Women, particularly single women, who delay motherhood due to personal circumstances, now have the option of freezing their own eggs so that they can be fertilized and implanted at a later date.
Women have an average of about 600,000 eggs at birth, and this supply decreases at a rate of around 1,000 per month, from the day it is born. This decrease is part of the natural aging process, and is commonly known as a woman’s biological clock. The loss of oocytes from the ovaries is relentless and continues even in the absence of menstrual cycles, and even when women are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking oral contraceptives. It is also believed that the speed at which eggs are lost accelerates in the late 30s and early 40s, so women generally lose the natural ability to have children around 40. It is important to note that the quality of the egg also decreases over time, with spontaneous abortions and chromosomal defects that become more common with advanced age in pregnancy.
Previously, a woman who was not ready for paternity and wanted to use her own eggs had the option of harvesting her own eggs through IVF and then fertilizing these eggs with her partner or, in the case of women who have no partner , anonymous donor sperm. The resulting embryos would freeze and implant at the appropriate time.
Embryo freezing, as well as third-party parenting options, such as donation or egg adoption, remain viable and attractive options for many future older parents. For younger women who know beforehand that they may want to expand their fertility potential, the freezing of ovules or eggs (also called fertility preservation) gives them the ability to preserve a woman’s genetic material until she is Ready to seek paternity.
What is the process
The first step in the egg freezing process is to generate multiple eggs for recovery. Your doctor will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate follicle growth and produce multiple eggs. With a very fine needle, inject these medications just under the skin. Our staff offers injection classes on site and will advise and instruct you throughout the process. This phase of treatment lasts about 10 days.
Ultrasound monitoring and laboratory tests.
A PFC doctor will check you regularly to evaluate the growth of the follicle and the amount of eggs that are produced. When the follicles are mature and ready for recovery, stop taking the fertility medication and take an ovulation activator, a hormone that causes the final stage of ovum maturation. Ovum recovery is scheduled 36 hours after firing. We remove the ovules from the ovaries with a fine needle 4 hours before the expected time of ovulation, which would naturally occur approximately 40 hours after the hCG injection.
Egg Recovery Procedure
During this painless and relatively short procedure, your doctor uses an ultrasound guide to gently remove the ovules from the ovarian follicles. You will be under sedation and under the care of an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure. We perform recovery in our clinic. It takes about 10-15 minutes. After recovery, we ask that you take it easy the rest of the day. We also require someone to drive you home after recovery because you cannot drive yourself due to sedative medication. You can resume normal activity the next day.
We preserve the recovered eggs through a rapid freezing process called vitrification. The eggs remain frozen until you need them.