Egg freezing is one of the most promising treatment options in human female gamete preservation and donation. Technology for the long term preservation of human eggs has improved greatly over the past 2 and a half decades and is currently used for supporting various assisted reproductive technologies in human fertility treatment.
Should some women wish to preserve the chances of motherhood and egg freezing presents a viable option.
The fast freezing technique of vitrification has changed the way eggs are frozen and improved survival and pregnancy rates.
This treatment option does not require a sperm and fertilisation process, making it significantly beneficial to single women and people with ethical objections to freezing and storing the embryos.
Survival of eggs after the freeze thaw process is about 90%. Therefore this is an excellent treatment option in selected groups of patients.
What does egg freezing involve?
You will be required to have screening tests performed for HIV, a hepatitis B (Core and Surface) and C and chlamydia before freezing and storage of your eggs and you may also attend a counselling session at the centre to discuss the treatment implications.
You will also be required to complete consent forms for freezing and storage of your eggs. These consent forms allow you to specify:
- What should happen to your eggs if you were to die or become unable to make decisions for yourself .
- Whether the eggs are to be used for your own treatment only, or whether they can be donated for someone else’s treatment or training
You may change or withdraw consent at any time.
The process is similar to going through an IVF cycle as you will have to take fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles (which contains the eggs). The developing follicles are monitored and when they are large enough, you will be required to go through the egg recovery procedure, where the follicles are carefully emptied to collect the eggs.
How are eggs frozen?
At NGFC, eggs are frozen by vitrification – a process whereby the solution containing the eggs is cooled so quickly that the structure of the water molecules doesn’t have time to form ice crystals and instantaneously solidifies into a glass-like structure.
How long can eggs be stored for?
The standard storage period for eggs is ten years from the date of freeze, up to a maximum of 55 years in special cases . There will be an annual fee for storage of eggs and embryos at our centre. Further details are set out in our terms and conditions of storage.
What are the risks of egg freezing and storage?
Egg freezing is a not a guarantee for children in the future. The success rate of egg freezing come close to IVF success rates at the specific age. There is a risk that the eggs may not survive or may not develop into good embryos . Through frozen eggs are mature eggs , they may continue to be genetically abnormal . Success rates of frozen eggs reduces with age and is lower in women over the age of 35 years.