Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is the process of collecting and freezing a woman's unfertilised eggs for later use. It is a proven practice recognised by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. The process involves extracting eggs from the ovaries and flash-freezing them using a technique called vitrification. Egg freezing may be a good option for individuals who wish to preserve their fertility for personal, professional, or medical reasons, such as facing medical treatments that may compromise fertility or delay parenthood. When ready to become pregnant, the eggs are thawed, fertilised, and transferred to the uterus.
What are the benefits of egg freezing?
1. Preservation of Fertility
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a method of fertility preservation that allows individuals to freeze and store their eggs for future use. This process can be beneficial for those who may not be ready for parenthood due to personal or professional reasons, or for those who may face medical treatments or conditions that could negatively impact their reproductive potential. By preserving their eggs at their current age, individuals can increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy when they are ready to start a family.
2. Lowered Fertility Treatment Costs
Egg freezing can potentially help lower fertility treatment costs by allowing individuals to preserve their fertility when they are younger and have healthier eggs. By freezing their eggs, they can delay childbearing until they are financially stable or have found a partner. This can help avoid the need for more costly fertility treatments later in life, such as IVF or egg donation.
3. Ability to Conserve Eggs for Future Use
Egg freezing is a process that allows women to preserve their fertility by storing their eggs for future use. The process involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs, which are then retrieved through a minimally invasive procedure. The eggs are then frozen and stored in a specialized facility until the woman is ready to use them. Egg freezing is a safe and effective way for women to postpone childbearing until a more convenient time, preserve fertility in the face of medical conditions or treatments, and increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy in the future.
4. Ability to Use Frozen Eggs for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a fertility preservation technique that involves extracting eggs from the ovaries and freezing them for later use in assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). When a woman is ready to use her frozen eggs to achieve pregnancy, the cryopreserved eggs are thawed, fertilised with intracytoplasmic sperm injection
(ICSI), and grown in culture until the resulting embryo(s) are ready to be transferred into the uterus.
5. Potential to Delay Childbearing Due to Work or Other Commitments
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a procedure that enables individuals to delay pregnancy until a later stage. This can be particularly beneficial for those who want to pursue their careers or other commitments before starting a family. Freezing eggs can offer peace of mind, eliminate the pressure of the biological clock, and give individuals the chance to preserve fertility before it declines. Successful pregnancies are less common with frozen eggs than fresh eggs, but frozen eggs can still offer hope of conceiving in the future. Egg freezing is a safe and effective way to take control of your reproductive future.
What is the process of freezing eggs?
Step 1: Fertility testing and assessment
The first step in the egg-freezing process is a fertility assessment, which involves evaluating key factors that impact fertility. This includes assessing ovarian reserve, hormone levels, and any underlying medical conditions that may impact fertility. Common tests used to assess fertility include transvaginal ultrasounds, blood tests to measure anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels, and genetic screening for infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. This step is crucial in determining whether egg freezing is a viable option for women reservations. By understanding a woman's current fertility status, her doctor can develop a personalised treatment plan that maximises the number of eggs that can be safely retrieved without putting her at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Step 2: Ovarian stimulation
To freeze eggs, a woman undergoes ovarian stimulation, during which she receives hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Here are the key points of the process:
- Medications: The woman takes daily hormone injections of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during a cycle. She may also take birth control pills or other medications to synchronise her follicles.
- Administration: The injections are self-administered subcutaneously in the belly and are taken for about 10 to 12 consecutive days.
- Monitoring: The woman will have regular monitoring visits (approximately every other day) to assess her response to the medications and to see if doses need adjusting. Monitoring includes ultrasound and blood work.
- Purpose: The goal of ovarian stimulation is to produce multiple mature eggs that can be retrieved and frozen for future use.
It is important to note that ovarian stimulation can cause side effects, such as bloating, discomfort, and mood swings. In rare instances, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) may occur, which is associated with swollen, enlarged ovaries and the collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity. The process of egg retrieval is done under light sedation and is not usually painful, however, after the retrieval, the woman may experience some mild pain, which is treatable.
