Preserving and Extending Your Fertility
Women who wish to preserve and extend their fertility now have the option to freeze and store their eggs. When a woman is ready to get pregnant, her frozen eggs can be thawed, fertilized and the embryo can be transferred into her uterus. In essence, women who freeze their eggs are preventing their eggs from aging, maintaining the fertility potential of a younger woman. Although many fertility specialists offer oocyte cryopreservation, the scientific name for egg freezing, HRC Fertility has been freezing and thawing eggs for 10 years, achieving numerous live, healthy births as a result. Our doctors are considered leaders in the field of fertility preservation. HRC Fertility clinics are located in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego.
Who is a candidate for Egg Freezing?
A woman's fertility peaks in her 20s and then begins to decline rapidly in her 30s. Any women over 30 can freeze and store her eggs. Egg freezing is a encouraged for women delaying childbirth for education, career, other personal goals.
Egg freezing is particularly helpful for women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. Eggs can be retrieved and frozen prior to treatment and preserved. In addition, some people have religious or moral objections about excess embryos with IVF and may select to freeze eggs. Women with a family history of premature menopause may also consider egg freezing.
The Egg Freezing Process
Similar to IVF, egg freezing requires a series of hormone injections. When the eggs have matured, they are retrieved using transvaginal guided ultrasound while the patient is under light sedation. The eggs are then frozen using a flash freeze process known as vitrification. An “anti-freeze” is added to the eggs to keep ice crystals from forming that could damage the egg. When the woman is ready to become pregnant, her eggs are thawed, fertilized and the embryo is transferred into her uterus to achieve a pregnancy. Eggs can stay frozen for up to 10 years or longer.
Since egg freezing is becoming increasingly popular, many have questioned its safety. These are some of the most frequently asked questions:
- Does egg freezing cause birth defects? Among the 2000 babies born throughout the world using frozen eggs, there have not been reports of higher birth defects or other abnormalities than reported in the general population.
- How likely is it that eggs survive the freezing? Current estimates indicate that up to 75 percent of eggs survive thawing with 75 percent of those fertilizing and growing into embryos.
- How long can eggs safely stay frozen? Experts currently believe that they can remain frozen indefinitely, although there have been no studies of eggs frozen more than 10 years.