Oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing, is a way for a woman to preserve her ability to get pregnant or have a biological child through surrogacy in the future. The eggs that are harvested from a woman’s ovaries are then frozen and stored for later use, where they may be fertilized with sperm and then implanted in her uterus (in vitro fertilization) or that of a surrogate.
If you are considering freezing your eggs, understanding the process can help you make the best decisions for you and your future. The most common questions and concerns are listed below, to help you understand what you need to know about egg freezing.
Egg freezing is done to preserve your eggs, which diminish with age, so that you can become pregnant at a later time. If you have had a condition that affects your fertility, know that you will need treatments for cancer or another illness, or wish to preserve younger eggs for future use, you may be a candidate for egg freezing.
A woman should consider freezing her eggs in her 20s and early 30s. Most women still have an ovarian reserve at this time, and eggs are typically healthier when they are younger. A fertility specialist can perform tests to determine what your ovarian reserve may be and help you decide whether to freeze your eggs.
The process of freezing your eggs can take a considerable amount of time. Blood will be drawn to determine your ovarian reserve and whether you have any infectious diseases. An ultrasound will be performed, and then you will need to take hormones treatments for 1-2 weeks. This hormone will cause your ovaries to grow follicles. You will also be taking medicine to prevent you from ovulating. You will need to take injections of human chorionic gonadotropin for 9-10 days that will help the eggs mature. Finally, the retrieval of your eggs will be performed in your doctor’s office with a transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. A needle is inserted into the vaginal canal and suction removes the eggs one at a time. Eggs are then frozen using a flash-freezing process, which is known as vitrification.
Every woman is different, but you may experience cramping and some pain, as well as some mood swings due to hormone treatments. If you begin to gain weight or bloat, you may have ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is a reaction to the fertility drugs.
Egg freezing works incredibly well. However, the results are not guaranteed. The chances of becoming pregnant are approximately 30-60%, depending on multiple factors including your age.
If you are considering freezing your eggs, you likely have many more questions about whether this fertility option is the best choice for you. To schedule a consultation with our fertility specialists, please contact our office at (949) 706-2229 or online today. We look forward to visiting with you and discussing your family planning options.