Step 3: Egg retrieval
The egg retrieval process for freezing eggs involves several steps. First, the patient undergoes a fertility assessment to determine their current fertility status. Then, they self-inject hormone medications for 10-12 days to stimulate the ovaries to grow as many eggs as possible. During this time, they also have frequent pelvic ultrasounds and bloodwork to monitor follicle growth. Once the eggs have matured, the patient undergoes an outpatient procedure under anesthesia to retrieve the eggs. An embryologist verifies that the eggs are mature and have the potential to become fertilised before they are frozen. Potential risks or side effects of the egg retrieval process include pelvic discomfort and a feeling of fullness in the belly that may persist for a week or more. As with any surgical procedure, there are also risks associated with anesthesia that should be discussed with the doctor.
Step 4: Freeze eggs
Step 4 in the egg freezing process
involves the actual freezing of the eggs. The most effective method of freezing is vitrification, which involves quickly freezing the eggs using nitrogen to prevent the formation of ice crystals that could damage them. The eggs are placed in a special solution and then plunged into liquid nitrogen at a temperature of around -196°C. The duration of the freezing process is typically only a few minutes. Once the eggs are frozen, they are stored in a secure facility until the patient is ready to use them.
Step 5: Consume nutrient-dense food
Consuming nutrient-dense food is important during the egg freezing process because it can help support the growth and development of healthy eggs. Nutrient-dense foods are those that are high in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that the body needs for optimal health. Some examples of nutrient-dense foods that are recommended during the egg freezing process include leafy green vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats such as avocado and nuts. These foods can provide the body with the necessary nutrients to support healthy egg development and can also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can have a negative impact on egg quality.
Step 6: Take regular physical activity sessions
Regular physical activity is important during the process of freezing eggs to improve fertility outcomes and increase the chances of a successful egg freezing cycle. Here are some reasons why:
- Improved blood flow: Exercise increases blood flow to the reproductive organs, which can improve their function and increase the chances of successful egg retrieval.
- Reduced stress: The process of egg freezing can be stressful, but regular physical activity has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health.
- Better hormone balance: Physical activity can help regulate hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which are important for fertility.
- Improved overall health: Regular exercise can improve overall health, including cardiovascular health, which is important for a successful pregnancy.
Remember, taking care of your body during the egg freezing process is important for achieving the best possible outcome. Regular physical activity is just one way to support your fertility goals and improve your overall health.
Step 7: Consider pregnancy options after frozen eggs banking
When a woman is ready to use her frozen eggs to achieve pregnancy, there are several options available. The first option is natural conception, where the woman has intercourse during ovulation in hopes of the egg being fertilized by sperm. This option may be less expensive than other methods, but success rates can vary depending on factors such as age and fertility status.
The second option is intrauterine insemination
(IUI), where sperm is directly inserted into the uterus during ovulation. This method can be less expensive than in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and can be a good option for women with no major fertility issues. However, success rates can also vary and may require multiple attempts.
The third option is in vitro fertilisation (IVF), where the eggs are thawed and fertilised with sperm in a lab. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the uterus. IVF
can be more expensive than other methods, but it also has higher success rates, especially for women over 35 or with fertility issues. The success rates for IVF can range from 20-40%, depending on factors such as age and number of embryos transferred.
It's important to note that success rates and costs can vary depending on individual circumstances and the clinic chosen. It's recommended to speak with a fertility specialist to discuss which option may be best for your specific situation. While freezing your eggs may not guarantee a future pregnancy, it can provide you with more options and flexibility in achieving your dream of motherhood.
How many eggs do you need for freezing?
The number of eggs needed for egg freezing varies based on age, fertility status, and individual circumstances. Generally, most people will need 10 to 20 mature eggs to have a baby. However, freezing more eggs, either through one retrieval or through additional rounds, increases the chances of a live birth later on. For example, someone younger than 35 has a 70% chance of live birth if they freeze nine or more mature eggs. It's important to remember that quality over quantity is crucial when it comes to egg freezing.
If you're considering delaying parenthood, egg freezing may be a viable option for you. The process of egg freezing involves extracting and storing your eggs for future use, giving you the opportunity to conceive when you're ready. Milann fertility
specialists are here to help you navigate this process with ease. Our team of dedicated specialists offers the best possible care, counselling, and support to ensure that you feel comfortable throughout the process. Contact us to schedule a consultation and explore your options. With Milann, you can take control of your fertility and realize your dream of parenthood on your terms.