What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing, or mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a process of preserving the fertility credentials of a woman. The process involves the oocyte/egg retrieval followed by freezing and storage through cryopreservation techniques. Cryopreservation uses cryoprotectant to freeze the egg at sub-zero temperatures without much damage.
The novel cryopreservation technique is vitrification, where the mature eggs are subjected to a super quick freezing process preventing ice crystal formations and cellular damage.
Who can choose Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing can be considered for the following options.
- Women undergoing cancer treatment like surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
- Women undergoing surgical procedures that can cause ovarian damage.
- Women who have a risk of premature ovarian failure, or genetic conditions that can cause early menopause like turner’s syndrome, fragile X syndrome, or BRCA mutations.
- Women having the risk of ovarian disorders, endometriosis, uterine fibroids.
- Women wanting to delay childbearing.
Tests before Egg Freezing
Diagnostic tests before Egg Freezing includes:
- Ovarian reserve testing to determine the quality and quantity of eggs with hormone testing of FSH, AMH, and estradiol level detection.
- Screening for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and C
The procedure of Egg Freezing
- The procedure of egg freezing begins with ovarian stimulation where the ovaries are hormonally stimulated similar to an IVF process.
- After stimulation, the mature eggs are obtained by a minor surgical procedure of ovum pickup done under anesthesia. Procedure lasts for 15 min and you will be discharged after a few hours of observation.
- Once the eggs are retrieved, the mature eggs are selected and frozen either through a slow cooling process or through vitrification (rapid freezing).
- In slow cooling, the eggs are cooled slowly in a specially programmed multi-staged cooling machine and then dipped in cryoprotectants that ensure oocyte protection.
- In Vitrification, A higher concentration of cryoprotectant is used and the eggs are cooled rapidly to prevent intracellular ice crystal formations and oocyte damage.
- The frozen oocytes are stored at very low temperatures in liquid nitrogen.
- Before using, the eggs are thawed with a warming solution and assessed.
- Viable eggs are subjected to direct sperm injection through Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The fertilized egg/embryo(s) are cultured and transferred into the woman’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.
Egg Freezing success rate
The chances of a successful pregnancy through frozen embryos primarily depend on the age of the woman. Statistical data show that older eggs (eggs from women above 35 yrs of age) have lower success rates compared to eggs obtained from younger women (below 34 years).
The genetic defects and chromosomal anomalies of embryos also have considerably decreased in embryos developed from frozen eggs than fresh eggs.
It is also observed that the success of thawing is more with vitrification than slow freezing for the reason that unlike slow freezing, vitrification causes minimal cellular damage with no/less ice crystal formations. High success rates of vitrification makes it the more preferred choice of egg freezing technique.
OMYA fertility centre leads the way in egg vitrification techniques with its safe storing, easy identification, and quality preserving techniques that ensure that your fertility is in safe hands.