Egg banking plays a vital role in infertility treatment. It helps to address the assisted reproductive technologies (ART), especially in the IVF process.
Through egg banking facility, women can bank their eggs for future use and late conception. Previously, egg banking was only restricted for medical practices, but recently non-medical egg banking has also got recognition in clinical practice.
Medical egg banking allows female oncology patients, who have a higher risk of ovarian loss, to resolve genetic abnormality induced premature ovarian malfunctioning.
In recent days, it has been observed that couples commonly delay their parenthood for multiple reasons.
The females often acknowledge egg banking as an insurance against infertility at the later stage of their life. In general, women fertility depends upon a biological clock which often gets critical with increasing age.
Medical researchers have established that women who go for pregnancy in the late 30s or early 40s, often face a higher risk of infertility, several complications in pregnancy, and miscarriage. These events are always heartbreaking for the woman and her family members.
In addition, delayed pregnancy negatively impacts the mother-fetus physiological interface, which increases the risk of the predisposition of type 1 diabetes. It has also been found that delayed childbearing enhances the risk of operative delivery.
But early pregnancy often becomes a cause of trouble for women's higher studies, jobs, and social establishment.
Egg banking help to slow down the biological clock and extend the fertility. This further helps women to develop her professional career by providing adequate time to complete higher studies.
This also supports strengthening the relationship with a partner, solve economic issues and achieve the desired lifestyle. Egg banking stores cryopreserved oocytes or freezing eggs.
Egg banking is an ethical process and does not possess any religious objection as like embryo banking.
The ovarian stimulation process is conducted on the first day of last menstrual cycle under strict clinical observation following a standard protocol. Slow freezing or vitrification opts for cryopreservation of the eggs.
However, vitrification provides a better result than slow freezing in terms of survival rate, successful implantation, and pregnancy rate.
Therefore, clinicians prefer to conduct vitrification. The ultra-rapid process is required for thawing of eggs.
Egg banking is an expensive clinical procedure. There is no fixed cost for egg banking and depends upon IVF centers.
The financial expenses are required in every stage of egg banking, which starts with egg freezing and continues to successful healthy child delivery.
Cancer patients and other critically ill female patients often require financial support for fertility insurance through egg banking.
Egg banking requires the egg freezing procedure. It takes approximately 14 days to complete the whole process, which is commencing from ovarian stimulation to oocyte retrieval.
Usually, the clinician prefers to start the process before applying chemotherapy. This can reduce the risk of ovarian damage.
Some women may have side effects of the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Egg baking also has egg survival issues, fertilization problem. The outcome of these risk may cause pregnancy failures.
Age is a critical factor for successful egg banking. Young egg donors can have an 83% success rate in live pregnancy.
In 2014, a published article revealed that more than 1,000 live births are recorded through egg banking till date.
However, some IVF centers have also reported that they obtained the same pregnancy rate as fresh eggs.
Pros of Egg banking
- Egg banking preserves women fertility.
- It also assists in the advancement of reproductive medical science.
- Egg banking provides the scope of egg donation without following stringent legal and ethical regulations. As there is no synchronization required between donor and recipient.
- It is an opportunistic alternative of embryo freezing.
- Egg banking is a safe procedure for the recipient.
Cons of Egg Banking
- Cryopreservation of eggs requires proper safety measures.
- Egg banking is an expensive method.
- Till date, egg banking is in a nascent stage and unable to completely replace embryo freezing. Lack of awareness limits the application of egg banking.
- There are further research studies going on to gather more data about egg banking related complications like miscarriage, congenital defects, including chromosomal abnormalities in the resulting offspring.
- Poor quality eggs which are preserved in egg banking can be potentially harmful to recipient and offspring.