Egg freezing – also called oocyte cryopreservation or egg vitrification – is a proactive method of fertility preservation. Originally pioneered for women whose cancer and/or cancer treatments threatened their future fertility, egg vitrification is now available for any woman concerned that infertility will be an issue later on.
Women who choose fertility preservation undergo the first few steps involved in IVF: ovarian reserve testing (to see whether you have enough eggs), ovarian stimulation using injectable fertility medication and egg retrieval. The eggs are instantly frozen into a glass-like, rather than crystallized, form. These vitrified eggs are stored until you are ready to begin IVF treatments.
Are You a Candidate for Egg Freezing?
Typically, women who participate in fertility preservation:
- Have a Cancer Diagnosis. Egg vitrification was developed primarily for women between the ages of 13 and 40, and who have a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment regimen that is known to compromise fertility. NCFMC partners with the LIVESTRONG Sharing Hope Program to provide grants that significantly offset the costs of egg freezing.
- Are Focused on Their Career. Age affects a woman’s egg quantity and quality. After age 35, both of these female fertility factors diminish rapidly. If you are on the career path, and are sure you won’t be ready to start a family until your mid- to late-30s or beyond, fertility preservation can notably increase your fertility chances.
- Haven’t Found Their Life Mate. Similarly, women who are in their early- to mid-thirties and are still single often worry about their biological clock. Egg freezing allows you to freeze your eggs “just in case,” which can significantly relieve the pressure to find “The One.”
At What Age Should I Freeze My Eggs?
|< 32||Usually too young to worry.|
|32 – 36||Ideal age to freeze eggs.|
|37 – 38||Clock is ticking.|
|39 – 40||Maybe too late.|
|41+||Usually too late.|
|Cancer:||Any age 13 – 40 years old.|
How Involved is the Process?
In most cases, the egg freezing process takes about three weeks from start to finish.
The first step is to evaluate egg quantity via the combined results of two tests: an Anti-Mullerian Hormone test (done by blood draw), which can be ordered by your OB/GYN or GP. Then, a fertility specialist will need to do an Antral Follicle Count using a vaginal ultrasound. The results of these tests will give us a good idea of your ovarian (egg) reserves. The ultimate goal is to retrieve 20 to 30 eggs.
You will use injectable fertility meds (gonadotropins) for about 10 days, to stimulate multiple eggs to mature in your ovaries. We’ll teach you how to do these injections in our office, but you can administer the daily injections on your own at home.
Over the course of two weeks, including the 10 days of injectable medications, you will have four to five different ultrasound visits (30-minutes each), after which you can return to work.
When it is time to retrieve the eggs, you’ll return to the office for a 15-minute Egg Retrieval procedure. We use an ultrasound probe to obtain a clear picture of the ovaries and then a specialized needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to retrieve eggs from each follicle. Because you are given mild IV sedation to help you remain calm, alert and pain-free, we recommend taking the rest of the day off.
For women with a low antral follicle count or an AMH < 1, then it is sometimes necessary to undergoing two cycles of medications and egg retrievals in order to obtain an adequate number of eggs for freezing.
Success Rates with Egg Freezing/Vitrification
The success rate of a live birth with egg freezing and IVF are estimated by age:
- < 38 years old: about 80% chance of a live birth per 20 eggs vitrified.
- 38 – 40 years old: about 70% chance of a live birth per 30 eggs vitrified.
Costs of Egg Freezing
|Egg Vitrification||$ 800.00|
|1st year Storage of Vitrified Eggs||$ 0.00|
|Total NCFMC Fees||$9,450.00|
|IVF Medications (varies by age and egg count) – Estimate||$3,000.00|
|Estimated Treatment Total||$12,450.00|
*Fees for pre-cycle testing and Egg Thawing/Fertilization Embryo Transfer are not included
COSTS for CANCER PATIENTS:
NCFMC partners with the LIVESTRONG Sharing Hope Program to provide grants that significantly offset the costs of egg freezing. egg freezing gives women greater control over their future fertility success.
Have Questions About Egg Freezing and Fertility Preservation?
Ultimately, egg freezing gives women greater control over their future fertility success.
If you have questions and/or feel you are a candidate for egg freezing, contact us here at Northern California Fertility Medical Center. (916) 773-2229. We’re happy to speak with you by phone or you can schedule an on-site consultation with one of our renowned fertility specialists.