Egg Freezing

Definition

Egg freezing, also known as egg vitrification, is part of the assisted reproductive techniques that allows women to preserve the reproductive potential by extracting eggs from the female ovary, which have not been fertilized, with the aim of being preserved for future use.

After some time, the frozen or vitrified eggs can be thawed and fertilized with a sperm in a laboratory to create an embryo and implant it in the female uterus through in vitro fertilization technique.

How is it done? What are the risks? Are there side effects? All these and more questions, will be answered below. Let’s get started!

First of all, it is important to understand a woman’s fertile life. It´s a period that ranges from approximately 13 to 46 years of age, although this situation may vary depending on factors such as early menopause, infertility or longer fertility. Month after month, female hormones fluctuate to prepare the female body for a possible pregnancy; This is known as the menstrual cycle, which normally lasts 28 days and around day 14 an egg is expelled and passes through the fallopian tubes and reaches the uterus to be, or not to be, fertilized.

This egg remains alive for only 24 hours, so the sperm has only a short period to fertilize it, otherwise it will be necessary to wait until the next cycle for another egg release to seek fertilization. Although it seems simple, the biological process is complex, especially when dealing with cases of infertility, male sexual difficulties, diseases such as endometriosis or cancer treatments.

On the other hand, each woman is born with a limited number of eggs that she uses up throughout her life. It is estimated that women are born with 700 thousand eggs, of which almost half atrophy and by adolescence only 400 thousand remain, and of those it is estimated that women only ovulate 500. With age, the eggs lose their quantity and quality, which makes it even more difficult to get naturally pregnant, and the risk of miscarriage increases.

Therefore, the issue of egg freezing or egg vitrification is increasingly important.

 

How is it done?

  • Ovarian stimulation. Once the woman has decided to keep her eggs, the specialist will administer hormones to stimulate the ovaries, mature several follicles at the same time and have a greater number of eggs. This process, which lasts about 10 to 12 days, is monitored through a vaginal ultrasound to determine if the necessary follicles are really being obtained and if their number and size is adequate.
  • Stimulation of ovulation. Through hormones, the specialist will stimulate ovulation preparing them for later extraction.
  • Egg retrieval. The specialist will extract the eggs by means of a puncture to later select the mature eggs.
  • Preparation. The extracted eggs are dipped in a sucrose solution to eliminate the water they contain, preventing crystals from forming during freezing, which can damage the cells.
  • Immersion in liquid nitrogen. Once prepared, the eggs are placed in the tube-shaped container and then immersed in liquid nitrogen at -196 ° C (-320 ° F) to freeze them in a matter of seconds.

From the moment the eggs are frozen, they can remain in the laboratory until the woman decides what to do with them; either use them for herself or donate them. When the decision is made to use them for reproductive purposes, the reverse process of devitrification is performed and they are subsequently fertilized with sperm from the partner or from an anonymous donor.

 

When is it optimal to consider doing it?

  • Disorders that affect fertility. People suffering from autoimmune diseases, anemia, or experiencing gender diversity situations can freeze their eggs for future use.
  • Cancer treatments. Chemotherapy and radiation can affect fertility, so egg freezing gives women facing cancer a chance to get pregnant.
  • In vitro fertilization. Some women seeking in vitro fertilization choose to freeze eggs rather than embryos for particular reasons.
  • Decision to postpone motherhood. Many women decide to dedicate their youth to their academic and professional preparation, since they do not feel prepared to have children and plan to have a family later.

In these cases, women should seek egg freezing as soon as possible so that they can obtain the highest quantity and best quality for future use.

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Risks

  • Conditions related to the use of medicines. The hormones that stimulate the ovaries and ovulation can cause abdominal inflammation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to the possibility of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, however this risk is low because specialists constantly monitor the patient during the process.
  • Complications in the collection. Although the risk is low, there is a possibility that the aspiration needle used to retrieve the eggs could cause bleeding, infection, or damage to a blood vessel, bladder, or intestine.
  • False expectations. Although the success rates are encouraging, the reality is that there are no guarantees with assisted reproduction processes, especially in women over 40 years of age, who can suffer a spontaneous abortion due to the process of hormonal decline in their body.

It should be noted that no research has found a risk of birth defects associated with egg freezing.

 

How to prepare yourself?

The assisted reproduction specialist will indicate tests prior to the procedure, such as:

  • Ovarian reserve analysis to verify the quantity and quality of the ovules.
  • Blood tests to rule out diseases such as HIV; hepatitis B and C, diabetes, among other conditions.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound to determine ovarian function.

 

What to expect from the procedure as for side effects?

In reality, the process does not carry any side effects, just some discomfort similar to PMS or menstruation during the ovarian stimulation process, which uses hormones and lasts about 15 days, and after the puncture, you will probably feel mild discomfort in the belly.

 

Success rate

Egg freezing allows more than 90% of the cells to be kept intact, so there is a success rate similar to that of fresh eggs to perform the in vitro fertilization technique.

 

Cost

In the United States, the price for this procedure is between 7,000 and 12,000 dollars without taking into account the tests, medications, specialist fees for each consultation, or the annual price for keeping them frozen. However, an increasingly attractive alternative among Americans is to travel to Tijuana, Mexico, where there are highly specialized clinics such as The Fertility Center, and with prices up to three times lower.

TREATMENT USA PRICES

(Other clinics)

MEXICO PRICES

(The Fertility Center)

SAVINGS
Egg Freezing  $15,000

*All-inclusive 

$6,500

*All-inclusive

57%

 

TREATMENT Egg Freezing
USA PRICES

(Other clinics)

$15,000

*All-inclusive

MEXICO PRICES
(The Fertility Center)
$6,500

*All-inclusive

SAVINGS 57%

*Prices in dollars (USD).

*Prices subject to change without notice.

 

The Egg Freezing Cost Includes:

  • Treatment (egg retrieval, monitoring, anesthesia and others).
  • Operating room (medication necessary for the procedure and medical fees).
  • Medications (these vary according to the level of ovarian stimulation that the patient needs).
  • Storage (annual).

 

Frequent questions

How long can they stay frozen?

They can last several years, without a time limit, since they do not “expire” or lose quality with the process.

How many must be frozen to ensure a pregnancy?

The eggs are collected and frozen in groups of oocytes. As mentioned above, the female organism only releases one mature ovum, although in each menstrual cycle there are 20 to 50 oocytes, which remain stressful due to not being able to mature enough.Egg freezing seeks to recover as many oocytes before the body destroys them, obtaining 15 to 20 oocytes, although this depends on the age and ovarian reserve of the woman.

What is the best age to do it and what happens if I have already reached this age?

Since female fertility decreases after 35 years, the ideal is to resort to egg freezing before that age, preferably before 30 since, according to studies, the quality of a frozen egg at 30 years is greater than that of a 35 year old.However, when women freeze their eggs after the age of 35, the success rates of fertilization treatments decrease since the natural stage of hormonal decline has begun.

Will the hormones I’m going to have to take drive me crazy?

They won’t drive you crazy, but they can cause symptoms similar to so-called premenstrual syndrome, which causes bloating, mood swings, and belly pain. Perhaps, during the process you´ll experience complex feelings, like when you go through menstruation, especially if you long for the arrival of a baby a lot.

Make your appointment at The Fertility Center

At The Fertility Center we know that your dream is to be a mother one day, and that is why we have egg freezing services by specialists in Assisted Reproduction that will help you make your wishes come true. For more information and to schedule your appointment, contact us through the means available on our website, we will gladly assist you.

 

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