Egg Freezing/Storage


FAQs on Egg Freezing

One option available for women to preserve fertility is the egg freezing i.e. oocytes/eggs freezing through a multi-step laboratory procedure to preserve viability. Eggs can later be thawed and fertilized, and embryos implanted to achieve pregnancy.

Although, more difficult than freezing sperm, female egg have been recently found to survive well using improved cryoprotectant solutions and techniques. These new developments offer the hope of preserving fertility for a large number of cancer patients and for women wishing to delay family building by storing their eggs at a younger age.

We are proud to announce that we have had a very good experience with egg cryopreservation at Reproductive Fertility Center, with our embryologist being involved with multiple pregnancies after using cryopreserved eggs.

Who does egg and ovarian tissue freezing benefit?

  • Professional, career-minded women who wish to have children at a later date, when career demands and pressures are less, or those without a partner who are pushing the envelope of age (30 years old or older) may protect their fertility by freezing eggs.
  • Women confronted with the decision to undergo radiation or chemotherapy due to the onset of cancer at an early age, or faced with the possibility of having their ovaries removed.

Preserving Life Through Stem Cells

Although not clinically available yet, preliminary research suggests that eggs and ovarian tissue may be one of the best, if not only, source of compatible stem cells if the egg donor develops cancer or another devastating disease later in life. Eggs and tissue not used for fertility can be kept in storage for possible therapeutic use as the woman’s life progresses.

Egg Freezing Process

Eggs and ovarian tissue have been found to survive well using improved cryoprotectant solutions and techniques. These new developments offer the hope of preserving fertility for a large number of patients.

  1. Egg Retrieval – Using fertility drugs, the ovaries are stimulated to produce several high quality eggs for retrieval. When the follicles are ready for egg retrieval, a needle is inserted into the ovaries using ultrasound guidance to locate each follicle. Fluid from the follicles is drawn into a test tube to retrieve the eggs. The patient is given pain medication and the procedure lasts about 15 minutes. The eggs are identified with a microscope and collected for freezing.
  2. Treatment with cryoprotectant. The eggs must be treated with a cryoprotectant before they can be frozen. A cryoprotectant such as ethylene glycol (EG) is added to a physiological saline in 0.5 M increments every 5 minutes until the desired concentration (1.5 M EG) is reached. The sample, processed at ambient temperature, is now ready for freezing.
  3. Egg freezing and storage. The temperature of the sample is reduced from 20° to -7°C (the temperature of ice nucleation) at 2°C/minute, and then held for 10 minutes. Cooling is then resumed at a rate of -0.5°C/minute to 30°C. The frozen eggs are then plunged into liquid nitrogen for storage at -196°C.
  4. Egg Fertilization. When the woman/couple is ready to have children, one or more of the eggs is thawed. After thawing, surviving eggs are fertilized through the ICSI method. The fertilized eggs usually develop into multi-celled embryos. Using a catheter, one or more embryos are then simply placed in the uterus, hopefully establishing a pregnancy.

    When ready to have children, one or more of the eggs is thawed. After thawing, surviving eggs are fertilized through the ICSI method. The fertilized eggs then usually develop into multi-celled embryos. Using a catheter, one or more embryos are then simply placed in the uterus, hopefully establishing a pregnancy.

    In case of egg freezing after certain age, it is found that there is a great heterogeneity in the distribution and organization of cytoplasmic organelles. They also demonstrate considerable variability in membrane water permeability. Both of these characteristics can affect their viability and ‘competence’, as well as the success of the oocyte cryopreservation process. Our fertility doctor will discuss your best fertility option. We have highly qualified double board certified fertility physician to help you have a better chances of getting pregnant.