Egg Freezing

Egg freezing is one way of preserving a woman’s fertility so she can try to have a family in the future. It involves collecting a woman’s eggs, freezing them and then thawing them later on so they can be used in fertility treatment.Firstly, you’ll need to be tested for any infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis. This has no bearing on whether you can freeze your eggs or not, but is to ensure that affected egg samples are stored separately to prevent contamination of other samples.You’ll then start the IVF process, which usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks to complete. Normally this will involve taking drugs to boost your egg production and help the eggs mature. When they’re ready, they’ll be collected whilst you’re under general anesthetic or sedation.At this point, instead of mixing the eggs with sperm (as in conventional IVF) a cryoprotectant (freezing solution) will be added to protect the eggs. The eggs will then be frozen either by cooling them slowly or by vitrification (fast freezing) and stored in tanks of liquid nitrogen. Latest statistics show that vitrification is more successful than the slow cooling method.Most women will have around 15 eggs collected although this isn’t always possible for women with low ovarian reserves (low numbers of eggs). When you want to use them, the eggs will be thawed and those that have survived intact will be injected with your partner’s or donor’s sperm.IVF is mostly very safe, although some women do experience side effects from their fertility drugs.The standard storage period for eggs is for a maximum of 10 years, although women in certain circumstances may be able to store their eggs for up to 55 years.
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