EGG BANKING AND FERTILITY PRESERVATION
All women share a common dream of becoming a mother. Female fertility begins declining in the late 20’s; however conception rates remain high into the 30’s. After age 35, the decline accelerates and reaches nearly zero pregnancy potential by the time the woman reaches age 45. In addition, women over 35 have an increased risk of miscarriage and/ or genetic abnormalities in their children as a result of age-dependent changes in egg quality.
YOU PLAN EVERYTHING – COLLEGE, CAREER, MARRIAGE, FINANCES, AND VACATIONS. THEN WHY NOT PLAN YOUR FERTILITY
Many women delay family building while seeking a life partner and many others due to educational, career or economic considerations. Historically, embryo cryopreservation was the only option offered to female patients. This option, while successful, has a major disadvantage about the requirement of a sperm source to create the embryos. So, this option is obviously closed for single women. Fortunately, the advent of efficient and reliable oocyte freezing allows you to proactively preserve your fertility until you are ready to have children. At New Hope IVF, we are pleased to introduce ‘Egg Banking ‘, also known as elective Oocyte Cryopreservation or Egg Freezing. Egg Banking offers hope to all women who are concerned about their future fertility. It greatly increases a woman’s potential to have children later in life.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR EGG FREEZING?
If you are between the ages of 25 and 35, not in a stable relationship and you wish to increase your chances of conception with your own eggs in the future, Egg Banking is a suitable option for you. This is also a good option for young women diagnosed with cancer, women with a family history of early menopause and those with chronic diseases where the medication may have a detrimental effect on oocyte function.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
The first step is to schedule a consultation with one of our fertility physicians to discuss your medical history and family planning goals. The next step will entail a few tests that will help decide if egg banking is right for your needs. Ovarian stimulation will begin on Day 1 or 2 of your period and you may be ready for egg retrieval after 11 -13 days. You will have to come to the clinic for follicular monitoring and blood tests every 4 – 5 days. Egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure that takes place under anesthesia while you sleep comfortably. Depending on your response to the medications, more than one egg retrieval may be needed to provide a realistic chance of conception in the future. After the retrieval, your eggs will be cryopreserved and stored until you are ready to use them.
HOW ARE THE EGGS FROZEN AND STORED?
Following the egg retrieval procedure, the eggs are immediately transferred to the laboratory for an advanced cryopreservation process called ‘Vitrification’ performed by our highly skilled and experienced embryologists. The eggs are then stored in special holding tanks. New Hope IVF’s secure cryopreservation facility includes stringent quality controls, enhanced security, fault-tolerant storage, controlled access and constant monitoring.
FOR HOW LONG CAN THE EGGS REMAIN FROZEN?
Theoretically, egg or embryos may be frozen indefinitely, as no biological activity takes place during cryopreservation. In medical literature, the longest reported time for an embryo to be frozen, thawed and result in a viable healthy delivery is twelve years. Freezing and thawing protocols continue to improve, making it possible that eggs/embryos frozen more recently may have even better outcomes.
HOW DO YOU USE FROZEN EGGS TO ACHIEVE PREGNANCY?
Once you are ready to start a family with your partner / husband, you will be prepared for a recipient cycle with medications to prepare your uterine lining. Your eggs will be thawed and fertilized using the ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) technique with your partner / husband’s sperm. The embryo transfer will then be planned after 2 or 3 days.
HOW MANY EGGS SHOULD I STORE TO ACHIEVE A PREGNANCY?
At New Hope IVF, we have an extremely successful Vitrification program in place, using the newest Cryotech Vitrification method. We have egg thaw rates of 95% and fertilization rates of 75% for women up to 38 years of age. We recommend that 8 mature eggs be stored for stored for each pregnancy attempt.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG DURING THIS ENTIRE PROCESS?
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. There is a small possibility that during egg retrieval no eggs are collected or the collected eggs are not mature and hence not suitable for freezing. It may also happen that none of the frozen eggs survive the thawing process. Or they may not get fertilized in spite of successful thawing.
IS EGG FREEZING SAFE?
To date, approximately 2,000 babies have been born from frozen eggs. The largest published study of 900 babies from frozen eggs showed no increased rate of birth defects when compared to the general population. Additionally, results from one study showed no increased rates of chromosomal defects between embryos derived from frozen eggs compared to embryos derived from frozen eggs.