If you're not ready to get pregnant, but don’t want to miss out on being a mum, egg freezing might be the solution for you. Egg freezing allows you to store your unfertilised eggs, to preserve their quality for use in the future.
Frozen eggs may be stored for many years. When you are ready to use your eggs, they are thawed, and then fertilised with sperm – either from your partner or a donor. A healthy fertilised egg can develop into an embryo, which will then be transferred back to your uterus, with a subsequent chance of pregnancy.
- Who might benefit form egg freezing?
Egg freezing can benefit women who may not be ready to get pregnant yet, but are concerned about the effect of aging on their fertility. You might consider freezing your eggs for the following reasons:
- Waiting for the right relationship
- Waiting to achieve financial stability
- Focusing on career, travel or study
Age-related infertility in women is one of the most common issues presented to Fertility Specialists each day when trying to help patients become pregnant. A woman’s most fertile years are in her 20s and early 30s, when the ovaries still contain a large number of healthy eggs. For the 10–15 years prior to menopause the ovarian function deteriorates, meaning women in their 40s have a much lower chance of producing a healthy pregnancy using their own eggs.
By freezing eggs, you can preserve your fertility until you are ready to get pregnant. For example, a 40 year old woman trying to get pregnant using eggs she froze at 30 years old, will have approximately the same chance of pregnancy as a 30 year old.
- What is the egg freezing process?
To obtain eggs for freezing, you will usually undergo hormonal stimulation over 10–12 days enabling a group of eggs (usually 10–15) to mature. There are a variety of stimulation techniques for this, and your Fertility Specialist will work with you to develop the best treatment for your individual circumstances.
The stimulation typically involves daily injections of hormones using a tiny needle under the skin, which are very easy to administer. You will be given instructions on administering the medication in an introductory session with our fertility nurses.
During this time, you will also need regular blood tests and ultrasound scans to monitor hormone levels and egg development.
The eggs are removed from the ovaries using an ultrasound guided probe. Attached to the ultrasound probe is a fine needle that passes through the vaginal wall into the ovary and draws the fluid (and egg) from the ovary. You can go home about one hour after the procedure and are advised to rest quietly for the rest of the day.
Egg freezing procedure
The eggs undergo freezing, or cryopreservation, in the IVF laboratory, using the latest scientific technology. This process involves immersing each egg in a series of special fluid solutions to protect its cellular structure, followed by storage in freezing tanks of liquid nitrogen. Eggs may be stored for many years.
- What are the success rates of egg freezing?
- A stimulated cycle would result in the collection of 10–15 eggs
- Approximately 70–80% of eggs would survive thawing
- Approximately 40–50% of surviving eggs would fertilise
- Approximately 79–90% of fertilised eggs would develop into good quality embryos, depending on the age of the woman and her inherent egg quality, and the quality of the sperm
- A single embryo would have a 25%–35% chance of developing into a pregnancy.
The younger the woman is when her eggs are frozen, the better the chance of the thawed eggs resulting in a pregnancy. Egg freezing in women over the age of 37–38 would be expected to have a lower chance of pregnancy.
- How much does egg freezing cost?
Egg freezing costs vary depending on your individual circumstances. If there are medical reasons for freezing eggs, Medicare will provide a rebate on the associated costs. Once eggs are frozen, ongoing storage fees will also apply every 6 months.
For more information on egg freezing costs, call us 1800 111 483, or complete the form below.
To find out more about egg freezing, or to book an appointment with a Queensland Fertility Group Fertility Specialist, call 1800 111 483 to speak with an experienced fertility consultant.