In order to retrieve eggs for freezing, a patient undergoes the same hormone-injection process as women do with in-vitro fertilization. The only difference is that once the eggs are retrieved, the eggs are frozen (or “banked”) for future use. They can then be “warmed”, fertilized and transferred at a later date.
It takes approximately 4 – 6 weeks to complete the egg freezing cycle. This includes 10 – 14 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and ripen multiple, mature eggs. As with IVF, the patient would visit the Clinic regularly throughout this period for early morning ultrasounds and blood work. Once it has been determined that the eggs have adequately matured, a retrieval procedure is scheduled in order to have these removed with a needle placed through the vagina and under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under conscious sedation and is not generally painful. The eggs are then immediately frozen.
When the patient is ready to attempt a pregnancy (this can be several years later), the eggs are first thawed, then fertilized by injecting a single sperm into its cytoplasm and transferred into the uterus as an embryo.