The American Society for Reproductive Medicine no longer considers egg freezing or cryopreservation experimental. Egg freezing involves stimulating the ovaries with gonadotropins, undergoing an egg retrieval to extract the eggs, freezing and then storing these eggs. The eggs can be stored for several years and when one is ready to use them, the eggs are thawed, fertilized with sperm to create embryos and transferred into the uterus.
Advances in cryoprotectants and the new vitrification protocols have resulted in significant survival rates compared to the slow freezing protocols used in the past. This innovative procedure better protects the delicate cell structure of the unfertilized egg by preventing the formation of ice crystals in the egg and as a result they are less likely to fracture upon thawing.
This new egg freezing technology has revolutionized the field of reproductive medicine in that for the very first time, women now have a means to stop their biological clock. To date, approximately 2,000 babies have been born from frozen eggs. There appears to be no increased risk of birth defects when compared to the general population.
Some of the patients who would benefit from egg freezing include:
If you are considering egg freezing, we ask that you contact us to set up an appointment, as your success rates will depend on several factors. The most important factors that come into play will be your age and your ovarian reserve testing. The younger you are and the more eggs that you have, the greater the likelihood for success.
In order to be able to counsel you with a greater degree of accuracy, we will first need to assess your ovarian reserve or egg quality. You will be asked to come in on the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle in order to measure the hormones FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), estradiol (estrogen level) and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). You will also undergo a transvaginal pelvic ultrasound in order to measure your total antral follicle count (AFC). With this information in hand, Dr. Hosseinzadeh will be in a better position to counsel you regarding whether you are a candidate for this procedure.
In good prognosis patients, thaw rates of 75% and fertilization rates of 75% are to be anticipated. In women under the age of 35, it is recommended to have at least 10 eggs to freeze and 20 eggs if you are 35 years or older. Unfortunately, women over the age of 35 usually require multiple stimulation cycles in order to be able to freeze this number of mature eggs.
Patients must be cautious and understand that there are no guarantees that they will have a baby even if they freeze this number of mature eggs. Also, not all pregnancies will result in a baby, as approximately 15% of patients will have a miscarriage.
Dr. Minoos Hosseinzadeh
We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about your fertility treatment. Here at Fertility Institute of San Diego, you will be treated with compassion and care.