What is Egg Freezing?
Human oocyte cryopreservation, commonly known as egg freezing, is the process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored. Later, when she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized by way of In vitro fertilization (IVF) and transferred to the uterus as embryos. With advances in egg preservation technology, the pregnancy rate when using a fresh or frozen egg continues to improve.
In the last 10 years, more women are choosing to delay childbearing. However with each passing year, women may face challenges to becoming pregnant, considering fertility rapidly declines after age 30 and even more so after the age of 35. Fortunately, in today’s day and age these women can preserve their fertility by freezing their healthy eggs at a young age and undergoing embryo transfers at a later age.
Egg Freezing Process
Step 1: Hormone Stimulation
Hormones are injections are administered for as long as one to several weeks. The hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs..
Step 2: Egg Retrieval
The eggs are subsequently removed from the body by transvaginal oocyte retrieval. The procedure is usually conducted under sedation.
Step 3: Freezing
The egg is the largest cell in the human body and contains a high amount of water. When the egg is frozen, the ice crystals that form can destroy the integrity of the cell. To prevent this, the egg must be dehydrated prior to freezing. This is done using cryoprotectants which replace most of the water within the cell and inhibit the formation of ice crystals.
Who Should Consider Egg Freezing?
- Women with the desire to delay childbearing in order to pursue education, career, or other personal goals
- Women diagnosed with cancer and need cancer treatment
- Women over the age of 30 who have yet to meet the right partner
- Women with certain medical issues