What is Egg Freezing?
Egg Freezing, also called mature oocyte cryopreservation, is the method of storing a woman’s unfertilised eggs so she can try to conceive later, when natural conception may be more difficult. The benefit of freezing eggs when you are younger is that at age 25 you have a high number of eggs, and many of these eggs will be of good quality. The age of an egg (oocyte) is very important when it comes to it being fertilised and developing into an embryo and then a healthy baby. At age 40, your eggs are less likely to create a healthy baby.
Many women wonder how long eggs can be frozen. We are able to store frozen eggs for many years without it affecting their quality. The period varies depending on applicable state and territory legislation.
Generally, high ovarian reserve and a high percentage of genetically normal eggs
Strong chance of conceiving each month
Typically, fewer eggs and each egg is less likely to be genetically normal
More difficult to become pregnant
In short, your frozen eggs won’t age and can be thawed and fertilised with a sperm when you’re ready.
For many of us and for many reasons, the immediate future is not the right time to be starting a family.
Our egg freezing process allows you the opportunity to have children when the time is right.
How does it work?
To begin, your first appointment will be with a Fertility GP, who will discuss your options and review your medical history. Your GP will ask you to undergo some Blood Tests and an Ultrasound to check key fertility markers.
Once all your results are back at the clinic, you will be given an appointment with an Adora Fertility Specialist. After discussing treatment options, your Fertility Specialist will tailor a program to ensure the optimal outcome.
It is at this point that your doctor will advise if your cycle is eligible to be covered under Medicare. Please note: this is mainly reserved for women who are suffering from serious medical conditions such as, undergoing chemotherapy or severe endometriosis.
During an egg freezing cycle you will need to inject yourself with follicle stimulating hormones (FSH), to stimulate the ovaries so that multiple follicles grow. It’s the follicle that contains the egg, however it is important to note that not every follicle will contain an egg.
Other injections used include antagonist or agonist injections and the trigger injection. Antagonist or agonist injections prevent ovulation occurring to protect the eggs from being released from the follicles as they grow.
The trigger injection is given just prior to egg collection to start the process of ovulation and prepare the eggs to be collected during the egg collection procedure or oocyte pick up (OPU).
All injections used in Egg Freezing are given by the patients themselves at home. They are simple to prepare and use. Injections are given for approximately 10-14 days, however every woman is different and every cycle is different and it will depends how long the follicles take to grow to be the right size to have mature eggs collected.
Consultation with Fertility Nurse
During the consultation, with your Fertility Nurse, you will be guided through the entire process of your treatment cycle, including medications and how to administer them. Remember, an Adora Nurse will be available to guide you every step of the way.
Treatment Cycle and Monitoring
The first step in your egg freezing cycle is to contact one of Adora’s Nurses when your period starts. Your nurse will instruct you to have a blood test. Once your results are back at the clinic and reviewed by your Fertility Specialists, you will receive further information on when and how to use your fertility medications. For example, the cycle will involve self-administering injections to stimulate your ovaries.
Your specialist will manage your cycles and one of Adora Nurses will closely monitor your progress over approximately 12 to 14 days.
Egg Retrieval Procedure
When your follicles, the sacs that contain the eggs are a certain size, it indicates that they contain mature eggs and are ready to harvest. It’s then time for your egg retrieval. Your egg retrieval / collection procedure will be performed in a fully-accredited day surgery under the care of a Fertility Specialist. The procedure is performed under light general anaesthetic, so there will be minimal pain or discomfort.
Most women find that they are able to go back to work within a day or two after the procedure.
Vitrification and Cryopreservation
The collected eggs are assessed for their maturity.
The mature eggs are then frozen in our lab by our team of scientists and embryologist. Once they are frozen, they remain in storage until you are ready to use them.
Undergoing egg freezing is a safe and established treatment but it is important that you understand your chances of success when you come to use your frozen eggs (oocytes) in the future.
Using markers of ovarian reserve, such as Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and Antral Follicle Count (AFC) on ultrasound, our experienced Fertility Specialists will tailor your treatment plan to maximise the number of good quality mature eggs that can be retrieved. Only mature eggs are frozen and not all eggs that are retrieved are mature.
Your Elective Egg Freezing Orientation
Better understand the Egg Freezing process, as well as the associated costs with this comprehensive orientation booklet.