Egg freezing through cryopreservation technology allows women to either donate their eggs for someone else to use to achieve a pregnancy or preserve their eggs for their own use at a later time.
What Is Cryopreservation?
Cryopreservation is a precise method used to preserve embryos, eggs, ovarian tissue, and sperm by cooling and storing them at a very low temperature and then thawing them at a future date for use.
Through cryopreservation, specialists can preserve a female cancer patient’s eggs until cancer treatment is completed or enable women to postpone having children — either because they do not currently have a partner, or for other personal or medical reasons. Later, when a woman is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed and fertilized. Then the embryo can be transferred to the uterus.
The egg retrieval process for oocyte cryopreservation is the same as that for in vitro fertilization.
The ovaries are stimulated through hormone injections to produce multiple egg-containing follicles. Progression of follicular development is followed by evaluating hormone levels and performing ultrasounds at the appropriate times.
A transvaginal ultrasound guides the retrieval of the eggs and the eggs are immediately frozen.
Risks and Outcomes
It is important to recognize that freezing eggs does not guarantee a future pregnancy. It is possible that some eggs will not survive, fertilize or lead to a pregnancy. The decision to freeze your eggs can be difficult since you must weigh the potential success, cost and risks of the procedure.
Advancements in Cryopreservation
The cryopreservation of oocytes or ovarian tissue is an important area of research for reproductive endocrinologists. Embryo cryopreservation is still more successful than egg (oocyte) cryopreservation, but egg cryopreservation technology is advancing. Penn Fertility Care is at the forefront of this new technology and offers designated clinical trials to determine the best methods to achieve pregnancy success with the use of cryopreserved eggs.