Egg Freezing

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a procedure in which a woman's eggs are removed from her ovaries and frozen for future use.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to freeze their eggs. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • To delay having children: People who are not ready to have children right away may choose to freeze their eggs so that they have the option to have children later in life.
  • To protect fertility from cancer treatment: Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can damage the ovaries and make it difficult or impossible to have children. Egg freezing prior to cancer treatment can help preserve future fertility.
  • To limit the number of embryos in IVF: Some couples choose not to inseminate all of their eggs in an IVF cycle because they want to limit the number of embryos they have at a time.

The egg freezing process typically takes 2-3 weeks. During this time, a woman will take fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved from the ovaries through a minimally invasive procedure called an egg retrieval. The eggs are then frozen using a process called vitrification. Vitrification is a rapid freezing process that helps to protect the eggs from damage.

Frozen eggs can be stored for an indefinite period of time. When a woman is ready to use her frozen eggs, they are thawed and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then transferred to the woman's uterus.

The success rate of egg freezing depends on age, ovarian reserve (egg count) and egg quality. Your doctor will review anticipated outcomes with you based on these factors.

There are some risks associated with egg freezing. These risks include:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): OHSS is a rare but serious condition that can occur when the ovaries are overstimulated with fertility medications. Symptoms of OHSS include abdominal pain and bloating, nausea, vomiting, and weight gain. We minimize the risk of OHSS by modifying the medications we use and treating with oral medications in addition to IVF medications.
  • Damage to the eggs: There is a small risk of damage to the eggs during the freezing or thawing process. Eggs are fragile so not all eggs survive warming after being frozen. On average, 85% of eggs survive the thaw. We take this into account when setting expectations based on your ovarian reserve and age.
  • Surgical risks: There is a less than 0.1% chance of complications from the egg retrieval procedure. Risks include infection, excess blood loss, and damage to surrounding structures. We minimize these risks through careful surgical technique and use of antibiotics.

We believe everyone should be able to build the family they desire. If you are considering egg freezing, contact us today to discuss what to expect based on your personal situation. We would be honored to help you preserve your fertility.

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