The Cryoport® team had the pleasure of speaking with Deborah Mecerod, Co-founder and Director of Clinical Operations at MyEggBank®. MyEggBank® is one of our highly valued reproductive medicine clients and strategic partners, along with their respective sister and parent company, The Prelude Network and Inception Fertility, LLC. In our discussion, we hold conversations around MyEggBank®, the donor industry, and Mecerod’s experience working with Cryoport®.
Tell our readers more about MyEggBank® and what you enjoy most about working here.
Mecerod: MyEggBank’s inception in 2010 started as a local egg bank in association with a fertility clinic in Georgia – Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA) – Initially donors were recruited from RBA’s in -house program to utilize the freezing technology known as vitrification as this early technology was developed in the RBA lab. The freezing technology provided an opportunity to serve more than one Intended parent(s). In years past, one fresh donor was assigned per intended parent creating a backlog of available donors; up to nine months for fresh donations just to give some perspective. The RBA and MEB team came together to think of a solution on how we can optimize our donor population, so we decided to make it more accessible to everyone with the use of freezing a cohort of eggs known as an egg lot. Thus, the donor would be available to more than one patient. We became one of the first domestic egg banks in The United States and have become very successful since with its ever-demanding market.
As one of the co-founders of MyEggBank, I have seen the organization build from the ground up and love every aspect of it. We are constantly trying to perform better, keeping up with the latest technologies and providing optimal outcomes and programs for our Intended parent(s). One of my goals when we were first starting out was to work with the LGBTQ community to help anyone who wanted to start a family. That has been a solid and fulfilling goal as now we work with all clientele without exclusion, as long as the Intended parents are eligible and meet criteria, we are more than happy and willing to help you become a parent.
How did you first get involved in the reproductive medicine field?
Mecerod: By education and profession I’m a registered nurse, but I am now in the business/operations side that came more unexpectedly, but happily. My early years in nursing started in the operating room. While working as a nurse in the operating room, I ran into a reproductive surgeon that specialized in IVF. He offered me an opportunity of a lifetime to consider working in the reproductive medicine field as an IVF nurse. As expected, I fell in love with the business of helping people become parents and starting families. My professional path led me to Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, Georgia where I had the honor and privilege of working with the outstanding physicians, embryologists and clinicians at RBA. Shortly after arriving at RBA I became the nurse manager and for many years I ran both the donor and IVF programs. In 2012, I officially moved to MyEggBank as the Director of Clinical Operations and will be celebrating my 12year anniversary of MEB next year. Everyone who goes into the reproductive medicine field usually goes in with a reason – it’s a very emotional but satisfying field to be in when there are so many success stories and shared experiences.
We are fully aware that MyEggBank® is the industry’s largest and most diverse donor egg bank in North America. Can you explain to our readers how you have gained that reputation?
Mecerod: We have been in the business for 12 years with an incredible network of inventory centers that provide outstanding clinical experience, technology and the same mission of “making parenthood possible”. Early on MEB determined in order to provide donor inventory to centers outside of Georgia, additional inventory producing centers would be needed to branch out domestically and into Canada. MEB has the honor and privilege to work with Reproductive Biology Associates, Seattle Reproductive Medicine, Boston IVF, Center for Reproductive Medicine/Orlando, Dallas Fort Worth Associates, New England Fertility, Pacific Fertility Center/San Francisco, New York University and Nevada Fertility. The MEB inventory center provide a plethora of donors inclusive of most ethnicities that allows for a variety of options and programs for everyone depending on their needs and preferences. We are no longer just a frozen egg bank, as we offer fresh eggs now too. What sets MEB apart is the standard of care, the criteria for donor selection and the fact that all the inventory centers vet donors rigorously. All MEB donors available are approved before the Intended Parent(s) select their donor, which prevents a lot of emotional distress for the intended parents. We continue to expand MEB’s portfolio of programs, including compassionate eggs, fresh and frozen options and military discounts. MEB’s extensive expertise, flexibility and various program options create a pathway for all Intended Parents to experience the joy of parenthood.
