Be a mother later with your best oocytes and forget egg donation.
Freezing eggs to become mother in the future with better quality oocytes.
What is egg vitrification (or egg freezing)?
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a fertility preservation process that allows women to store and protect their reproductive potential for the future.
This technique is based on the collection and preservation of mature eggs at extremely low temperatures, usually around -196 degrees Celsius, to maintain their quality and functionality over time.
Egg freezing has become increasingly popular among women who wish to postpone motherhood for personal, professional, or health reasons.
Additionally, it can be a valuable option for women facing medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, that could compromise their fertility.
The decision to freeze eggs is personal and depends on several factors, including the woman’s age, health, and life context. However, it is important to consider that the quality and number of eggs tend to decrease with age, especially after 35 years, so it is advisable to proceed with egg freezing as soon as possible to maximize the chances of future success.
In the future, when a woman decides to use her frozen eggs, they are thawed and fertilized in the laboratory through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The resulting embryos are then transferred to the woman’s uterus, with the goal of achieving pregnancy.
Why freeze eggs?
Freezing eggs can be helpful for various reasons, including:
Preserving fertility: A woman’s egg quality and quantity decrease with age, especially after 35 years. Freezing eggs at a younger age can help preserve fertility and increase the chances of conceiving in the future.
Delaying motherhood: Some women choose to freeze their eggs to postpone motherhood for personal, professional, or educational reasons. Egg freezing can offer them the opportunity to have children later, when they are more emotionally and financially ready.
Medical treatments: Women facing medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, that could damage their fertility may choose to freeze eggs before treatment to safeguard their reproductive potential.
Medical conditions: Some women with medical conditions that may compromise their fertility, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may opt for egg freezing to increase their chances of having children in the future.
Egg donation: Women who wish to donate their eggs to infertile couples or single women may freeze eggs to facilitate the donation process.
In general, egg freezing offers women the opportunity to preserve their reproductive potential and have greater control over when they want to have children.
However, it is essential to consider that the procedure does not guarantee pregnancy, and the chances of success depend on various factors, including the woman’s age at the time of egg freezing, egg quality, and the woman’s health conditions.
The egg freezing process step by step
The egg freezing process, or oocyte cryopreservation, takes place in several stages. Here are the main steps:
- Consultation and evaluation: Before starting the process, the woman has a consultation with Fertilab Barcelona doctors to discuss her situation and assess whether egg freezing is suitable for her. The doctor performs various tests to evaluate ovarian reserve, hormonal function, and the patient’s general health.
- Ovarian stimulation: The woman begins a cycle of hormonal medications to stimulate the growth and development of multiple eggs in her ovaries. This treatment usually lasts about 10-14 days and involves taking gonadotropins, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) to stimulate egg maturation. Another drug, called a GnRH antagonist, may be used to prevent premature ovulation.
- Monitoring: During the ovarian stimulation period, the woman undergoes regular monitoring through ultrasound and blood tests to check the growth and development of ovarian follicles and assess hormonal levels. This allows the doctor to adjust the treatment if necessary and determine the optimal time for egg retrieval.
- Triggering ovulation: When the follicles are mature, the woman receives an injection of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) or another hormone to trigger ovulation. This injection is administered about 36 hours before egg retrieval.
- Egg retrieval: Egg retrieval is performed under local anesthesia or sedation and takes about 20-30 minutes. The doctor uses a thin needle guided by a transvaginal ultrasound to aspirate the fluids containing eggs from the ovarian follicles. Usually, between 5 and 15 eggs are collected, depending on the woman’s response to ovarian stimulation.
- Freezing: The collected eggs are assessed by an embryologist to determine their maturity and quality. Mature and good-quality eggs are frozen using a technique called “vitrification,” an ultra-rapid freezing process that minimizes ice crystal formation and protects the egg’s cellular structure.
- Storage: Frozen eggs are stored in special containers at low temperatures (about -196 degrees Celsius) for a period that can range from a few years to decades, depending on local legislation and the individual needs of the patient.
When the woman decides to use the frozen eggs to try to conceive, they will be thawed, fertilized in vitro with the partner’s or a donor’s sperm, and the resulting embryos will be transferred to the woman’s uterus.
Assisted Fertility and Use of Frozen Eggs
The use of frozen eggs is part of assisted fertility techniques and is mainly carried out through in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help women conceive using their own previously preserved eggs.
When a woman decides to use her frozen eggs, the process takes place in the following steps:
Egg thawing: The preserved eggs are thawed in the laboratory using a controlled process to ensure their maintenance and functionality.
Fertilization: The thawed eggs are fertilized in vitro with the partner’s sperm or a donor’s sperm. Fertilization is usually carried out through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg. This method is often preferred for thawed eggs, as the outer membrane of the egg can become harder after freezing and thawing, making natural fertilization more difficult.
Embryo culture: The fertilized eggs are cultured in the laboratory for a few days (In Fertilab Barcelona, usually 5 days) to allow embryo development. During this period, the embryos are monitored to assess their quality and development.
Embryo transfer: One good-quality embryo is selected and transferred to the woman’s uterus. This process is performed using a thin catheter inserted through the cervix. The number of embryos transferred in Fertilab Barcelona is one, but depends on the woman’s age, embryo quality, and local laws.
