A question we are often asked by patients is whether frozen eggs can be transported from one of our clinics to another location – for example, if a patient in Wales has found an egg donor in our London clinic but would like the treatment closer to home in our Cardiff clinic. In previous years, this may have been met with trepidation or worry from patients about survival rates of the frozen eggs. However, it has now been proven that transportation does not compromise the quality of eggs – a hugely welcome outcome for our patients up and down the country.
London Women’s Clinic presented a clinical paper at the UK Fertility 2020 Conference in Edinburgh, studying the transport of frozen donor eggs and subsequent success rate – the first study of its kind to be undertaken in Britain. Egg freezing is the fastest growing trend in assisted reproductive technology in the UK, with more than three times the number of women freezing their eggs in 2017 compared to 2012. London Women’s Clinic performs the most egg freezing cases in the UK, with eggs vitrified and stored across at our laboratories.
Given the rich cultural diversity of the UK, we often find that an egg recipient is looking for a particular ethnic background in an egg donor, such as Indian, Russian or Nigerian. To ensure the best possible match, London Egg Bank opens up the search across our laboratories, meaning that a Darlington-based patient might choose eggs from our Harley Street clinic.
No significant difference between transported and non-transported donor eggs
The study analysed 220 groups of eggs which were transported to different clinics between 2016 and 2019, comparing the data to 570 non-transport cycles during the same time window, where eggs were both frozen and thawed in our Harley Street clinic. The results were largely similar within the two categories with near identical survival rates for frozen eggs (94% for transported eggs, 93.5% for those staying with Harley Street – see Figure 1). As shown in Fertilisation and clinical pregnancy varied very slightly – 78% of non-transported eggs fertilised versus 73.2% of transported eggs, while clinical pregnancy rates were 46.6% and 41.5% respectively. In London Women’s Clinic Darlington, transported frozen eggs resulted in a 61.5% clinical pregnancy rate – a hugely positive outcome for women who preferred to receive treatment closer to home.
“This is extremely encouraging to see such strong outcomes when using transported donor eggs. To have very close fertilisation and subsequent clinical pregnancy rates indicates that transporting eggs does not have a significant impact on success rates” said Dr Kamal Ahuja, Scientific and Managing Director of London Women’s Clinic.
Commitment to innovation and expertise
London Women’s Clinic Cardiff Laboratory Manager Andrew Thomson who presented these results at Edinburgh added, “Of course we are always looking to improve on these results, as ideally we would love a 100% success rate. Being the largest egg bank in the country means that along with our London team we have more exposure to the egg freezing process than most, allowing us constant opportunities to build on that expertise and ensure the best possible success rates for our patients.” Andrew Thomson was voted by his peers to have made the most outstanding contribution to embryology in the country at the UK Fertility 2020 Conference held at Edinburgh in January 2020, where this study was announced. Andrew’s continued commitment to improving clinical outcomes further underlines the work that London Egg Bank is doing to be at the forefront of fertility treatment within the UK.