Storing eggs, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a method used to preserve your ability to have a baby far into the future. Ovarian eggs are frozen unfertilized and stored for later use when the couple or individual chooses to begin trying to conceive.
Who should consider storing eggs?
Storing eggs can be beneficial for a number of reasons for women wishing to preserve their fertility for the future. These reasons include, but are not limited to:
- Wanting or needing to delay childbearing in order to pursue educational, career or other personal goals.
- Saving eggs due to a diagnosis with cancer.
- Storing eggs instead of embryos for religious and/or moral reasons.
What is the process of egg freezing?
In order to retrieve eggs for freezing, you would undergo the same hormone-injection process as in-vitro fertilization (see IVF Cycle Details). The only difference is that following egg retrieval, your eggs are frozen for as long as you desire before they are thawed, fertilized and transferred to your uterus as embryos.
It takes approximately 3 weeks or more to complete the egg freezing cycle. Again it is consistent with the initial stages of the IVF process which includes:
- 1-2 weeks of birth control pills to temporarily turn off your natural hormones (this step can be skipped if there is urgency, such as prior to cancer therapy).
- 9-10 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and mature multiple eggs.
Once the eggs have adequately matured, they are removed with a needle placed through the vagina under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under intravenous sedation and is usually painless. The eggs are then immediately frozen. When the patient is ready to attempt pregnancy (this can be several years later) the eggs are thawed, injected with a single sperm to achieve fertilization, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.
How long can my eggs remain frozen?
Cryopreserved (frozen) eggs can be stored indefinitely. Live births have been reported using eggs that were frozen over ten years ago, however, because egg vitrification is a relatively new procedure the upper limit for which they can be stored is unknown.
Embryos have been stored for decades with great success and there little evidence to suspect that eggs will be any different.
What are the pregnancy rates when using frozen eggs?
Pregnancy rates from frozen eggs depends on the woman’s age at the time the freezing process is performed. Cryos prefers to freeze eggs for patients when they are under 38 years old. The chance of pregnancy with eggs from women older than 38 at the time of freezing is likely to be lower than that seen for women in their 20’s and early 30’s.
Are there any risks to children born from frozen eggs?
In 2012, following numerous studies comparing children from frozen eggs to children born through natural conception showed zero increased rate of birth defects. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) then declared egg freezing to no longer be an experimental practice.
In 2014 a study was done comparing outcomes from 1,224 fresh IVF cycles and 1,027 frozen egg cycles. In this study, zero differences were found in the rate of obstetric problems including diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, preterm birth and anemia. Additionally, there were no differences in the gestational age at birth, birth weight, Apgar scores, birth defects, admission to neonatal ICU, perinatal mortality, or puerperal problems. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of children have been born from frozen embryos with no increase in birth defects.
Do you have any questions?
Cryos would be more than happy to assist you! Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable bilingual Client Service Representatives.
Call us at (407) 203-1175 or email us at [email protected].
We also have a live online chat that you can access through our website.