December 5, 2017

Nurture Fertility Egg Freezing FAQs

Egg freezing can be beneficial for women who wish to preserve their fertility for the future, whether this be because they want to focus on their career, have been diagnosed with an illness or are doing so for religious or moral reasons.

If egg freezing is something you’re considering, you probably have a range of questions. Nurture have put together an egg freezing FAQ to help you on your fertility journey.

egg freezingWhen should I freeze my eggs?

Ideally, eggs should be frozen when a woman is in her twenties; her prime reproductive years. However, this isn’t always the case, as many women aren’t even thinking about children between these years! Patients who choose to freeze their eggs when they are under 35 tend to have higher success rates than those who are aged 35 and over.

How does egg freezing work?

Although sperm and embryos are easy to freeze, the egg is the largest cell within the human body and contains a large amount of water. This means that when it is frozen, ice crystals can form that destroy the cell. Professionals have learnt to dehydrate the egg and replace the water with a type of anti-freeze prior to the freezing process to prevent the ice crystals from forming.

What is involved in the egg freezing process?

To obtain eggs for freezing, the patient will undergo hormone injections. These are the same hormone injections that are used during IVF. The only difference between the two procedures is that after eggs have been retrieved they are frozen for some time before they are thawed, fertilised and transferred to the uterus. The egg freezing cycle takes around three weeks to complete. The process includes 1-2 weeks of birth control pills to temporarily turn off natural hormones and 9-10 days of hormone injections to stimulate ovaries and ripen multiple eggs.

Once eggs have matured enough, they are removed with a needle placed through the vagina under the guidance of an ultrasound. This procedure is not painful and is done under IV sedation. When the patient is ready to attempt pregnancy, whether this be months or years later, the eggs are thawed and injected with a single sperm to achieve fertilisation, then transferred to the uterus as embryos.

How long can I keep my eggs frozen?

Scientific evidence suggests that long-term freezing of eggs does not result in any decrease in quality.

How many eggs should I freeze?

It is recommended that ten eggs should be frozen for each pregnancy attempt.

What are the success rates?

If a woman responds well to stimulation treatment, ten eggs will be collected. On average, around eight of these would be mature and suitable enough for freezing. It is anticipated that many of these eggs would survive the freezing and thawing process and on average, depending on the age of the egg at freezing, each cycle would have a 15-30% chance of leading to a live birth.

There is a wide variation around these figures depending on many factors, including the age of the patient. Younger women can expect to produce more than ten eggs, and each egg would have a higher expectation of implantation than eggs taken from older women. It is therefore recommended that younger women freeze their eggs as better results can be expected. The age of the woman at the stage of thawing and implantation has an insignificant impact upon the overall outcome.

If you still have unanswered questions regarding egg freezing and would like to speak to a member of the Nurture Fertility team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0115 896 1900 or via our contact page.