Egg Freezing (Cryopreservation)
Age and Fertility Preservation
Egg freezing is an exciting and potentially “life changing” procedure offered at Reproductive Care Center's Utah Infertility clinic. Patients and reproductive biologists have long had tremendous interest in egg freezing and technological advances now make it possible.
A healthy woman can support a pregnancy into her late forties or early fifties, however, egg quality declines with aging. Some women choose to delay childbearing and egg freezing allows them preserve fertile eggs for future use in an IVF cycle.
Eggs retain their "fertility capacity" present at the time of freezing; therefore, if a woman freezes her eggs at 25 years of age she can use them later in life when her egg quality has declined. Prior to the advent of egg freezing, using an egg donor was the only option for women with poor egg quality .
Prevention of Egg Damage from Cancer Treatments
Another use of egg freezing is to prevent damage caused by cancer treatments. Most cancer treatments selectively target rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells, hair cells, the cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, and ovarian cells, especially the eggs. There can be wide variations in the damage among different women and some develop permanent menopause after a single chemotherapeutic regimen. Eggs can be frozen prior to exposure to chemotherapeutic agents, radiation, or surgery thus preventing damage. The thawed eggs can be used in an IVF cycle after completion of treatments.
All patients (male and female) should be educated regarding the reproductive implications of their treatments and given the opportunity to freeze eggs or sperm.
Egg freezing also enables multiple couples to use the eggs of one donor thus reducing cost. Freezing extra eggs allows couples the option of donating unused eggs to other infertile couples or using their eggs in future cycles.
The number of babies born from frozen eggs has increased dramatically over the last several years. Most of these pregnancies originated from eggs that were frozen for relatively short periods. However, experts agree that frozen eggs, like other tissue, will remain viable indefinitely.
Our fertility specialists have extensive experience with frozen egg cycles. Dr. Blauer was involved in egg freezing research in 1998 and preformed his first embryo transfer (from frozen eggs) in 2005. One of our couples had the first delivered pregnancy in Utah using frozen eggs.
There is an easy to use calculator that predicts the chances of success based upon the number of eggs frozen/thawed, the number of eggs injected with frozen sperm (ICSI), and the number of embryos transferred.
If you are interested in egg freezing, you should be aware that no one can predict with certainty if you will become pregnant using your frozen eggs. If you don't, and you are past reproductive age, you might have to use an egg donor.
Please contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our specialists if you would like additional information.