Egg freezing is a method of storing your eggs to preserve fertility and allow you to have a baby later on in life, whenever you plan to have one! It’s an option usually considered by women who do not want to have a baby at present, or whose fertility is at risk for medical reasons. Choosing to freeze your eggs doesn’t mean you’re depleting viable eggs from your ovarian reserve or increasing your chances of premature menopause. The process is exactly similar to In vitro fertilisation, till the time you take the eggs out. After that these eggs are dissected and the mature metaphase 2( M2) oocytes are frozen on straws using the method of Vitrification. Our unit was one of the earliest in India, in 2007, to start egg freezing, presently we have frozen more than 15000 eggs for egg donation patients as well as for patients who need to preserve their fertility.
Who needs to preserve their eggs?
- Social Egg Freezing : In today’s world unable to meet the right person to get married to, late marriages and couples postponing to have children to the time when they are ready are most common indications of social egg freezing. Freezing eggs at the right age is a good option which will reduce the future risk of having difficulty in conceiving as well as prevent the risk of age related genetic problems later on.
- As a method for fertility preservation in cancer patients
- Women with endometriosis who may have reduced ovarian reserve.
- Women with autoimmune diseases requiring gonadotoxic treatment.
- Women with genetic aberrations leading to subfertility or risk of early menopause
- fertility preservation in sex change surgery .
- In addition, now that assessment of ovarian reserve is widely available using biophysical (antral follicle count) and biochemical (Anti-Mullerian hormone, early follicular FSH) measures, many women who are asymptomatic are identified as being at risk of early menopause. Although ovarian reserve measurement has not been shown to have predictive value for spontaneous pregnancy, it is a reasonable strategy for these women to consider elective oocyte cryopreservation.
- Situation where a male partner fails to produce a sperm sample on the day of oocyte retrieval for IVF . The efficacy of ‘emergency’ oocyte cryopreservation was demonstrated in cases during which sperm extraction from male partners with non-obstructive azoospermia had failed .
- Oocyte pooling – in women who have a low antral follicle count and low AMH , eggs are retrieved over a period of 2 to 3 cycles or more. After adequate pooling /collection and freezing at a later date thawing , ICSI and embryo transfer can be done .
- Oocyte donation – cryobanking. In this the eggs retrieved from a donor can be frozen and stored. These frozen eggs can be quarantined for 3 to 6 months. After 3 to 6 months, the original donor can undergo repeat test for HIV, HbSag, VDRL, and HCV. Only those frozen-stored eggs of donor who test negative for HIV, HBSAg, VDRL & HCV after 3 to 6 months can be utilised for egg donation. This is optional and is done for those patients who specifically opt for it. It is not done routinely. However, 3 months Quarantined frozen eggs option is available in our IVF centres.