Egg freezing is an appealing option for women who want to extend their fertility time frame. Women elect to use this service for a variety of reasons, including:
- Fertility preservation (to pursue educational, career or personal life goals)
- Prefers to avoid freezing surplus embryos after an IVF cycle
- Medical conditions or treatment (chemotherapy or radiation that can affect the pelvic region)
Age is the single most important factor that affects fertility. Between the age of 30 – 35, women will begin to experience a gradual decline in their ability to become pregnant. After the age of 40, there is a significant decline in conception and a higher chance of complications. Egg freezing can help preserve a women’s fertility and family building options.
How does egg freezing work?
To begin the egg freezing process, a woman undergoes the same hormone-injection process as in-vitro fertilization. The only difference is that following egg retrieval, the eggs are frozen.
It takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete the egg freezing cycle and the steps are similar to the initial stages of the in-vitro fertilization process:
- A woman will take birth control pills for 2-4 weeks to temporarily turn off natural hormones.
- Afterwards, a woman will do hormone injections for 10-14 days to stimulate the ovaries and mature multiple eggs.
- Once the eggs have matured, they are removed with a needle that is inserted into the vagina under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under intravenous sedation and is not painful. Once the eggs are retrieved they are frozen within a few hours.
When a woman is ready to conceive, the eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus 5 days later as embryos. This process is called Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). The eggs will be similar age and quality as the time period in which they were frozen, regardless of how many years have gone by. The pregnancy success rates related to a frozen embryo transfer depend on the woman’s age at the time she froze her eggs.
The Fertility Institute of San Diego invites you to learn more by visiting: http://www.fertilityinstitutesandiego.com/our-services/fertility-treatment/fertility-preservation/egg-freezing/