Egg Freezing

Egg freezing, also called oocyte cryopreservation, is a form of fertility preservation that allows women to take charge of their biological clocks. If you are not ready to have children now but know you want to have biological children in the future, you can freeze your eggs to grow your family on a timeline that’s right for you. The Fertility Institute offers egg freezing utilizing the latest cryopreservation techniques for patients interested in preserving their fertility.

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Why Freeze Your Eggs?

There are many reasons for planned oocyte cryopreservation. Every woman has her own. Some of the most common reasons our fertility specialists see include:

  • Age/Not ready for children: Advancing age causes the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs to deteriorate. Freezing eggs at a younger age (in your 20s or early 30s) means the eggs are suspended in time at the age that you freeze them. Younger eggs have an increased chance of leading to a successful pregnancy.
  • Medications: Some medications can diminish ovarian function and reduce a woman’s ability to conceive without fertility treatments.
  • Family history: If a woman’s family history shows signs of early menopause or ovarian cancer, egg freezing may be a good precaution.
  • Autoimmune conditions: Autoimmune conditions and other health issues can harm your fertility over time.
  • Surgery: If a woman is to undergo gynecologic surgery that can cause infertility, she may want to freeze her eggs before the procedure.
  • Cancer: Women diagnosed with cancer may choose to preserve their fertility before cancer treatments, which can cause infertility. Freezing eggs before undergoing cancer treatments is called oncofertility. The Fertility Institute provides expedited care for patients pursuing oncofertility.
  • Gender-affirming care: Some patients choose to freeze eggs prior to beginning gender-affirming care treatments such as surgery or hormone replacement therapy.

The Cryopreservation Process

Freezing eggs involves many of the same steps of in vitro fertilization (IVF) but on a different timeline. Learn more about the process below:

Ovarian Reserve Assessment

Our fertility specialist will perform an ovarian reserve assessment to estimate the potential number of eggs available before the ovarian stimulation cycle. This assessment will include a series of fertility tests including pelvic ultrasound as well as blood tests, which will help determine the correct dose of ovulation stimulation medications.

Ovulation Induction

Ovulation induction, also known as controlled ovarian stimulation (COS), uses injectable fertility medications for 10 to 12 days to stimulate the ovaries and increase the number of eggs available. The goal is to safely collect and freeze as many eggs (oocytes) as possible.

The number of eggs a woman should freeze varies by age:

  • Women under 35: Freeze 20 mature eggs for an 85% chance of having at least one child.
  • Women 38 to 40: Freeze 30 mature eggs for a 75% chance of having at least one child.
  • Women 41 to 42: Freeze 30 mature eggs for a 50% chance of having at least one child.

Ovulation Induction

Egg Retrieval

After stimulation, the eggs are retrieved from the ovarian follicles while the woman is under mild anesthesia.

The egg retrieval in-office procedure uses a long needle carefully inserted through the vagina to extract the eggs and is guided by ultrasound. You can go home the same day and return to normal activities within 48 hours.

Egg Vitrification (Freezing) & Thawing for Fertility Treatment

Once the eggs are retrieved, one of our expert embryologists applies a solution that prevents ice crystals from forming in the eggs. The eggs are then cooled to subzero temperatures and safely stored in a cryotank until they are thawed for fertilization.

Unlike embryo cryopreservation used in IVF, the eggs are not fertilized before freezing. Once a patient is ready to use the eggs, they are placed in a warming solution to thaw rapidly. The thawed eggs can then be fertilized through in-vitro fertilization and transferred into the uterus to achieve pregnancy.

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