There are several reasons women choose to freeze their eggs in an effort to preserve their fertility. Many focus on their education and careers, thus delaying childbearing. Illness may be another reason. Yet another may be a concern that their fertility will decline before they are ready to become mothers.
More options than ever now exist for women who elect to delay childbearing. Oocyte cryopreservation, otherwise known as egg freezing, has been at the forefront of research aimed toward elective female fertility preservation. Reproductive Partners Fertility Center – San Diego (RPSD) is very excited to offer the most successful technique available, Egg Vitrification, also known as ‘rapid freezing,’ to our patients.
Overview of the Process
- Ovarian stimulation and monitoring: Hormonal treatment in the form of injections is given for approximately 8 to 10 days, stimulating your ovaries to produce multiple mature follicles/eggs.
- Egg retrieval: Eggs are retrieved from your ovaries through an ultrasound-guided follicle aspiration. You will receive sedation for this procedure.
- Egg vitrification: Your eggs are then placed in a “vitrification solution” called cryoprotectant, which helps protect your eggs during the freezing and thawing process. Each egg is carefully placed into liquid nitrogen and stored frozen at a temperature of -196˚ Celsius.
- Egg storage: Your eggs will remain frozen in a liquid nitrogen storage tank, in our embryology laboratory, until you are ready to conceive.
- Uterine preparation: Once you are ready to conceive, a short course of hormone treatment will prepare your uterus for the upcoming embryo transfer. This prepares the uterine lining for implantation of the embryo(s).
- Egg thawing: Your eggs will be thawed to room temperature in cryoprotectant, which protects them during the thawing process.
- Fertilization: Each egg is then fertilized in our lab through Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), injecting a single sperm into each egg. This is done to maximize the chances of successfully fertilizing each egg.
- Embryo culture and transfer: After your embryo(s) grow in the lab for three to five days, one or more (depending on the clinical scenario) embryo(s) will be chosen to transfer into the uterus.