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. When she is ready to start her family, the eggs are then thawed. Embryos are created via IVF and transferred into her uterus. With the advances in technology, the pregnancy rate when using frozen eggs continues to improve.
Over the last 10 years, more women are choosing to delay childbearing. However, after the age of 30 fertility rapidly declines, and even more so after the age of 35. Fortunately, women now have more control and can preserve their fertility by freezing their healthy eggs at a young age and undergo IVF when they are ready.
Egg Freezing Process
Step 1: Hormone Stimulation
Hormones 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