What is Egg Freezing?
Freezing eggs is a fertility preservation technique offered here at RHG, where a woman’s eggs are harvested, frozen unfertilised and stored for later use. A frozen egg can then be thawed, fertilised with sperm and implanted back into the uterus (in vitro fertilization or IVF).
Why would I consider freezing my eggs?
For many women, having a child is not an option until their mid to late thirties or early forties. Egg freezing provides the perfect way to protect your fertility potential.
But because our bodies change with age, with a decrease in our bodies’ ability to produce and maintain healthy cells, the option to remove and preserve eggs and sperm can be key. The ability to preserve eggs and sperm while they are healthy is often a highly important step for women who want to have children later in life.
Egg freezing may also be necessary if there’s a problem obtaining a sperm sample during IVF treatment. If there’s a problem obtaining a sperm sample, egg freezing is a procedure which ensures the eggs can still be used when the sperm is available.
Additionally, some medical treatments such as chemotherapy may severely affect fertility by damaging a woman’s eggs, making egg freezing a way of insuring fertility in worst case scenarios.
What to expect during the egg freezing process?
The first phase of the process is very similar to the standard IVF cycle.
The first step will be to have an initial appointment with one of our consultants. Your dedicated consultant will discuss your medical history and perform standard tests here at our state of the art fertility clinic in Cheshire, UK. The pre-treatment tests allow us to assess your fertility and ensure that egg freezing is right for you. Our standard tests include measuring your ovarian reserve, which checks for the number of eggs in your ovaries and your potential response to the next step, ovarian stimulation.
We will then discuss with you how long you’d like to store your eggs and what you would like to do with them should something happen to you in the future.
Following on from your first consultation tests, and before any eggs can be taken, your ovaries must be stimulated. Fertility drugs will be provided to you to help maximise the number of eggs produced during your next cycle. This process is carefully tailored to you and gives us the best chance of collecting a large number of healthy eggs.
We monitor your process carefully through a number of ultrasound scans to track the number of follicles developing and blood tests may also be taken to monitor hormone levels. This is key to us understanding the optimal time for egg collection.
When three or more follicles measuring more than 17mm in diameter have been produced, a hormone trigger injection which will ripen and mature the eggs is given.
The collection procedure can take around 20 minutes to complete and is performed whilst you are sedated. This is typically 35-38 hours after your trigger injection.
If there is a healthy egg present, we’ll then check to see whether the egg matured or not, as matured eggs are ready to receive a sperm cell and perfect for freezing.
Freezing your eggs or egg cryopreservation
Eggs are frozen using a technique called vitrification and stored in liquid nitrogen until the patient is ready to undergo treatment using the eggs. Eggs can currently be stored like this for up to ten years.
Using Your Frozen Eggs
When the patient is ready, eggs are thawed, analysed, and fertilised using Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The highest quality sperm is injected into the egg and the best quality embryos will be selected for transfer.
Why choose RHG for egg freezing?
Our egg freezing process is highly tailored to you. We personalise your treatment, you will have a dedicated consultant and we also offer support from our counselling parters. The entire process is geared around producing quality eggs instead of quantity, giving the best chance of pregnancy in the future.
If you have any further questions about the egg freezing process, success rates, or cost, please feel free to contact us and book a consultation with one of our fertility experts.