In order to retrieve eggs for freezing, a patient undergoes the same hormone-injection process used in in vitro fertilization (IVF). The only difference is that once the eggs are retrieved, the eggs are safely frozen in our lab. They can then be “warmed”, fertilized and transferred at a later date.
It takes approximately four to six weeks to complete an egg freezing cycle. This includes 10-14 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and develop multiple mature eggs. As with IVF, the patient visits the clinic regularly throughout this period for ultrasounds and blood work. Once the eggs have adequately matured, we retrieve them with a needle placed through the vagina using ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under conscious sedation and is not generally painful. The eggs are then immediately frozen using a technique called cryopreservation.
While this technique was originally used for women anticipating a decline in their fertility due to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, the reality is that fertility almost always declines dramatically after the age of 35. Women expecting a delay in starting a family should consider preserving their eggs for future use.
If you’re considering egg freezing, please book a consultation with us. We will review the risks, expected outcomes (including pregnancy rates) and alternatives. Our goal is simply to assist you in making a fully informed choice.
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