Egg Freezing

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About Egg Freezing

Egg freezing is one of the most promising treatment options in human female gamete preservation and donation. Technology for the long term preservation of human eggs has improved greatly over the past 25 years and is currently used for supporting various assisted reproductive technologies in human fertility treatment.  We offer egg freezing at the London Women’s Clinic

The fast freezing technique of vitrification has changed the way eggs are frozen and improved survival and pregnancy rates making egg freezing a viable option for those wishing to preserve the chances of motherhood.

This treatment option does not require a sperm and fertilisation process, making it significantly beneficial to single women and people with ethical objections to freezing and storing the embryos.

Survival of eggs after the freeze thaw process is about 90% making egg freezing an excellent treatment option in selected groups of patients. 

What does egg freezing involve?

You will be required to have screening tests performed for HIV, Hepatitis B (Core and Surface) and C and chlamydia before freezing and storage of your eggs and you may also attend a counselling session at the centre to discuss the treatment implications.  

You will also be required to complete consent forms for freezing and storage of your eggs.  These consent forms allow you to specify:

  • What should happen to your eggs if you were to die or become unable to make decisions for yourself .
  • Whether the eggs are to be used for your own treatment only, or whether they can be donated for someone else’s treatment or training

You may change or withdraw consent at any time.

The process is similar to an IVF cycle in that you will have to take fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles (which contains the eggs).  The developing follicles are monitored and when they are large enough, you will be required to go through the egg recovery procedure, where the follicles are carefully emptied to collect the eggs.

How are the eggs collected?

The egg collection is performed in an operating theatre under strong sedation and painkillers or occasionally a general anaesthetic.

When the follicles have reached the right stage of maturity and size on the scan, a trigger injection (Gonasi, Ovitrelle or Suprecur) is administered exactly 35 to 36 hours before your scheduled egg collection. The timing of this injection is extremely important and should be adhered to very strictly. This injection is always administered in the evening. The day after the injection there are no medications, but you will be asked to fast that night.

Egg collection itself takes place at either at the London Women’s Clinic which is an HFEA licensed treatment centres.

On the morning of the egg collection, you will attend the centre at 0830.

Identities are checked and once once under sedation or anaesthetic, Mr. Shah or Mr. Gudi, will spend 20-30 minutes retrieving the eggs from your ovaries. Each egg sac (follicle) in the ovary is located and punctured under ultrasound scan guidance using a fine needle and the fluid in each sac is drawn into a sterile warm tube that is examined under the microscope.  A mature egg may not be retrieved from every follicle. Some ‘empty’ follicles contain eggs that stopped growing and disappear. Others contain eggs that are too young to fertilise.

You may feel slightly bloated and uncomfortable for up to 48 hours following the procedure. Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help and are safe to use.

Some light vaginal staining on the day of the procedure is normal and comes from the needle site.

How are eggs frozen?

At LWC eggs are frozen by vitrification – a process whereby the solution containing the eggs is cooled so quickly that the structure of the water molecules doesn’t have time to form ice crystals and instantaneously solidifies into a glass-like structure.

How long can eggs  be stored for?

The standard storage period for eggs is ten years from the date of freeze, up to a maximum of 55 years in special cases .  There will be an annual fee for storage of eggs and embryos at our centre. Further details are set out in our terms and conditions of storage.

What are the risks of egg freezing and storage?

Egg freezing is a not a guarantee for children in the future. The success rate of egg freezing come close to IVF success rates at the specific age. There is a risk that the eggs may not survive or may not develop into good embryos . Though frozen eggs are mature eggs, they may continue to be genetically abnormal.  Success rates of frozen eggs reduces with age and is lower in women over the age of 35 years.

What do I need to do if I want to use the eggs?

Should you wish to use your eggs then the you should contact us in the first instance. Currently all frozen eggs need to be fertilized by ICSI before being transferred back into the uterus. An initial appointment will explain the process and discuss your specific needs and suitability.

Our guide to egg freezing tells you everything you need to know, download our leaflet here.

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