What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a method of fertility preservation that involves retrieving a woman’s eggs (oocytes) from her ovaries and freezing them for future use. The frozen eggs can later be thawed, fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting, and used in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) to attempt pregnancy.
Egg freezing is typically considered for women who wish to preserve their fertility potential for various reasons, including:
Delaying Parenthood: Some women may choose to freeze their eggs when they are in their reproductive prime but not yet ready to start a family. Egg freezing allows them to preserve their eggs at a younger age when egg quality and quantity are generally better.
Medical Reasons: Women facing medical treatments or surgeries that could potentially impact their fertility, such as cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiation), may opt for egg freezing as a way to safeguard their ability to have biological children in the future.
Lifestyle or Career Goals: Some women may choose egg freezing due to personal or career-related reasons. By freezing their eggs, they can pursue educational or professional goals while preserving their reproductive options.
The egg freezing process typically involves the following steps:
Ovarian Stimulation: Before egg retrieval, the woman undergoes controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) using hormone medications (gonadotropins) to encourage multiple egg development. The goal is to produce several mature eggs during a single menstrual cycle.
Monitoring: The progress of ovarian stimulation is monitored through blood tests and ultrasound scans. The doctor adjusts the medication dosage if necessary to optimize egg development.
Egg Retrieval: Once the eggs are deemed mature and ready for retrieval, a final trigger shot of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) or a similar hormone is given to trigger the final stages of egg maturation. Approximately 36 hours later, the eggs are retrieved using a thin needle guided through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries. The procedure is usually done under sedation or anesthesia to minimize discomfort.
Egg Freezing: The retrieved eggs are immediately frozen using a process called vitrification. Vitrification involves rapidly cooling the eggs to extremely low temperatures, which prevents the formation of ice crystals and helps preserve the eggs’ viability.
Storage: Once frozen, the eggs are stored in specialized containers in liquid nitrogen at very low temperatures until they are needed in the future.
When the woman is ready to use her frozen eggs, they are thawed and fertilized with sperm (either from a partner or a sperm donor) through IVF. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the woman’s uterus in the hopes of achieving a pregnancy.
Here are industry experts who can help you
Dr. Richa Singh
Dr. Praveen Panday
Dr. Amar Nath
Working experience: more than 8 years, performed more than 500 ICSI cycles Independetly
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