Luteal phase support: After embryo transfer, the woman may receive progesterone treatment to support the implantation of the embryo and the development of the pregnancy.
Pregnancy test: About two weeks after embryo transfer, the woman performs a pregnancy test to determine if the treatment was successful.
It is important to note that the use of frozen eggs does not guarantee pregnancy, and the chances of success depend on several factors, including the woman’s age at the time of egg freezing, egg quality, the woman’s health conditions, and the techniques used in the fertility laboratory.
Success rates and factors affecting Egg Freezing
The success rates of egg freezing and their subsequent use vary depending on several factors. Some of the main factors affecting success rates include:
Woman’s age: The woman’s age at the time of egg freezing is one of the main factors affecting success. Younger women have better-quality eggs, and an age below 35 years is generally considered ideal for egg freezing. However, it is possible for older women to freeze their eggs, but success rates may be lower.
Egg quality: The quality of the eggs collected and frozen is crucial for the success of the procedure. Good-quality eggs are more likely to survive the freezing and thawing process and be successfully fertilized.
Number of eggs stored: Having a higher number of frozen eggs increases the chances of success, as it provides more opportunities to obtain good-quality embryos.
Freezing technique: Vitrification, an ultra-fast freezing technique, has revolutionized egg cryopreservation, as it minimizes ice crystal formation and maintains egg quality. Vitrification has led to higher egg survival rates compared to slow freezing techniques used in the past.
Fertility laboratory expertise: The quality of the facilities and the experience of the specialists in the fertility laboratory also impact success rates. Fertilab Barcelona can rely on highly qualified personnel and cutting-edge technologies, which translates into excellent results.
It is important to note that success rates vary from person to person, and it is not possible to predict with certainty the outcome for a specific person. In general, however, success rates for women using frozen eggs in IVF procedures are similar to those of women using fresh eggs, given the same age and egg quality.
To get a more accurate idea of specific success rates, contact us, and we will provide you with all the information you need.
How much does it cost to freeze eggs
The costs associated with freezing eggs can vary greatly depending on the country, the clinic, and individual needs. At Fertilab Barcelona, we like to provide clear and precise information; the cost to be incurred for egg freezing is €2,370.00 and includes the following activities:
- All medical visits and ultrasounds are included
- Analysis of female hormones during stimulation
- Follicular pick-up
- IVF laboratory fees
- Operating room fees
- Egg vitrification
- FREE 4 years of cryopreservation
Frequently asked questions about egg freezing
At what age should I consider egg freezing?
The ideal age for egg freezing is below 35 years, as a woman’s eggs tend to have better quality when she is younger. However, it is possible for women up to 40 years to freeze their eggs, although success rates may be lower.
How long can I store my frozen eggs?
Frozen eggs can be stored for many years without any significant decrease in quality. Local laws and regulations may limit the duration of storage of frozen eggs. At Fertilab Barcelona, we do not impose any time limits; you can have your eggs available whenever you deem it appropriate.
Does egg freezing guarantee a pregnancy in the future?
No, egg freezing does not guarantee a pregnancy. However, it increases the chances of conceiving in the future, especially if a woman has frozen her eggs at a young age when egg quality is better.
Is egg freezing safe?
Egg freezing is generally considered safe, especially in excellent clinics like Fertilab Barcelona, where cutting-edge tools and procedures are used. As with any medical procedure, the treatment may involve associated risks. The main risks include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) due to ovarian stimulation drugs and possible infections associated with the egg collection procedure. The Fertilab medical team is at your disposal to inform you about all the potential risks associated with this treatment.
What are the alternatives to egg freezing?
Alternatives to egg freezing include embryo freezing and egg donation. Embryo freezing involves fertilizing eggs with the partner’s or donor’s sperm before freezing, while egg donation involves using eggs from a donor if a woman is unable to use her own eggs.
Can frozen eggs be used after menopause?
Yes, frozen eggs can be used after menopause. However, post-menopausal women may need additional treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy, to prepare the uterus for embryo transfer.
Benefits of fertilab
First free appointment
Our first consultation will be free so that we can make a prior recognition of the situation and find the most appropriate alternative to your case.
Choose your gynecologist and nurse
In our center your gynecologist and your nurse will continuously monitor the evolution of the process to ensure that they have the maximum knowledge of your case.
Our philosophy is based on mutual trust and therefore we guarantee that the price of the treatment will always be the same from beginning to end.
Without a waiting list
If you contact us we will give you a date immediately so you can start your treatment as soon as possible.
Steps to follow
Ovaries stimulation and monitoring. It is usually greater than in artificial insemination because it tries to achieve a greater ovarian response.
Egg harvesting. At this point we proceed to pick the patient oocytes.
Vitrification of the oocytes. Ultra-fast freezing of the oocytes obtained at -196º. This technique keeps the gametes unaltered indefinitely.
Secure cryo bank maintenance (Fertibank). At Fertilab we offer free maintenance for 4 years to our patients.
- All medical visits/consulations and ecographies are included
- Estradiol analytics during stimulation
- Personal Patient Care Assistant
- Folicular puncture
- IVF Lab fee
- Operating room fee
- Egg vitrification
- FREE 4 years of cryobank preservation
- Genetic screening tests
% cumulative birth rate per cycle
IVF own eggs
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