Thanks to an advancement in technology 12 years ago, freezing your eggs for future use is a perfectly viable and effective solution that garners the same success rates as fresh eggs. This means women have more options than ever when it comes to creating the families of their dreams.
At IVFMD, our team of fertility specialists has extensive experience helping patients overcome the many issues that make family-building more challenging. Whether it’s a matter of timing, fertility, or health, we’re solution-oriented and we work exhaustively toward a successful outcome.
One technique, in particular, is helping women better control their chances of building a family — egg freezing. Here’s a brief look at why you might want to consider egg freezing and what you should expect.
Egg freezing at a glance
In 2008, a technique called vitrification was introduced, which takes cells from room temperature to minus 196 degrees Celsius in milliseconds. This advancement is significant because it means preserving your eggs without the threat of ice crystals forming, which can compromise their viability.
With oocyte vitrification, the average egg survival rate is 90%, with pregnancy rates of 50% or higher. When you compare this to the old freezing rates of 20% and 10%, respectively, you can see why oocyte vitrification is a more popular choice.
There are many reasons why you may choose to freeze your eggs, but to give you an idea of why our patients turn to this procedure, here are the most common drivers:
- Undergoing fertility-threatening treatments like chemotherapy or radiation
- Ovary removal
- Collecting healthier eggs for later pregnancies (egg health deteriorates rapidly after age 35)
- A family history of early menopause
Whatever your reason, our goal is to ensure that you have the best chances of success.
The freezing process
When it comes to freezing eggs, we typically recommend retrieving 10 mature eggs for each pregnancy you’d like to have. To accomplish this, we first evaluate your ovarian reserve to ensure that we can retrieve the necessary number of viable eggs.
Once we determine that your ovaries are functioning well and that they’re producing enough healthy eggs, we place you on birth control pills to give your ovaries a break before we stimulate them. This rest period typically lasts for two to three weeks until we set you up with ovary-stimulating injections that you’ll need to self-administer daily.
During this time, we monitor and test you regularly to determine when we should harvest your eggs. When that time comes, we place you under a quick general anesthesia and aspirate your ovaries. After we’ve collected your eggs, they’re inspected and prepared in the laboratory before they’re frozen and stored.
In all, you can expect this process to take four to six weeks. After your eggs are frozen, they can be stored for as long as you need and, when you’re ready, we turn to in vitro fertilization to begin your pregnancy journey.
Clearly, we’ve simplified the process here in order to provide you with a brief review. If you’d like to explore this possibility in greater depth, contact us to schedule a consultation. We have offices in Irving, Grapevine, and Arlington, Texas.