Egg freezing, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a method used to save women’s ability to get pregnant in the future.
Today, more and more women decide to have children at an older age. This age “delay” is sometimes one of the reasons for the failure of IVF, one that poor egg quality means poor fetal quality, nevertheless, the solution can be egg cryopreservation.
However, egg cryopreservation techniques have improved dramatically in recent years and together they have improved the pregnancy rates of frozen embryos.
When is the right time to freeze our eggs?
Every woman is born with a certain number of eggs which decreases with age. At the same time, as the woman’s age increases, the quality of the eggs decreases significantly. Therefore, the younger the woman who decides to freeze her eggs, the higher the success rates of her pregnancy in the future. The decision to freeze eggs can be made as she grows up.
This way if a woman decides to have children at 40 for various reasons and cannot achieve it naturally, she is much more likely to achieve pregnancy if at 20 she has frozen eggs.
There are also younger women who, due to health problems such as cancer, undergo chemotherapy or radiation regimens, which cause damage to their ovaries and eggs and, consequently, infertility. In these cases, cryopreservation techniques of eggs and ovarian tissue help.
What you need to know about egg cryopreservation
The advanced reproductive age of the woman is the most aggravating factor for having a child, due to the poorer in number and quality of egg production. This results in the creation of poor quality embryos, which fatally lead to any attempt at pregnancy, either by natural conception or by some method of assisted reproduction, to failure, both due to difficulty in conceiving and abortion, in the event of a successful attempt. The good news is that unlike the ovaries and eggs that are gradually aging, the uterus is theoretically “ageless”. Thus, with proper preparation and medical support, it can certainly conceive successfully in the 40s and 50s. Frozen eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen, at -196 degrees Celsius, remaining intact over time. Now as for the rates of pregnancies with embryos derived from frozen eggs, they are slightly lower than those with fresh eggs.
The procedure of egg cryopreservation
Fertility testing should precede egg retrieval. The tests that should be done are the hormonal fertility test (FSH, LH, and AMH) and the transvaginal ultrasound, which checks the texture and size of the ovaries, as well as the number of intact follicles. The stimulation of the woman’s ovaries is then planned with the administration of gonadotropins and simultaneous ultrasound monitoring. Then, the eggs are taken under anesthesia and using vaginal ultrasound. The number of eggs taken is usually large and therefore satisfactory in younger women, while it is lower in older women and more than one egg collection may be required. It is important to note that the risks to the woman undergoing the egg-laying process are negligible, while children born from thawed eggs do not differ from those of IVF with fresh eggs.
The method is suitable for:
1. Women with a predisposition to premature menopause (usually hereditary).
2. Women who make career their first priority in life.
3. Women without a stable relationship, with reservations about starting a single-parent family.
4. Women with significant and chronic health problems
5. Women who are going to undergo surgery or other medical treatments, which may cause damage to fertility.
6. Women who are to be exposed to toxic environmental agents.
7. Women suffering from cancer who are about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation, which causes damage to their ovaries and eggs and, consequently, infertility.
8. Women who refuse for moral or religious reasons to consent to the cryopreservation or destruction of surplus embryos created during the application of assisted reproduction methods to which they resorted due to infertility.