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It is a well-known fact that women’s biological clock results in decreasing fertility and ovarian reserve as they age. This decline is exaggerated after the age of 35. Egg (oocyte) freezing allows the freedom for women to preserve their fertility while their eggs are in their prime.
When is it used?
There are several reasons why you may choose to freeze your eggs. From a social perspective, you may not yet have found the right partner, are concentrating on establishing your career, wish to continue your education, and want to ensure that when you are ready to have a family, you are able to. Oocyte freezing allows you to have this option.
From a medical perspective, oocyte freezing is often recommended for young women undergoing cancer treatment since chemotherapy and/or pelvic radiation has the potential to affect the ovaries. It should also be considered for any surgery which can impact ovarian function, or for women whose families have a history of premature ovarian failure as a result of a chromosomal abnormality or has a history of premature menopause.
What to Expect:
You will be required to have all the same tests as those women undergoing a cycle of IVF (with the exception of the semen analysis).
Once your physician has determined that you are a candidate for egg freezing you will under go the first two steps of the IVF procedure, ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. Once the eggs have been retrieved they will be examined under a microscope and the mature eggs will be cryopreserved (an ultra rapid cooling technique where the eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen).
The complications that can arise from Egg Freezing include infection, bleeding, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and stress.
Egg freezing is a relatively new technology with limited data available on success rates. Pregnancy success rates are dependent upon the age of the woman freezing her eggs and the number of viable eggs frozen.