Egg Freezing (Vitrification) and Egg Banking
Egg freezing process:
Egg freezing is the same as the initial steps of in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Step 1 - Preparing for the Cycle
Prior to the start of your cycle, you will work with your physician to make a schedule for your egg freezing cycle.
Preparation will involve a few additional blood tests and a lecture explaining how to make the injections.
Scheduling your egg freezing cycle can be coordinated with your needs depending on when you would like to complete the egg retrieval. To help time the cycle, you will be placed on birth control pills for approximately three weeks.
Step 2 - Stimulating the Ovaries
To stimulate the ovaries, you will be instructed to take injectable medications, which you will administer at home, for an average of 8 -14 days. During this period of time, you will be asked to come to the office for “monitoring” appointments. These appointments are done in the morning, at the clinic and consist of a Trans-vaginal ultrasound to measure and monitor your follicles, the fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries in which the eggs grow. As well as blood tests to measure and monitor your hormone levels. Both the ultrasound and blood tests allow your physician to monitor your progress and determine when to retrieve the eggs.
Once the follicles reach a mature size, your egg retrieval will be scheduled at the clinic.
Step 3 - The Egg Retrieval & Freezing
The actual egg retrieval procedure takes approximately 10 minutes, during which you are given Intra Venous light sedation. Due to the sedation, you have to come to the clinic without eating or drinking anything (fasting) and you’ll be asked to take off work or school for the entire day. The day of the egg retrieval, specially-trained embryology technicians will assess the maturity of your eggs and the mature eggs are then frozen. Following the procedure, you will be told the number of mature eggs frozen. After the egg retrieval, you will be sent home to rest and relax. Most women are able to resume normal activities and return to work the next day.
Step 4 - Post-Egg Freezing
After your egg freezing cycle, your menstrual cycle will come as normal; however, you may wish to continue with another cycle to procure enough eggs for multiple attempts at pregnancy. In this case, you can contact your doctor and tell him when you’ll be ready to prepare for an additional cycle.
Once eggs are frozen, you now have a back-up plan, should you need them in the future. Use of these eggs in the future involves thawing, inseminating the egg with sperm, and transfer of healthy embryo(s) into the uterus. The age of the eggs at the time of freezing is the most important factor impacting success. Though pregnancy has to be pursued before the age of 51 for medical reasons, the woman’s age when the eggs are thawed does not impact success rates.