Egg Freezing: Preserving Fertility Choices
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a wonderful option for any woman looking to preserve her fertility or delay pregnancy until later in life. Because of advances in reproductive technology, egg freezing now allows women to reliably save healthy eggs for use whenever they are ready to begin a family. The all-female team at Fertility Solutions understands the needs of today’s women and the modern demands that can impact family planning.
Why Should I Consider Egg Freezing?
Many of our patients have not yet found the right partner, are choosing to focus on their careers, or are struggling with a medical condition (like cancer) that might affect their fertility in the future. If you’re looking to start a family later in life, it is important to remember that the biological clock is real. Here are some facts to consider:
- A woman is born with all of the eggs she will have in her lifetime. From a supply of a million or so at birth, the number diminishes to around 300,000 by puberty.
- Each month, hormonal signals cause the ovaries to develop and release one egg (possibly more) from the dominant follicle that contains it.
- The eggs that grew but did not release during ovulation will dissolve and disappear, and are absorbed into the body.
How Much Does Egg Freezing Cost?
Your fertility specialist will help answer any questions you may have about the egg freezing process, costs involved, and the fertility services that are needed when you decide to use your frozen eggs to start your family.
How Do I Get Started?
If you are thinking about freezing your eggs, please schedule a consultation with one of our physicians to determine the best option for you. Your consultation includes an evaluation to determine if you are a good candidate for egg freezing.
The age of a woman’s eggs affects the quality and quantity of eggs, and is among the most important factors in human reproduction. If you are in your early 30s and fairly certain that you will not have the opportunity to start a family soon, our fertility center suggests egg freezing as a way to preserve fertility. Choosing to freeze eggs does not mean that you will run out of eggs; egg freezing simply harvests the eggs you would have otherwise lost as you aged.
What is the Egg Freezing Process?
The process for egg freezing is similar to that of a traditional IVF cycle, except the eggs are not fertilized until you are ready. First, your doctor will administer fertility medications that stimulate your ovaries with hormones and cause them to release more eggs. This generally allows multiple eggs to reach maturation during a single treatment cycle.
Next, your doctor will perform a minor surgical procedure under light anesthesia to harvest the eggs and prepare them for freezing. There are no incisions and the procedure lasts only about 20 minutes. Once harvested, Fertility Solutions uses a process called vitrification (flash freezing) to freeze the eggs quickly before any ice crystals can form, which can ruin the cell structure. This allows for a higher success rate when compared to the traditional slow-freeze method.
The goal of the egg retrieval procedure is to collect and freeze about 15 eggs in order to have a successful chance of conception during IVF (when the decision to have a child is made). All egg freezing procedures are performed by a doctor in our calming office environment rather than a “hospital,” and our anesthesiologists are all MDs. The eggs are vitrified and stored in our laboratory in the Dedham office.