Does MyEggBank® plan to expand to the rest of the world, including Europe and Asia?
Mecerod: Yes, one of our goals this year is to attend ASRM 2021 Scientific Congress & Expo to expand our outreach and worldly presence at the trade show. We are currently working with some clients in South Africa and will continue to expand our reach outside the U.S. as we are slowly making the jump over to Europe. This year will be very telling!
What is the difference between a synchronous and asynchronous donation cycle?
Mecerod: Both programs are essentially the same process. Synchronous donation cycles are fresh eggs that are inseminated the same day as the donor egg retrieval. Sperm is shipped to the MEB inventory center where the retrieval takes place, embryos are created and shipped to the Intended Parent(s) home center. Asynchronous donation cycle is MEB’s standard of frozen eggs. Eggs are shipped to the Intended Parent’s home center for thaw, insemination and frozen transfer. Embryo creation is available in the asynchronous program with the same principle of sperm shipped to the donor’s inventory center. Eggs are thawed, inseminated with Intended parent sperm and shipped to the Intended parent(s) home center after embryo creation is complete.
Any words of advice for those looking to become a donor?
Mecerod: If you are wishing to become a donor, please contact your local IVF center or contact MyEggBank and we can set you up with a donation site. MEB and its inventory centers take pride in protecting the integrity, health and safety of our donors and their privacy. MyEggBank has a large outreach of inventory centers geographically located all over the country so there is always a home for a donor that is looking to donate. Depending on the geographic market, the compensation may differ based on location.
Any words of advice for those looking to start their families with a donor?
Mecerod: It’s an ever-changing market and if you see a donor you like, you should probably take it! As soon as new donors are posted as available, they are connected to intended parents shortly after. The demand for donors is always higher than the supply, so we encourage patients not to wait if you see a donor you like. At the end of the day, MEB wants the best for Intended Parents finding their desired donor whether that be through MyEggBank or not, the goal is to create a path to parenthood!
Building a family through egg donations can be costly. What are some financing options that MyEggBank® offers to aspiring parents?
Mecerod: MEB offers many options for everyone including military discounts, bundle packages with the Inception Fertility network, and programs with our financial partners. The most patient-friendly option with minimal restrictions is to apply for a loan with CapexMD. Patients can fill out an application with CapexMD, typically within 48 hours will be given options for financing. Rates may vary depending on the time, but are amendable since they have been working with MyEggBank for a long time now. Lending Tree is another option with similar turnaround time for Intended Parents.
How did you first learn about Cryoport®? Describe your experience working with us.
Mecerod: I met John Phillips, Cryoport’s Global Vice President of Reproductive Medicine, and he explained Cryoports offerings for shipping services, insured carriers, with a promise of great customer service for our inventory and affiliate network. To date, MEB has experienced good customer service and timely shipping of eggs and embryos with Cryoport. Whenever I call Cryoport someone picks up the phone right away, so communication and full transparency is never an issue with the Cryoport team. We don’t give an option for intended parents to choose a courier anymore if they need to move their eggs and/or embryos, because we know Cryoport can handle the shipments safely and securely. Our business is now exclusive with Cryoport in the U.S. and it has been such a positive experience.
What prompted your organization to choose Cryoport® to provide the services you need as opposed to other transportation & logistic providers?
Mecerod: I would have to say the customer service with Cryoport is above and beyond. The personal touch and outreach the Cryoport team provide to our clients and partners gives us a sense that we will be taken care of. The team is very hands-on and proactive with our shipments as they are tracked closely by Cryoport and MEB. Since the start of MEB’s collaboration with Cryoport, John and team have closely monitored shipments and will reach out to MEB if there is a question or concern. Lastly, on behalf of MEB I would like to thank John Phillips for working collaboratively and professionally with our clients, inventory centers and providing quality service and customer satisfaction. We look forward to a long standing relationship.