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What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing is a procedure to harvest a woman’s eggs and use them to get pregnant in the future. Egg freezing is also known as Oocyte Cryopreservation. In this procedure, the woman’s eggs (oocyte) are extracted, frozen, and harvested to preserve the reproductive potential of the woman. 

The first human baby born from frozen eggs was reported in 1986. The first baby from frozen eggs in India was born to a 37-year-old woman from Arakkonam in the Vellore district.

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Best Fertility Clinic for Egg Freezing Procedure

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Best Fertility Clinic for Egg Freezing

Best Fertility Clinic for Egg Freezing

Pristyn Care is one of India’s highly-trusted and established fertility clinics that offers a high success rate in providing various fertility treatments including egg freezing. Egg freezing preserves the ability of a woman to get pregnant at an advanced age without having to worry about her biological clock. The advanced fertility medical technologies available at Pristyn Care have helped several women choose when they want to conceive a child without requiring her to compromise on any facets of life. 

Egg freezing is a very sensitive treatment and hence finding the right fertility specialist for egg freezing is crucial. It is also obvious that you’d have several questions in your mind before opting for the treatment. Only a detailed consultation and thorough diagnosis can help you get the answers you might be looking for.

Pristyn Care fertility labs are enabled with modern scientific technologies required for efficient egg freezing that provide optimum results after the fertility treatment. 

Pristyn Care maintains a very high level of confidentiality during consultation as well as the egg freezing procedure. We do not compromise on your identity and privacy by any means. While you go through the consultation and the treatment, your personal details would be accessible only with our medical coordinator and the fertility specialist.

What happens in egg freezing?

What happens in egg freezing?

Tests before egg freezing

Fertility specialists normally run tests to check the ovarian reserve of the woman before performing egg freezing. Ideally, the blood tests are done on the second or third day of the period to get the required information about the egg supply. Apart from the blood tests, the fertility specialist may also suggest a vaginal ultrasound to test the uterus and the ovaries. To visually count the number of egg follicles in the ovaries, the fertility specialist may conduct an Antral Follicle Count test. A high count of eggs indicates that the woman has a good ovarian reserve and a significant number of eggs can be retrieved. Generally, the blood test results indicate the following:

  • A high level of Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) indicates a good quantity of eggs.
  • An elevated level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) indicates a low quantity of eggs.
  • The Estradiol level provides information to interpret the FSH level.

If you are planning to go for egg freezing, detailed fertility testing can help you decide your best fertility window.

What is the process of egg freezing?

What is the process of egg freezing?

At the beginning of the egg freezing procedure, the fertility specialist does a brief assessment of the ovarian reserve to check if the woman has enough oocytes to freeze her eggs. The ovarian reserve assessment may include blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound. Once the test results appear, the doctor decides whether to proceed with the egg freezing or some medication doses are required to amplify the procedure. 

Ovarian stimulation, similar to IVF, is conducted as the next phase. During the procedure, hormonal medications are injected into the ovaries. Following the ovarian stimulation, the doctor monitors the growth of the ovarian follicle and when enough follicles develop, the fertility specialist retrieves the eggs through vaginal aspiration under sedation. 

The retrieved eggs are examined under the microscope and the mature ones are cryopreserved in the lab. The procedure used to preserve the eggs in the rapid cooling of a liquid medium is known as Vitrification.

How to prepare for egg freezing?

How to prepare for egg freezing?

  • The best way to prepare for egg freezing or any infertility treatments like IVF is to make necessary changes in your lifestyle habits. Lifestyle factors can directly influence egg production.
  • Include omega-3 in your meals. Fish, canola oil, seeds, and nuts drastically increase your chances of having good egg production.
  • Cut down on your alcohol intake. High alcohol consumption has been medically associated with chronic oxidative stress that can hamper the normal functioning of your ovaries. Fertility experts suggest not consuming more than two drinks per day.
  • Moderate your caffeine intake. High levels of caffeine have been associated with decreased chances of fertility. Most medical practitioners recommend limiting caffeine intake just to 2 cups of tea or coffee per day.
  • Reduce your cortisol levels. Several medical researches have been done to date that state a direct association between stress and infertility. We understand infertility can lead you to stressful situations but you also need to know that stress in turn can lower your chances of a successful pregnancy. The best way to do this here is to trust the medical process and remain hopeful.
  • Include supplements. A sufficient nutrition intake is important for your reproductive health. The best way to start the journey is by including some good quality folic acid, vitamin D, and CoEnzyme Q-10 supplements.

Who needs egg freezing?

Who needs egg freezing?

A woman may consider freezing her eggs under any of the following conditions:

  • Some damage caused to the ovaries from a surgery
  • If she requires pelvic radiation therapy or chemotherapy that may affect her fertility
  • An ovarian disease that causes damage to the ovaries
  • Genetic mutations that require removal of the ovaries
  • Fertility preservation in case she wants to bear a child later in life
  • If undergoing or planning to undergo IVF in the near future

What is the relationship between age and number of eggs for egg freezing?

What is the relationship between age and number of eggs for egg freezing?

Age of the patient Number of mature eggs you must freeze to attain a 50% eLBR Number of mature eggs you must freeze to attain a 60% eLBR Number of mature eggs you must freeze to attain a 70% eLBR
Below 35 years 6 8 9
35-37 7 8 10
38-40 11 13 16
41-42 20 24 28
Over 42 50 70 80

FAQs Around Egg Freezing Procedure

What is the best age for egg freezing?

