Many modern women postpone childbearing in order to complete their education, get their career on a solid footing, or find the right partner with whom they want to share their life. As a result, increasing numbers of women find themselves over the age 35 and confronted by fertility challenges.
Egg freezing offers women the possibility of greater control over their reproductive future by potentially extending their fertility: by age 35, a woman has lost ± 95% of her eggs and the rest are ageing rapidly.
Egg Freezing is a smart solution for this problem. The procedure starts out just like the technique to harvest eggs for IVF. To freeze eggs, a technique like verification can be used. Then, when a woman is ready to use her eggs, they need to be thawed and fertilised.
Not all the eggs may survive the cryopreservation and thawing process.
For the best chance of success:
The process of egg-freezing, or in medical speak, oöcyte cryopreservation, involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs, retrieving the eggs from the ovaries and taking them to the lab, where they’re cooled to subzero temperatures to be thawed at a later date.
The egg freezing process involves administering injections to stimulate the ovaries. Patients will typically give themselves injections of ovary-stimulating drugs for 10-12 days. They will make visits to the clinic during this period, for both blood tests and scans to ensure that the drugs are working properly. Clinic visits will allow the woman’s fertility specialist to adjust medication levels, if required.
After ovary stimulation, the eggs are collected under sedation. This procedure is done in theatre and takes 20-30 minutes. Following egg collection, you will require a recovery period of a few hours in the clinic before going home.
Egg freezing is something to consider if:
What happens after I have frozen my eggs?
Eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen tanks and can be stored indefinitely. Gas mixtures, temperatures and liquid nitrogen levels are checked daily and emergency plans are in place in the case of equipment failures or other emergencies (such as power failures). This way we ensure that your eggs are safe!
Once you are ready, you can return to our clinic to use your eggs. Your eggs will be thawed and fertilised through an IVF procedure. The IVF procedure can be performed by using your partner’s sperm or donor sperm. Alternatively, your eggs can be shipped to a clinic of your choice. Please note, shipping cost will be at your own cost.
When should you freeze your eggs?
When you are younger than 35 years of age
How does egg freezing work?
Although sperm and embryos have proved easy to freeze, the egg is the largest cell in the human body and contains a large amount of water. When frozen, ice crystals form that can destroy the cell. Over the years we have learned that we must dehydrate the egg and replace the water with an “anti-freeze” prior to freezing in order to prevent ice crystal formation. We also learned that because the shell of the egg hardens when frozen, sperm must be injected with a needle to fertilize the egg using a standard technique known as ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
Eggs are frozen using a flash-freezing process known as vitrification. At USC Fertility, we have expertise in vitrification and use this method for all egg freezing.
Is egg freezing painful?
Egg freezing prep can cause mild discomfort, but usually nothing more.