Assisted reproductive technology is a technology used to achieve pregnancy in patients with problems conceiving. Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is an assisted reproductive technique that allows woman to preserve their eggs for later use.
Egg freezing is usually considered for women who wish to delay pregnancy for reasons of concentrating on their career, education and other personal goals, and those diagnosed with cancer. Egg freezing may also be opted for those who have a religious objection with regard to embryo freezing and for couples undergoing fertility treatment in which the male partner is unable to provide sufficient sperm on the day of retrieval.
Egg freezing involves three primary steps: induction of ovulation, retrieval of the eggs and freezing them. Your doctor first stimulates the ovaries by injecting synthetic hormones to boost the production of multiple eggs. Transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, a minor surgical procedure is performed under sedation to remove the eggs from the ovaries. A needle is guided through the vagina with an ultrasound probe and the eggs are removed with the help of a suction device attached to the needle. Soon after collection, the unfertilized eggs are frozen at sub-zero temperatures with either slow freeze, vitrification or cryoprotectants.
When the eggs are required, the frozen eggs are thawed, and allowed to fertilize with sperm in the lab or sperm is directly injected into the egg via intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) procedure, and implanted via in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the womb.
As with any procedure, egg freezing may involve certain risks and complications such as bloating, vomiting, infection, mild abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, bleeding, rapid weight gain, difficulty breathing and emotional disappointment with failure of the treatment.
Please remember, egg freezing procedure may not work for all. Please talk to your doctor to know whether this procedure is right for you.