Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation) Program
What is egg freezing?
There is a national trend for women to delay childbearing until the later reproductive years. A woman’s age strongly influences whether or not she will be able to conceive and women who delay childbearing may face infertility when they decide to get pregnant. The chance of a woman conceiving becomes more difficult after the age of 35 years and by age 45 years up to 99% of women may be infertile. Today, women have the option to take charge of their future fertility with elective egg freezing.
Elective egg freezing can allow women who wish to delay childbearing a means of avoiding infertility. This is because the ability of a woman to get pregnant is based on the “age” of the egg rather than the “age” of the uterus. This is also the reason that older women can become pregnant more easily using eggs donated from younger women. Although the option for fertility preservation through egg freezing is a more recent development, in October 2012, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) declared that egg freezing no longer be considered an “experimental treatment” as implantation and pregnancy rates using frozen eggs are similar to pregnancy rates using fresh eggs. Egg freezing in today is a great comfort to the woman who may look back and regret not giving herself the possibility of having a child.
When should you consider egg freezing?
The ideal age for egg freezing is likely between the ages of 30 to 40 years. Women who are less than 20 years of age usually have a number of years before fertility starts to decline, although some women in their 20s may be candidates if they have a family history of early menopause or signs of premature ovarian insufficiency. Fertility starts to decline for women in their mid to late thirties; optimally women would elective to freeze their eggs by 38 years of age. For women aged 38-41 years, egg freezing can also be a reasonable option pending fertility testing which can be done by one the Genesis Physicians.
What is the process for egg freezing?
If you are considering having your eggs frozen, here are some things you should know: One treatment cycle takes approximately two weeks to complete (half an IVF cycle). During your treatment you will take hormone injections that allow multiple eggs to mature. You will be monitored with serial ultrasounds and hormone levels to determine when your eggs are mature. During this time you may experience abdominal bloating, like during your period. The eggs are retrieved vaginally using an ultrasound guide and is completed in around 20 min. The egg retrieval is performed under light sedation so you will be asleep and comfortable. After the procedure, some patients experience period like symptoms, but most return to work the next day. You can expect your period about two weeks after your egg retrieval.
We know that not every egg that is frozen will go on to become a baby. When we do an egg harvesting procedure, some of the eggs obtained are not suitable for freezing or are unable to survive the freezing process. To have a reasonable chance of a pregnancy in the future, we recommend that a woman freeze at least 15-20 eggs. For a younger woman, this may be obtained in one treatment cycle. Am “older women” may need 2 or 3 treatment cycles to obtain this number. We would be happy to discuss the best plan for you during a consultation with a Genesis Physician.
To learn more about freezing your eggs, schedule a consultation with one of our physicians. They will be able to answer all of your questions and you give you more information so that you can decide if egg freezing is the right option for you. In the meantime, feel free to read more about egg freezing in the articles posted to our site.