In today’s complex and demanding society, the path to parenthood is not always a straightforward one. As a woman progresses through her reproductive years, her family-building timeline may suddenly start to close in on her. Career, financial and family obligations, travel, education, illness, and even finding the right parenting partner can cause unavoidable delays in the right time to conceive. Fortunately, for women in the Columbus, OH area, SpringCreek Fertility offers the latest advancements in fertility preservation for women – including egg freezing. This enables women to take control of their family planning, regardless of their age, current circumstances or ticking biological clock.
The Science of Egg Freezing
While sperm and embryos have proven easy to freeze, egg freezing presents a unique set of challenges. The egg or “ovum” is the largest cell in the human body – it’s even visible to the naked eye – and it contains a large amount of water. This means that ice crystals can destroy the egg when frozen, unless it is “dehydrated” and then flash-frozen using a special process called vitrification. The fertility experts at SpringCreek are among only a few medical professionals in Ohio offering state-of-the-art vitrification egg freezing.
When to Consider Egg Freezing
For women who would like the option of having a child or children one day, but who worry that their biological clock will prevent it, egg freezing can be the perfect solution.
A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. So, as she releases eggs with every menstrual cycle, her fertility continues to decline with age; however, the uterus does not age at the same pace as eggs – and a woman’s uterus can actually carry a pregnancy well into a woman’s forties – and in some cases their fifties.
Freezing eggs at an early reproductive age ensures that a woman has a good chance at a future pregnancy – on her timeline and when she is ready – regardless of that looming biological clock.
Egg freezing is also an excellent fertility-preserving option for women who have been diagnosed with cancer. In many cases, cancer surgery or treatment – such as chemotherapy or radiation – can destroy a woman’s viable eggs, but egg freezing safeguards the option of having children in the future.
Additionally, women with a documented family history of early onset menopause and/or premature ovarian failure may also wish to consider egg freezing to preserve their eggs before their supply becomes depleted.
During the egg freezing process, a woman undergoes the same hormone-injection process as IVF (in-vitro fertilization). It takes roughly 3 weeks to go through the entire egg freezing cycle, including 1 to 2 weeks of birth control pills; and 9 to 10 days of hormone injections that stimulate the ovaries and simultaneously ripen multiple eggs.
The matured eggs are then removed vaginally via needle, using ultrasound guidance, under comfortable IV sedation. The eggs are then frozen right away at temperatures of -196 degrees Celsius. Most women under the age of 38 can expect to harvest 10-20 eggs per cycle.
The good news is that long-term storage does not erode or compromise the quality or viability of frozen eggs. With current egg freezing technology, frozen eggs can remain viable for up to ten years – long after the woman’s biological clock has stopped ticking.
But, remember, a woman will be extremely fertile during the egg retrieval and freezing process – so she should abstain from intercourse to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
Medical studies indicate that up to 75% of frozen eggs thaw successfully, and up to 75% of those are anticipated to fertilize with success in women up to 38 years of age. So, if a total of 20 eggs are frozen, 14 are expected to thaw successfully, with around 10 expected to actually be viable for fertilization.
Typically, 3 to 4 embryos will be transferred to women up to 38 years of age. Statistically, approximately 50 to 65% of women who freeze eggs and return for them at SpringCreek Fertility in the Columbus, OH area subsequently become pregnant.
The chances of pregnancy using frozen eggs are improved if she uses “younger” eggs that were frozen in her 20s or early 30s. Pregnancy rates for women who freeze their eggs after age 38 are typically dramatically lower – dropping to around 10%.
However, when the latest technologies are performed there is no significant difference in viability between eggs that have been frozen, and “fresh” eggs that were implanted immediately.
To date, more than 5,000 babies have been born worldwide via frozen eggs!
When state-of-the-art egg freezing technologies are employed, egg freezing can be an excellent “insurance policy” for women whose circumstances require delaying reproduction, but egg freezing is still a relatively new fertility science, compared with techniques, such as sperm and egg donation.
SpringCreek fertility in the greater Columbus, OH area is one of the few facilities in the Midwest with egg freezing knowledge and expertise. If you are interested in freezing your eggs, so you can exercise control over your reproductive future, call us today to schedule a thorough and discreet consultation. We will answer your fertility questions, and help you decide on the best reproductive processes for your life.