Egg Freezing (Vitrification)
Egg freezing consists of retrieving a woman’s eggs from the ovaries and then freezing and storing the viable eggs (oocytes) only without fertilizing them by sperm. In the future, when a woman finds a partner and decides to have children, her stored frozen eggs are then thawed and fertilized with the sperm of her partner for the purpose of getting pregnant. In case the woman doesn’t have a partner, she might decide in the future to fertilize her stored frozen eggs by donor sperm.
Woman’s fertility is largely dependent on the quality and quantity of her eggs. As woman ages her fertility potential or egg quality and quantity decreases as does the chances of conception. This is an option to save the fertility of a woman who decides to marry late. Additionally, some medical conditions such cancer for example require treatments such as chemotherapy that often have an adverse effect on fertility, and premature menopause or premature ovarian failure accelerate the aging of eggs. Whatever the cause, diminished egg quantity and quality significantly impacts one's ability to conceive.
The Egg Freezing Program offers egg freezing technology (also called oocyte vitrification) to protect a woman’s fertility in all of these situations. By making the choice to freeze her eggs today, a woman can lock in her fertility potential for future use when the circumstances and timing are right for her. She can stop the aging of her eggs by freezing them for an indefinite period of time. The ovaries age with time but the uterus doesn't age. This is why by freezing her eggs a woman can use them at an older age to be fertilized by the sperm of her future partner and then transfer the embryos inside her uterus even if she is above the age of 55 as long as her health allows her to get pregnant. The uterus doesn't lose its function with age.
Age and Fertility Preservation:
Egg freezing is intended to extend the biological clock. Female fertility begins declining in the mid-20s but conception rates remain high until the age of 35. By her mid-30s, the decline accelerates to reach minimal pregnancy potential by the time the woman reaches age 42. In addition, women over 35 have an increased risk of miscarriage and/or genetic abnormalities in their children as a result of age-dependent changes in egg quality. Therefore, the best age to preserve eggs is in your early to mid-30s. When a woman uses her frozen eggs in the future, even if a number of years have passed, both the pregnancy rates and the incidence of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities will depend on the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen, not on her age when she will use the eggs.
Egg freezing procedure:
Egg Freezing procedure for virgins:
We have a special technical way for virgins to make egg retrieval while maintaining their virginity.
We start monitoring the growth and size of the egg follicles by an abdominal ultrasound.
Once the eggs are ready and become mature by reaching the required size, we do egg retrieval under anesthesia through the vagina, even for the virgins, using a long thin needle fixed on a probe of a thin vaginal ultrasound. After the egg retrieval is done, the hymen of the virginity is examined and if it has been scratched or injured during the procedure of egg retrieval, it will be repaired by 1 suture or 2 in a very easy way to keep it as it was before. The girl does not lose her virginity. She can continue her life with reassurance as if nothing had happened until she finds her partner in the future.
The initial steps of Egg freezing are the same as the initial steps of in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Step 1 - Preparing for the Egg freezing cycle
Prior to the start of your cycle, you will work with your physician to outline 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 9–14 days. During this period of time, you will be asked to come to the clinic for “monitoring” appointments. These appointments are done in the morning, in an average of 3 - 4 visits before the egg retrieval, at the clinic and consist of an abdominal ultrasound for the virgins and a Trans-vaginal ultrasound for the others 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 - 15 minutes, during which you are given light sedation Intra Venous. Due to the sedation, you have to come to the clinic early in the morning without eating or drinking anything (fasting) and you’ll be asked to take a day off the next day.
After you sleep, the eggs are retrieved through the vagina, even for the virgins, using a long thin needle attached to a probe of a thin vaginal ultrasound. For the virgins after the egg retrieval, the hymen of virginity is examined. If the hymen is scratched or injured, 1 or 2 sutures will be done to repair it. Thus, the girl does not lose her virginity and as if nothing had happened.
The day of the egg retrieval, specially-trained embryologists will assess the maturity of your eggs and the mature eggs are then frozen in the lab. 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 procedure, your menstrual cycle will come as normal; however, you may wish to continue with another cycle of egg freezing to procure enough eggs for multiple attempts to have pregnancy in the future by thawing the eggs and fertilizing them by the partner's sperm. The optimal number of frozen eggs to have a baby is freezing at least 16 eggs. 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. If we freeze the eggs before the age of 35, women will have a greater chance to obtain a successful pregnancy from the frozen eggs. In Europe, the pregnancy has to be pursued before the age of 51 for legal reasons. At our clinic we don't have any age restrictions for the woman to get pregnant as long as she will be healthy. The woman’s age when the eggs are thawed does not impact success rates. The most important factor is the age when the egg freezing took place.
Note: The optimal number of frozen eggs to ensure childbirth is approximately 15 frozen eggs.