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What is Egg or Embryo Freezing?

In this process, the woman's eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen, and either stored as eggs or fertilised with the sperm of their husband/ partner, embryos created, frozen and stored to preserve their ability and have a chance to conceive at a later time.

Who Should Consider Egg Freezing?

Egg or embryo freezing is recommended for women who -

·        are at increased risk of premature loss of eggs. It can be either due to exposure to a surgical procedure, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. Or having a genetic or medical condition that can lead to early loss of eggs, such as Fragile X syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, auto-immune conditions or endometriosis.

·        are donating eggs

·        wish to preserve their fertility for social or personal reasons.

What is Social Freezing?

Nowadays women or couples tend to postpone their wish to start a family for some years due to lifestyle reasons. The chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby decline with the increasing age of the woman, mainly because of aging of eggs. Older eggs are poorer in quality and the chance to conceive and have a healthy baby can decrease with age. Women can therefore choose to preserve fertility by freezing eggs or embryos at a younger age.

How is Egg Freezing Done?

To freeze eggs, a woman must go through an egg retrieval cycle, which is very similar to IVF. It includes following steps -

·        Ovarian stimulation is the first step to produce multiple eggs.

·        Eggs are later retrieved out of the woman's body by a vaginal procedure known as egg retrieval .

·        Finally, the retrieved eggs are frozen by a process known as vitrification or fast freezing.

. The chance of successful pregnancy, amongst others, depends on female age and number of eggs frozen.

What is Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation?

Ovarian Tissue Cryopreservation refers to a process of freezing part of ovarian tissue that contains the eggs, for future use. This technique is more suitable for preserving fertility in young girls, before the age of puberty or for those women who have very little time before starting treatments such as chemo or radiotherapy. This modality required removing one ovary by a day case laparoscopic surgery.

The Takeaway

The quantity and quality of eggs declines with advancing age, specially from the age of 35 years and onwards. This results in increasing risk of infertility. It also leads to increased risk of birth of babies with genetic abnormalities and birth defects. Women who are in a situation where they must delay having a family, either involuntarily or out of choice, can preserve fertility, at a younger age, to later have a higher chance of completing family.

Our experienced doctors at ART Fertility Clinics can guide you regarding fertility preservation and the most suitable options available to you.

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