Medically, the optimum age range for egg freezing is between 30 and 34 years. However, a study published in the ‘Journal Fertility and Sterility’ in 2015, found out that women can benefit best from frozen eggs between the age of 25 to 30 years.

Is egg freezing painful?

Most women do not experience any pain in egg freezing. Egg freezing is comfortable and safe. The truth is, the idea of egg freezing is a lot worse than the procedure in real.

How are frozen eggs used in the future?

Once you freeze the eggs, you can use them in the future when you and your partner are ready to conceive a baby. The egg can be fertilized either by using its own sperm or donor sperm. Once the fertilized eggs develop into an embryo, it is implanted into the uterus of the woman where the pregnancy continues for the next 9 months.

How do I know if my egg is of good quality?

There is no medically proven test to date to check the quality of frozen eggs. The only way to evaluate the quality of the eggs that have been frozen is to get them fertilized. If the fertilization is successful, the fertility specialist runs a genetic test on the embryo to check its quality.

For how long can I preserve my eggs?

Reports published in the USC Fertility state that frozen eggs can be stored for longer than 14 years. There are no studies that state any genetic defects or birth defects in the case of frozen eggs. There are no pregnancy risks involved in the case of eggs that are frozen for long years.

When should I decide to freeze my eggs?

Simply put, you can freeze your eggs when you have ample quality eggs but are not willing to conceive at present. The best time to freeze your eggs ideally is late 20s and late 30s. Women ideally have optimum egg quantity and premium egg quality during this age. Every woman is born with an egg reserve that diminishes in quality as she ages. By the time a woman is 30, she is usually left with only a 5 percent chance of conceiving a baby.

How many eggs should I store to achieve a successful pregnancy?

For a successful live birth, a woman should store at least 30-40 eggs. To store 30-40 mature eggs, she has to undergo at least 2-5 cycles of treatment before storing her eggs. Having a large egg reserve increases the chance of retrieving a mature egg but does not always guarantee a live birth.

Is it possible to freeze my eggs at the age of 35?

Yes, freezing your eggs at the age of 35 is possible. But since the ovaries will produce a fewer number of eggs, the chances of extracting a mature egg will be minimal at 35 years. The chance of having a successful pregnancy by freezing eggs at 35 is much lower and hence it is recommended to freeze the eggs much earlier.

Does egg freezing cause any risk to the health of the offspring?

Egg freezing is ideally a safe fertility technique and no major risks are involved in the procedure either to the mother or the offspring. Although rare, there has been evidence of congenital structural abnormalities in the case of offspring born from egg freezing.

Can egg freezing affect my fertility?

No. Egg freezing won’t lower your ovarian reserve and won’t decrease your chances of getting pregnant naturally in the future. In simpler words, egg freezing has no direct association with fertility.

How many frozen eggs are required to make a baby?

Approximately, 30-40 eggs are required for a woman for a reasonable chance of a live birth. A woman needs to undergo at least 2-5 treatment cycles to store at least 30-40 mature eggs. Having a large number of mature eggs increases the chances of a successful pregnancy but it does not guarantee a live birth.

What are the side effects of egg freezing?

Egg freezing may cause minor side effects like abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea. These side effects are likely to go away with time and proper medication. There is a very rare possibility for egg freezing to cause any severe side effects.

What is the cost of egg freezing in India?

Egg freezing cost in India INR 1,10,000 to INR 1,30,000. This cost is inclusive of the medicines and injections given during the ovarian stimulation, the charges of the egg retrieval procedure, and the subsequent cost of the freezing procedure and hence the freezing of the eggs cost differently for each person.

What are the risks associated with the oocyte cryopreservation procedure?

The risks associated with oocyte cryopreservation is similar to that of ovarian stimulation for IVF. The common risks are ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, infection and bleeding disorders related to egg retrieval.

Is egg freezing and embryo freezing the same?

The main difference between freezing eggs vs. freezing embryos is that freezing embryos requires sperm/insemination.

What to expect after freezing the eggs?

There are basically three steps involved in egg freezing – ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and egg freezing.

Ovarian stimulation

  • Medications will be stimulated into the ovaries to aid the production of multiple eggs.
  • The fertility specialist may inject medication such as follitropin alfa or beta (Follistim AQ, Gonal-f) or menotropins (Menopur) or prescribe injectable gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
  • The doctor will monitor you during the procedure and keep a check on how the body reacts to the medicine.
  • Typically, estrogen levels increase when ovarian follicles develop.
  • After 10-14 days of medication, the follicles are ready for retrieving.

Egg retrieval

  • Egg retrieval can be done either in the clinic or the hospital.
  • Transvaginal aspiration is the most common approach to egg retrieval. During the procedure, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to identify the follicles.
  • The doctor then guides a needle into the follicle. Using a suction device, the doctor removes/ retrieves the egg from the follicle. More the number of retrieved eggs, the higher the chances of live birth.
  • Egg retrieval is a comparatively painful procedure than any other stage of the process and may involve mild cramping and bleeding. 

Egg freezing

  • Once the eggs are retrieved, they are harvested and preserved for future use. 
  • The most common procedure to freeze eggs is known as vitrification. The word ‘vitrification’ comes from the Latin term for glass, vitreum. Vitrification is the process of freezing so rapidly that the water molecules don’t have time to form ice crystals, and instead instantaneously solidify into a glass-like structure.
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