Egg Freezing

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What is egg freezing?

E gg Freezing is also referred to as oocyte cryopreservation. This is defined as a process to store the female's eggs and freeze them so that they can be used as and when required. Egg freezing has gained a lot of advancements in the last few years when concerned about the technology advancements and the success rates of the treatment. The advancements have improved the gamete survival, potential of fertilization, and live birth rates to a large extent.,

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Egg freezing is undertaken for a wide variety of reasons, some of which are as follows:
  • To avoid surgery which may cause damage to ovaries
  • To avoid ovarian diseases which have high risk associated with them for ovaries damage.
  • Genetic mutations which requires removal of the ovaries
  • Can be taken by the females suffering from cancer requiring chemotherapy which can affect the fertility.
  • Fertility preservation for the social and personal reasons to cause delay in childbearing.
Risks associated with the egg freezing are very much similar to those associated with the ovarian stimulation for IVF. Some of the risks are as follows:
  • Risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
  • Infection in ovaries
  • Bleeding related to the egg retrieval procedure
Pregnancy rates associated with egg freezing are estimated to be approximately in the range of 4% to 12 % per oocyte. To have an accurate result rate, research still needs to be carried out which has not been done so far being egg freezing a recent addition in the zone of fertility treatment. Whereas, the success rate of egg freezing is largely dependent on two factors to analyze the pregnancy chances are:
  • Age of women at the time of egg freezing
  • No of available eggs

Time period for the storage of eggs

It is encouraged to store eggs till a period of 4 years only, but there is no harm if the eggs are stored for a longer period than this. There are negative effects associated but just to avoid pregnancy complications one should not store more than 4 years. This is so because with the ageing of the frozen eggs, the chances of complications in pregnancy increases, which may include BP, Diabetes, etc. To avoid the issues, some of the experts have kept an upper limit defined for the period of storage of the eggs which can be used for the pregnancy.

Process of Egg Freezing

  • Assessment of ovarian reserves are performed by the egg freezing experts so as to estimate the yield of the ovarian stimulation cycle.
  • Stimulation of ovaries is carried out in similar manner to the IVF with the help of injectable hormonal medications.
  • After the stimulation, the eggs and the its surrounding fluid in the follicles are educed vaginally while sedation.
  • Assements of the eggs maturity is done using the microscope and the matured eggs are freezed to be used in the future.

Note: At present, vitrification method is used for preservation of the eggs and the same is achieved by ultra rapid cooling into liquid nitrogen where they are to be stored.