Get the Facts About Egg Freezing
A few years ago, egg freezing or cryopreservation wasn’t mainstream. In fact, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine only took away the “experimental” label in 2012, calling egg freezing “standard” for fertility treatment in some cases.
The ASRM’s decision came as a result of four randomized controlled studies and other observational studies that showed frozen eggs had:
- Fertilization rates between 71 and 79 percent,
- Implantation rates between 17 and 41 percent, and
- Pregnancy rates between 36 and 61 percent.
Who Should Consider Egg Freezing?
Women who are facing medical diagnoses that could impact their fertility are candidates for cryopreservation. For example, a women who must undergo chemotherapy and/or radiation for cancer treatment might choose to freeze her eggs. Women who must have their ovaries removed due to severe endometriosis are also candidates.
There are also social reasons for egg freezing. Perhaps as woman hasn’t met the right partner yet, or she wants to focus on her career during her most fertile years. Or perhaps a transgender person wants to preserve eggs before transition hormone therapy or surgery.
How is Egg Freezing Performed?
Whatever the reason to freeze your eggs, the process is the same.
- A couple of months before the process begins, start eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, if you’re not already.
- When it’s time to start the process, you’ll visit our Vermont fertility clinic on the third day of your period. We’ll perform blood work to check your hormone levels along with an ultrasound of your ovaries. You’ll leave the office with medications that prompt your ovaries to grow eggs. The self-administered hormone injections and oral drugs will be taken for 8-14 days.
- Between the 4th-6th days after starting the medications, you’ll come back to our office for more blood work and another ultrasound. We’ll be determining your body’s response to the fertility drugs.
- Bloodwork and ultrasounds will be repeated 3-4 times, usually every other day. These steps will help use determine the best time to retrieve your eggs.
- Based on the outcome of these tests, we’ll retrieve your eggs between days 11 and 15 when you’re ovulating. You will go to sleep under a light anesthesia and will not feel any pain. You will wake up and go home about 1 hour after the procedure.
- Once retrieved, your eggs will be flash frozen or subjected to “vitrification.” They will then be placed in storage.
If you have questions about the cryopreservation process, we’d love to talk with you further. If it turns out that freezing your eggs isn’t the right option for you, we’ll discuss other treatments like IVF, anonymous donor egg IVF and gestational carriage. Our fertility success rates exceed other fertility clinics in Vermont, and our doctors truly want to help you build your family.