It’s increasingly common to postpone motherhood, whether for social, work, financial or health reasons. It is known that from the age of 35 onwards, the quality and also the quantity of a woman’s eggs are very clearly reduced.
Fertility preservation, also called oocyte cryopreservation, is a fairly effective alternative to postpone motherhood. What we do is vitrify/freeze the eggs while they are still young, so we can use them later. Even if several years go by, with this technique we can avoid the effects of the passage of time; when the oocytes are thawed, they will maintain the “age” they had during vitrification and, consequently, their quality, which will give us a greater chance of pregnancy.
What is vitrification?
Oocyte vitrification is a technique in which oocytes are treated with cryoprotectants and immersed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 ºC.
Thanks to this ultra-fast freezing, we are able to keep their properties intact until we decide to thaw them for use in an assisted reproduction treatment. Frozen eggs “do not expire”, in other words they can remain in this state for an unlimited period of time without detracting from their quality, again under certain conditions.
The survival rate of vitrified oocytes after thawing is estimated to be around 90% and the pregnancy rate after transfer of embryos generated from frozen eggs is about 50%. Results may vary depending on the technique and the characteristics of each person.
In any case, at Next Fertility ProCrea we carry out a fertility study for patients who wish to freeze eggs before the procedure to verify the current status of each person and their specific situation.
In which cases is it indicated?
Egg freezing is recommended in the following circumstances:
- For women who want to postpone motherhood for health or personal reasons, among others
- For patients who want to postpone their fertility and suffer from some pathology, such as endometriosis which may affect the quality and quantity of oocytes
- Before receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancer, as these types of therapies can produce premature ovarian failure.
The treatment begins with ovarian stimulation of the woman providing the eggs. Hormones are therefore used to enhance the growth of the follicles (the place where future eggs develop). Normally, a woman matures only one egg in each menstrual cycle, whereas this way several mature oocytes are obtained in one cycle. The treatment is administered subcutaneously, using “self-injection” devices.
Control of follicular development
Oocyte collection (Pick-up)
Egg collection is a very simple procedure performed in the operating theatre, using a thin needle. The operation is performed by transvaginal ultrasound for aspiration of the follicles. The process does not take more than 15/20 minutes and is carried out under sedation for the comfort and well-being of the patient.
It does not require hospitalization, only a few hours rest in our clinic room is advised. Once this time has elapsed, the patient can resume her usual activities.
Vitrification of oocytes
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