Egg Freezing (Vitrification)
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 or lupus for example require treatments such as chemotherapy that often have an adverse effect on fertility,and premature menopause accelerate the aging of eggs. Whatever the cause, diminished egg 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.
Age and Fertility Preservation:
Egg freezing is intended to extend the biological clock. Female fertility begins declining in the early 20s but conception rates remain high into the 30s. 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 women 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 her age when she uses the eggs.
Egg freezing process:
Egg freezing is the same as the initial steps of in vitro fertilization (IVF)
Step 1 - Prepping for the 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 office for “monitoring” appointments. These appointments are done in the morning, at the clinic andconsist 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 work 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 IV 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 doctorand 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.