Egg Freezing Process

Egg banking, or freezing, provides women with an option for preserving their fertility.  Women desire to preserve their fertility for a variety of reasons from health issues to focusing on their careers.  Banking eggs when they are most viable allows women to extend their fertile years so that a woman’s choice to delay motherhood does not mean denial.

The egg preservation process occurs over three to four weeks and has three steps.

Step One: Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

The first step in fertility preservation is to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

  • With the aid of fertility medication such as Femara, Tamoxifen and gonadotropin injections, your ovaries are gently stimulated to produce several eggs.
  • Using blood work and ultrasound, our highly trained staff monitors the development of follicles, fluid filled sacs located in the ovaries that contain eggs.

Your cycle’s progress will be closely monitored as the timing of ovulation is extremely important for a successful egg retrieval.

Step Two: Harvesting Eggs

Once your follicles have reached the desired size and maturity, you will be given a medication to trigger ovulation.  Ovulation typically occurs 36 hours after the medicine is delivered, allowing us to time and coordinate with your ovulation.

  • You will be given either local or IV anesthesia before the egg retrieval.
  • Immediately before ovulation is to occur, eggs are harvested from the ovaries with a flexible needle.
  • The retrieval process takes about ten minutes, with recovery time of a few hours.

There may be some side effects after the egg retrieval including spotting and tenderness.  These side effects are normal and temporary.

Step Three: Vitrification

Vitrification is a process of flash freezing that prevents the formation of ice crystals, which can damage eggs.  Harvested eggs are frozen during the MII phase, when the egg is preparing to be united with sperm for fertilization.  Freezing an egg at this time results in an egg that is ready for fertilization when thawed.

During the vitrification process:

  • Protectants are added to the egg and water is removed to prevent the formation of ice crystals
  • The protected eggs are flash frozen and are brought from 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit down to -320.0 degrees Fahrenheit in an instant.

When the eggs are thawed, water is returned and the protectant is removed.  Results show freezing eggs using vitrification versus traditional methods results in better outcomes.  Eggs frozen with vitrification have a survival rate when thawed of 98 percent versus a rate of 55 percent with traditional methods.

New Hope Fertility Center is the only donor bank in the United States utilizing the vitrification method.  Our focus on cutting edge technology and providing better outcomes makes a leader in egg banking.

For additional information on preserving fertility or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, contact us.  Our board certified physicians have helped our patients with their dream of becoming parents since 2004.

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