When it comes to IVF, there are several processes that need to go right to provide the expectant couple with the miracle of birth. One of these is known as the cryopreservation technique or Egg (oocyte) freezing. It is a method of storing and saving women’s ability to get pregnant in a future time frame. When it comes to IVF, not everything has to be hurried. One option is to freeze the eggs in case the mother is not ready to become pregnant in the present time or state. She may choose to try to get pregnant later and accordingly the preserved eggs can be utilized.
The process includes harvesting of eggs from the ovaries of the woman . These are then frozen in an unfertilized state. The frozen oocytes are stored for use in the future. It is quite different from embryo cryopreservation which is egg frozen in a fertilized state. Therefore, egg freezing does not require sperms.
People opt for egg freezing due to a number of reasons like ongoing circumstances affecting fertility like autoimmune diseases, cancer (as radiation or chemotherapy can harm your fertility). Some people hope to preserve their eggs if they wish to delay marriage and pregnancy . Egg freezing might enable woman to have children when she is psychologically and mentally ready at a later stage in her life.
The process itself is done under the supervision of reproductive endocrinologists with screening blood tests for certain infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Then, one goes through an ovarian reserve test(ultrasound of the ovaries is done to observe ovarian function).. The results help in ascertaining how the ovaries will respond to fertility medication
The egg freezing procedure comprises of three steps — ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval and freezing. For ovarian stimulation, synthetic hormones are given to the in order to produce multiple eggs and prevent premature ovulation. The hormones (gonadotropins ) are shown to be safe. Stimulation is done under constant monitoring with serial ultrasounds at the fertility clinic itself . After 10 to 14 days, egg retrieval is done under redaion through a process called ‘transvaginal ultrasound aspiration’ (an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to look for follicles). A suction device guided by a needle removes the egg from the follicle. It is a short day care procedure performed under anesthesia. The next and final step is freezing of the harvested unfertilized eggs. The rapid cooling process used for egg freezing is called vitrification. There may be some post procedural issues like slight abdominal pain, for which the patient must contact the doctor.
Remember though, this fertility preservation technique comes down to personal choice and one has to decide if it is right and required based on individual’s or couple’s needs and reproductive experience. There are 30 to 60 percent chances of successful implantation, depending on your age at the time of egg freezing.