What is Egg Freezing?
Freezing eggs is a fertility preservation technique offered by fertility clinics, where a woman’s eggs are harvested, frozen unfertilised and stored for later use. A frozen egg can then be thawed, fertilised with sperm in a laboratory 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.
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. Ovaries are stimulated using fertility drugs, so they produce more eggs than usual. They are then monitored and collected when they’re mature.
A single cycle involves: 8-11 days of hormone injections which stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, instead of just the one. During this time, ultrasound monitoring is used to keep track of how many follicles are developing. Blood tests may also be taken to check hormone levels.
How are eggs collected?
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.
36 hrs after this, the patient is admitted to the clinic for egg collection to take place. This takes around 20 minutes.
How are frozen eggs stored?
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.
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.