Egg freezing is a common technique of IVF in which eggs are preserved in the laboratory. As age advances, fertility starts to decline, freezing eggs will not put the fertility at stake.

Women concerned with age related infertility problems and want to delay their pregnancy due to other priorities can consider egg freezing. Egg freezing facilitates many women to postpone their pregnancy. Visit the best IVF centre in Hyderabad.

Egg freezing is also called oocyte cryopreservation. Let us understand the egg freezing procedure and its success rate.

 Who should consider egg freezing?

Career and educational plan: Women who want to opt for late pregnancy due to demanding career and if they want to pursue further education.

Cancer: Egg freezing might help to retain reproductive potential of women if carried out before cancer therapy. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments may affect fertility. Sometimes women might need removal of ovaries to treat or stop further spread of cancer.

Infection, organ failure, and other health concerns:  Some infections or health conditions like endometriosis might hamper fertility so egg freezing could be beneficial in such scenarios.

 Right age for egg freezing:

At a young age the eggs are of high quality and with no anomalies. As advanced maternal age affects the egg quality and quantity, women who want to plan their family late should approach the doctor early. Women in their late 20s are good candidates for egg freezing but women with 30 to 35years of age can also go for egg freezing if they want to get pregnant in their 40s. Visit the best IVF centre in Hyderabad.

 How many eggs are frozen?

If you’re considering freezing eggs at an early age, a single cycle of IVF is sufficient for such women to preserve their eggs. Freezing of more eggs means more chances of success during IVF after 30 years of age. A woman has to undergo 2 to 3 IVF cycles to freeze her eggs in advanced age. Out of these 85% to 90% of eggs sustain the freezing and thawing process.

Freezing of eggs at a young age has more chances of fertilization than fresh eggs at an advanced age.  Freezing an egg stops the aging process.

 Process of egg freezing: Before egg freezing procedure, some screening procedures are mandatory. IVF specialists will check the ovarian reserve of women to determine quality and quantity of eggs. Women are tested for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B & C etc.

Hormonal stimulation of ovaries:  Various techniques are used for ovarian stimulation; doctors will suggest the suitable technique for each patient. At the start of the menstrual cycle self-administration hormonal injections are given for hormonal stimulation. A pen-like device is used for the procedure and doctors will train patients for this during screening visits. During 10 to 12 days of hormonal stimulation women are continuously monitored by ultrasound and blood tests.

Different types of simulations used as per condition but normally treatment will include:

  •        Injection of follicle stimulating hormone or FSH and luteinising hormone or LH for production of more eggs for two weeks
  •  Injection of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to prevent premature ovulation given halfway through the cycle
  •       Injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to enhance ovulation

Egg collection: Follicles take 9 to 12 days to be ready for egg retrieval. A minor surgical procedure under anaesthesia is carried out for egg removal. A needle is inserted into each ovary with the help of ultrasound and follicular fluid containing eggs is aspirated.

This is a minimally invasive procedure and can be completed in 15 to 20 minutes. Patients can go home after two to three hours.No bed rest is required.

Vitrification: After removal eggs are isolated from the fluid and frozen as soon as possible. Scientists in the laboratory look for mature eggs and carry out cryopreservation of only mature eggs. Immature eggs are removed as they do not form viable embryos.

Vitrification is the process of rapid freezing of eggs to avoid potential damage by ice crystal formation. A special device called a straw is used for egg freezing. The name and birth date of each patient is written on the straw for future use. Liquid nitrogen is used to store frozen eggs for a longer time.

Use of frozen eggs: When a couple is ready for pregnancy, the frozen eggs are thawed. The frozen eggs are rapidly warmed by a special solution and sperm is injected into it to form an embryo. ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is used to fertilize the egg in the laboratory.

The formed embryo is transferred into the uterus with the help of ultrasound guided catheter.

Success rate of egg freezing:

Egg freezing and IVF success is multifactorial. Different clinics have different success rates. The age at which egg freezing is carried out also matters.

It is commonly asked that egg freezing guarantees live birth. No, assisted reproductive technology or ART depends on multiple factors. Though the frozen eggs are of good quality the age and health of the women at the time of conception matters. Advanced maternal age poses risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.

Egg freezing does not affect future egg production or result in early menopause. Some women may conceive naturally in future after egg freezing and do not require frozen eggs.

85 to 90% of eggs remain unchanged after freezing and thawing. Egg freezing may offer women to have their genetic child in the future.  

Though the success rates are obscure, many fertility clinics have relied on frozen eggs for decades now. For more queries book your appointment at the best IVF centre in Hyderabad. 

Dr. Chandana Lekkireddy, IVF specialist.

Esha fertility centre, Hyderabad.

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