What is it?
Egg freezing refers to the cooling process that halts all biological activity in eggs, allowing them to be preserved for future use.
Why Freeze Your Eggs?
You might be wondering if freezing your eggs is right for you. Having the opportunity to preserve your fertility is a valuable and life-changing decision for some women, so we’ve put together a list of some of the most common reasons that patients decide to freeze their eggs:
Future Family Planning
Many choose to freeze their eggs for personal or professional reasons, and some do so because of the decline in fertility that occurs with aging. Egg freezing can improve chances of having a baby in the future and, for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as a way to “pause the biological clock.”
Cancer, Surgical Procedures and Other Medical Conditions
Chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy can be toxic and damaging to the ovaries, and women with a new diagnosis of cancer or other medical conditions consider egg freezing for this reason. Other indications for egg freezing include medical conditions that require surgical removal of the ovaries or genetic conditions associated with a high likelihood of ovarian failure.
Situations can arise during an IVF cycle where the male partner is unable to collect a semen sample for fertilization of eggs already collected from the female partner. In this instance, eggs can be frozen until sperm is available.
Egg freezing can be an option for those who wish to preserve their fertility options before a gender transition. Preservation is a great way to protect the preserved eggs from any damage that could be caused by hormone therapy, and it gives patients more options for future family-building.
Step 1: Consultation with Your Physician
Egg freezing involves an initial consultation with a fertility specialist where your medical history is thoroughly reviewed and a physical exam is performed. During this consultation, the risks and benefits of egg freezing are typically discussed and blood tests are performed to help predict the number of eggs that could be obtained.
Step 2: Ovarian Stimulation
Daily injections of gonadotropins are given to stimulate the growth of eggs, and the Laurel Fertility Team will perform frequent ultrasounds to monitor growth. When the follicles have reached optimal size, your Laurel Fertility team will instruct you on how to administer your final dose of gonadotropins, or the “trigger shot.”
Step 3: Egg Retrieval
After your shot when your eggs are mature, they are extracted by one of our fertility specialists during a short aspiration procedure. During the procedure, light sedation is used by an anesthesiologist and a special, thin needle is passed through the vaginal wall.
Rest is recommended following the procedure, but most patients are capable of light activity and work soon after procedure. Experiencing cramping and bloating following the retrieval is expected and completely normal.
Step 4: Oocyte Cryopreservation
The vitrification technique is used to freeze eggs. This technique exposes the retrieved eggs to solutions to help survive freezing, and they are then plunged into liquid nitrogen at low temperatures. Evidence strongly suggests that this is a more superior technique to the older methods and leads to improved survival and pregnancy rates.
Frozen eggs are stored on-site in our accredited laboratory operated by Laurel Fertility Care’s experienced laboratory team and available for your use when you are ready.
Costs of Egg Freezing
Associated costs are an important aspect of planning your fertility care, and fertility benefits and insurance coverage can vary from patient to patient and from provider to provider. Various financing options for egg freezing are available to Laurel Fertility Care patients, and our dedicated team is here to answer questions and help navigate through complexities.