In our modern age the opportunity to do oocyte freezing, egg freezing, oocyte cryopreservation or as some also call it mature oocyte freezing has given women the option of delaying pregnancy to a more suitable time.
Oocyte cryporeservation or egg freezing is when a woman undergoes an egg collection procedure and then cryopreserves “freezes” her unfertilized oocytes “eggs”. At Bedaya Hospital we provide egg freezing through vitrification as one of our services.
The procedure of oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing)
We will discuss the procedure for induced egg freezing here (the natural egg freezing cycle is the same in monitoring frequency and the surgery minus administering the medication). The procedure starts with a take in at our clinic, your medical history is taken, a physical examination including a vaginal ultrasound is done and blood tests drawn to determine your hormone levels and thus your ovarian reserve. Your physician chooses the best protocol for your case, and you start your prematernal vitamins and ovulation induction medication on the given date. You will be monitored through ultrasound and blood tests every couple of days until your oocytes (eggs) seem mature and are ready to be collected. The oocytes are retrieved under general or local anesthesia through a needle put on a vaginal ultrasound probe so the ultrasound images can guide us to safely retrieve the eggs.
When should you consider freezing your eggs?
- You should consider oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) if you are not ready to become pregnant now but would like to keep the option of motherhood open in the future. This can be due to not having found the right partner, career responsibilities etc.
- You have a medical condition or are undergoing a treatment that could affect your fertility (like radiation on or chemotherapy)
- Undergoing IVF or ICSI, some couples when there are more oocytes available than needed to complete the transfer of this current cycle some couples or females prefer to do egg freezing rather than embryo freezing for personal or religious reasons.
Is there an egg freezing age limit?
Theoretically you can freeze eggs as long as your ovarian reserve allows it! Research has shown though that the quality and number of eggs a women can produce per cycle steadily declines between the age of 35-45. The younger you are when freezing your eggs, the better your egg freezing success rates are, which means the higher your chances are of pregnancy occurring and continuing till the end. Although egg freezing success rates are higher when we do gg freezing at a younger age, we do egg freezing at Bedaya Hospital until your ovarian reserve no longer allows it. This makes the egg freezing age limit for women anywhere between 40-50 years.
Egg freezing side effects
You can do an egg freezing procedure after a natural or an induced cycle. Bedaya Hospital usually advices to do an induced cycle so that you can harvest more eggs per cycle and thus have more eggs to freeze/ oocytes to cryopreserve. This gives you higher chances of finding good quality oocytes to use when ready to thaw and fertilize the eggs. The side effects of a natural cycle could be drowsiness or dizziness due to the anesthesia and some lower abdominal pain due to the needle that is used to retrieve the oocytes (eggs), these effects usually disappear in a few hours. An induced cycle of course has the same possible side effects of the dizziness/drowsiness of the anesthesia and the lower abdominal pain due to the retrieval but undergoing an induced cycle may cause the patient to also experience some side effects of the induction medication (the medication that increases your maturing follicles also called ovulation so that you can retrieve more oocytes. These side effects include a bloating sensation, slight weight gain, shortness of breath, hot flashes, some lower abdominal pain, and a blurry vision. These are all short-term side effects that disappear within hours or days of stopping the medication. Bedaya Hospital does however advice all patients that experience this while going through an egg freezing cycle to mention these effects to their treating Dr.
Egg freezing success rates
As previously mentioned, the success rates are better for oocytes/eggs frozen at a younger age. A large-scale study conducted in the US showed that 70% of women that did oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) before the age of 38 and froze at least 20 oocytes (eggs) gave birth to a baby.
Religious or cultural factors prohibiting you from doing a vaginal ultrasound guided procedure?
Egg freezing at Bedaya Hospital can be done through a percutaneous egg collection procedure. This means we will do your egg collection and monitoring through a transabdominal ultrasound. The egg collection will be done by inserting the pickup needle through the abdominal wall into the ovary and collecting the eggs under ultrasound guidance. Do not let religious or cultural believes stand in the way of you reaching your motherhood dream in the future.
For any questions about egg freezing do not hesitate to contact our customer’s service through our social media outlets or by phone and they assist you with any further questions.