Oocyte Freezing

“It is a process wherein a women’s eggs(oocytes) are retrieved, frozen and stored in order to preserve the reproductive potential in women of reproductive age thereby, giving her freedom to decide when she wants to marry and start a family.

How is Oocyte freezing done?

  1. The fertility specialist assesses the ovarian reserve in order to get an idea of the potential yield of oocyte before the ovarian stimulation cycle. The assessment includes hormone analysis, majorly AMH, FSH,LH and Estradiol along with a pelvic ultrasound which gives an estimate of the Antral Follicle Count(AFC).This helps decide the dose of medication
  2. The ovarian stimulation protocol is same as that is used with in vitro fertilization(IVF), using injectable hormonal medications
  3. Finally, when enough follicles are stimulated and are of optimum size(i.e., 18mm-22mm), the follicles are then aspirated under ultrasound guidance as in an IVF procedure without any cut or suture.
  4. Then, the maturity of the oocytes is examined under the microscope and only those which are mature are frozen(cryopreserved) in liquid nitrogen tanks.

How are then frozen oocytes used in future?

When the woman is ready to use those frozen oocytes and conceive, these cryo preserved eggs are thawed(or warmed) and assessed for survival. Those oocytes that survive the freeze-thaw process are further fertilized with sperms using ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). Finally, the fertilized eggs are cultured until the embryos are ready to be transferred into the uterus to achieve pregnancy, usually by 3-5 days after fertilization.

What are the indications for oocyte freezing?

  1. Fertility is affected in case of cancer patients requiring chemotherapy and/or pelvic radiation therapy
  2. Any kind of surgery or disease that might cause damage to the ovaries.
  3. Risk of premature ovarian failure because of chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Turner syndrome, fragile X syndrome), or family history of early menopause.
  4. Genetic mutations that require removal of the ovaries altogether (e.g. BRCA mutation).
  5. Preservation of fertility for social or personal reasons to delay childbearing.

What do we expect from you?

  1. Know the technology.
  2. Get the procedure done before your 35th birthday.
  3. Stress Management
  4. Avoid Alcohol and smoking.
  5. Avoid junk and processed food.
  6. Follow exercise regimen
  7. Spread the word to your friends, family and relatives

Frequently asked questions

Q1. What is the duration for which oocytes can be stored?

Ans:- Most of the females store their oocytes for a duration of 5-10 years and there have been recorded live births from oocytes frozen for 8-10 years. But fertility specialists usually recommend oocyte freezing to only those females who intend to postpone pregnancy for 10 years or less.

Q2. Is there a difference in the pregnancy outcome with fresh vs frozen oocytes?

Ans:- Various studies and clinical trials have compared the reproductive outcomes after IVF and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with cryopreserved oocytes to IVF and ICSI with fresh oocytes, supporting the use of these technologies in well-selected patients aged 35 years and younger. The results suggest that the specific outcome of IVF and ICSI (pregnancy and fertilization rate) are similar between fresh and vitrified oocytes.

Q3. What are the risks associated with Oocyte freezing?

Ans:- The risks associated are the same as those with ovarian stimulation for IVF and this includes:

  1. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
  2. Infection
  3. Bleeding related to egg retrieval procedure

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