Last week, we announced our partnership with Cryos International, a global leader in egg and sperm donation. We were lucky enough to speak with Corey Burke, Tissue Bank Director at Cryos International about his experience working in fertility. Read on for Corey’s words of wisdom about egg donation and how Cryos International uniquely serves families.
What sparked your interest in the fertility space?
The first time I saw ICSI (placing a sperm in an egg) and the embryos that resulted from it, I was hooked and knew it was the only job I wanted to do. Since that first encounter, I quickly became completely compassionate about helping people achieve their dream of having children.
How would you describe Cryos’s vision and mission?
Our vision is to help people make their dream of having a child come true. Our mission is to provide high quality human sperm and eggs from selected and screened donors of all ethnicities and phenotypes.
What have you learned over the years at Cryos?
The world is a big place and there are various regulations in every country that must be met.
However, our clients all have the same needs/desires regardless of where they are in the world and that is to be able to have children of their own.
Are there any changes you’ve noticed over the years in the world of egg donation?
The number one thing that has changed the world of egg donation is vitrification, a process of ultra-rapid freezing of eggs. The process turns the eggs to glass and avoids the formation of ice crystals that can destroy eggs. A drop of water that is vitrified is crystal clear because no ice crystals have formed. If you have ever looked at an ice cube in your freezer you will notice they are not crystal clear and that is because they are a mass of ice crystals. Vitrification has improved the success of egg preservation from a survival rate of 10-20% using a slow freezing method to close to 100% survival with vitrified eggs.
What makes Cryos different or special, compared to other egg donor programs?
Our quality control and assurance is a huge factor in making our program stand out above others. We are the first free standing, independent egg bank in the world, meaning we do all the processes related to eggs in house.
This allows us to control the stimulation, retrieval, vitrification, storage, and shipping of every egg we sell. Many other banks contract egg collection, vitrification, shipping etc., to various clinics across the country.
What advice do you have for intended parents beginning the egg donation process?
Slow down and take a deep breath once in a while. Most people using egg donation have been through a lot, usually attempting IVF treatment with their own eggs before moving to donor eggs. The process with donor eggs is not the same as using your own eggs; age is not as important. Studies have shown that using donor eggs results in pregnancy 50% of the time regardless of the mother’s age. Relax, try to decrease the stress levels – it makes the entire process go much smoother.
Why do you do what you do? What makes the hard work worth it?
I have been fortunate to play a small part in the birth of over ten thousand children to folks who thought that it was impossible. That makes it all worth it.