.
The study had some limitations. Since the statistics were anonymous, researchers were unable to control variables that may have skewed with the results, such as the ages of the donors or patients, or the specific reasons for their issues with infertility. Until more research can be done, doctors recommend that patients discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of their treatment options.