With much advancement in science and technology, it is becoming more common for individuals to have their eggs frozen for future use. Fertility preservation is an excellent way for both women and men to freeze their eggs, embryos, or sperm to use when they are ready.
There are many different reasons as to why a person would want to freeze their eggs. Perhaps they are busy pursuing their career, went back to school, or maybe they just aren’t at that point in life where they are ready to start a family. They could also be experiencing medical problems like cancer, treatments with chemotherapy, or radiation therapy that could affect fertility. No matter what the reason, there are options available for fertility preservation.
If you’ve decided to have your eggs frozen for future use, the first step is to locate a fertility clinic that specializes in these procedures. Depending on where you live, there may not be a lot of options when it comes to clinics. Discuss with your doctor that you are planning to have eggs or sperm frozen and see what information and advice is given.
Once a clinic has been chosen, there is generally a phone consultation to gather basic information to determine if you will be a good candidate for the procedure. An appointment is then made to evaluate your ovarian reserve and egg quality. This is determined by an examination using ultrasound, and this estimates the amount of eggs that are resting in the uterus.
A blood test is also needed to measure three types of hormones that are in the bloodstream. The results from the tests are reviewed by the doctor and will be discussed with you. The outcome of the test will determine the type of medication that works best for each patient, and whether or not you are suitable candidate.
Before the egg freezing process, the doctor decides the medication dosage based on the results from the examination. This is a self-injected medication that is taken daily to stimulate egg growth and development. The injections are taken for close to 12 days, and an ultrasound and blood test are needed every three days to verify egg growth.
Usually around 12 days after beginning the medication, the follicles have matured and the eggs are ready to be retrieved. This generally takes about 45 minutes to retrieve them, with an additional hour of recovery time. Following the retrieval procedure, the eggs are cultured and placed in incubators to encourage maturation. A freezing solution is added to the eggs in order to protect them while they are frozen, and they are then stored in liquid nitrogen tanks.
Before the egg freezing and storage procedure begins, there are consent forms that have to be filled out and signed regarding the storage of the eggs. This verifies that you consent to the eggs being stored and that they are reserved for your treatment. It states the amount of time that you want them to be stored, which is usually 10 years.
The egg storage consent process also involves information regarding what will happen to the eggs in the event that you can no longer make your own decisions or die. It also needs to state if the eggs are only to be used for your treatment, or if they can be donated to another recipient, or used in training and research.