Egg vitrification is a new assisted reproduction technique which enables a womans eggs to be frozen so that she can delay and choose when she wishes to become a mother. In Europe, there have already been several babies born through this procedure which offers similar success rates to that of using fresh eggs. This technique will continue to increase in the future because of the benefits it offers a woman: firstly it enables a woman to preserve her fertility if she needs medical treatment that may affect it, and furthermore it allows a woman to delay motherhood until much later in life but at the same time preserving the genetic material of her own eggs.
Egg vitrification at the Embio IVF unit has been very popular and we are now able to offer this treatment to whoever may desire it, whether for medical or personal circumstances.
Why is it a good idea for a woman to freeze her eggs?
As time goes by a womans fertility decreases considerably due to the aging of the ovaries, therefore not only does it become increasingly difficult for a woman to conceive but furthermore her chances of having a healthy baby are also reduced.
This is because a woman is born with a certain egg resource which reduces progressively (in each menstrual cycle approx 1,000 eggs are lost and when a woman turns 35 there is approx only 10% of her resource left). Also, the quality of the eggs deteriorate and it is not uncommon that a woman aged between 38 and 40 has already used up all her egg resources which may have enabled her to have a healthy baby. This is because a womans age affects the egg creation process and thus results in failed reproductive attempts or in chromosomal abnormalities for example Downs Syndrome.
Freezing a womans eggs at her most fertile period can thus avoid these problems and will allow her to have good quality eggs for a possible reproductive treatment, which will provide a greater chance of having a successful pregnancy and health baby.
In which situations is egg freezing suggested?
- To preserve fertility. For young single women who want to assure their future fertility, whether alone or with that special person they have not found yet, but they hope to find one day. Also for young women with a partner who wish to delay motherhood due to personal or professional reasons.
- Before undoing oncological treatment Chemotherapy and radiology result in irreversible damage to the eggs. Therefore a womans fertility can be preserved by freezing her eggs before such treatment.
- Other Medical Reasons For example before the removal of the ovaries.
- Ethical and Moral reasons In IVF cycles when the freezing of embryos is against a persons desire.
- To Increase the pregnancy rates in women with a low ovarian reserve By fertilizing the eggs after several cycles of stimulation.
How is egg freezing performed?
Firstly it is necessary to obtain the eggs through ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. Once the eggs have been retrieved, the vitrification procedure takes place. Vitrification is performed by hardening the eggs quickly at low temperatures thus to avoid the formation of ice. To achieve this, a large quantity of cellular cryoprotectors are used to avoid breakages in the cellular membranes.
Some time later, when a pregnancy is desired, the eggs are defrosted and fertilised. The transfer of the embryos then takes place 2 or 3 days later, without the need for hormone treatment.
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