Egg freezing is an option for women who, for social reasons or medical reasons, might not be in a position to start a family right now.
Fertility declines with age, so it can be harder for some women to fall pregnant naturally later in life, by freezing your eggs you can safeguard your fertility, preserve your eggs now and start a family later. Remembering that some women don’t use their frozen eggs as they are able to fall pregnant naturally.
What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a technique whereby eggs are frozen soon after being collected. In order to collect and freeze eggs, a woman will go through ovarian stimulation. Ovarian stimulation involves hormone medications that are undertaken for approximately 10-12 days which assist to stimulate your ovaries. Your fertility specialist will explain the best treatment and medication plan for your individual case.
Commonly, hormone medication involves giving yourself an injection with a small needle under the skin. Do not be afraid, this is nothing to worry about, and your fertility nurse is available to help throughout your treatment. Whilst you are undertaking ovarian stimulation, you will be monitored with blood tests and ultrasounds.
During a normal cycle in a woman’s body, only 1 egg will mature and be released per cycle (ovulation). Ovarian stimulation helps several of the eggs to mature and once matured, they are able to be collected.
When your eggs are ready to be collected, you will be asked to go to the hospital for the day procedure where the eggs are collected from your ovaries. You will have a sedation administered by an Anaesthetist. The egg collection (or ‘egg pick up’) procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and you will be asleep during that time. You can have your egg pick up under local anaesthetic upon request.
Using the latest ultrasound technology, a Repromed Fertility Doctor guides a needle into each ovary (eggs are contained in the fluid within the follicles in your ovaries and invisible to the naked eye). The doctor then removes fluid from the follicles that look like they have grown enough to have an egg inside. Prior to retrieval, your ultrasound gives a good indication of how many eggs are available to be collected, the average number of eggs collected is 8-15.
Your collected eggs will be passed straight on to Repromed’s scientists, our scientists will distinguish which eggs are mature enough to be kept, immature eggs do not generate successful pregnancies. Those mature eggs are then frozen via vitrification.
Recovery takes about 30 minutes and you will be able to walk out on your own. However, as with all sedations, you will not be able to drive after the procedure for 24 hours therefore we recommend bringing a support person with you.
Using Your Eggs
Frozen eggs can be kept for as long as you wish. When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, contact your fertility specialist to discuss the best plan for you.
When your eggs are ready to be used, they will be thawed by warming quickly to 37 degrees Celsius. Once at 37 degrees, the eggs are ready for insemination by ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) a process whereby a single sperm is injected into the egg. Once the sperm has fertilised the egg, the egg develops into an embryo, and a transfer may occur. Unfortunately, however not all eggs will fertilise and reach embryo stage.