What Is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation that allows women to extract their egg cells (oocytes) and cryogenically freeze them for future use.
When Is It Used?
Women are born with about 1-2 million eggs. However, by the time a girl reaches puberty, she is left with about half a million eggs. These eggs continue to diminish throughout a woman’s fertile years — between 18 and 34 years. As a woman enters her late-30s and early 40s, the eggs disappear more quickly, and at 38 years a woman has approximately 10 percent of her eggs remaining. Additionally, the remaining eggs are of poorer quality, and less likely to lead to a chromosomally viable pregnancy.
What Do I Need to Know?
Before eggs can be frozen they need to be extracted this is done through the process of controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) and retrieval of the eggs. To learn more about this process please review our IVF page.
Once the eggs are harvested, those that are mature can be preserved for future use. Typically, approximately 70-90 percent of the eggs retrieved are mature. Once frozen, eggs can remain frozen for years without loss of quality. Depending on a woman’s age and fertility potential, it is generally advised that at least 10 eggs be stored to give her a reasonable chance of future fertility in the future.
Alternatively, eggs can be combined with sperm (using either traditional IVF or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)) to create embryos that can also be frozen for future use.
Information Source: American Society for Reproductive Medicine