Oocyte Cryopreservation (Egg Freezing)
Oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored. Later, when she is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos. By freezing your eggs and stored for later use in life, you are maintaining the fertility potential of the age when your eggs were frozen.
Oocyte cryopreservation is aimed at three particular groups of women:
- If you have a condition, or are facing medical treatment for a condition, that may affect your fertility, for example, those diagnosed with cancer and have not yet begun chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
- If you would like to preserve your future ability to have children, either because you do not yet have a partner, or for other personal or medical reasons.
- If you are undergoing treatment with assisted reproductive technologies and do not consider embryo freezing an option.
Storing your eggs may enable you to use them for treatment in the future. Eggs are collected using the same procedure as for conventional IVF.
The procedure for oocyte freezing is as follows:
- Before you agree to the freezing and storage of your eggs, our center will explain the process involved, including the risks.
- You will be screened for infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis B and C.
- You will need to give written consent for your eggs to be stored.
- Eggs are collected using the same procedure as for conventional IVF.
- Cryoprotectant (freezing solution) is added to protect the eggs when they are frozen.
- The eggs are frozen either by cooling them slowly or by vitrification, fast freezing and then stored in tanks of liquid nitrogen.