What You Should Know About Egg Freezing and Embryo Cryopreservation
When it comes to starting a family, no two situations are alike. This is especially true if you find yourself in a situation where you’re seeking out a fertility specialist. The topic of fertility usually revolves around difficulty getting pregnant. Many people seek out a fertility specialist if they’re having trouble conceiving naturally and are looking for a solution to their problem. But, that isn’t all that a fertility specialist can do for you. Your doctor can also assist when it comes to family planning. That is, if you want to start a family at a later date, perhaps when your age may make pregnancy difficult. In these kinds of cases, preserving eggs or embryos may be the solution that makes the most sense for you.
The concept of freezing for future use
As far as preserving eggs or embryos for future use goes, freezing them is the method used by fertility specialists. Egg freezing and embryo cryopreservation are quite useful for women who find themselves in a variety of scenarios where they would like to delay starting a family, but give themselves a good chance of successfully becoming pregnant at a later date. As the names suggest, the freezing takes place at different stages. Eggs can be frozen and then used in an in-vitro fertilization procedure when you’re ready to begin a pregnancy. Embryos that are cryogenically preserved are transferred into the uterus when ready to carry out the pregnancy.
Who is a good candidate for cryopreservation?
Any healthy woman is more than likely a good candidate for egg freezing or embryo cryopreservation. The real question is, “Who would benefit the most?” Many women who opt for cryopreservation procedures are looking to delay their pregnancies a number of years. Typically, they’d be of age when a natural pregnancy starts to become more difficult. For example, you may want to wait until you’re more settled in your career or complete an advanced degree before going through with a pregnancy. Because these things can take years, you may not be ready to try getting pregnant until you’re in your mid to late thirties, which is when fertility begins to decline. Cancer patients may also opt to freeze their eggs because of the risks of becoming infertile following chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
The egg freezing process
Fertility medications are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce properly matured eggs for extraction. Once the eggs are ready, the doctor will safely remove them and transport them to freezing storage for use when desired. Eggs that are frozen can successfully be used years in the future. The longest timeframe has been nine years. Due to the flash freezing techniques used, the use of frozen eggs is more successful and safer than ever.
Egg and sperm will be joined in the lab to successfully create an embryo. Typically, multiple embryos will be created and kept preserved at sub-zero temperatures. The embryos are then placed in storage until needed. As long as a woman is in the proper stage of her monthly cycle, the transfer to the uterus can be performed. Rigorous testing will be performed to pinpoint optimal timing. Fertility medications may also be used if assistance is necessary. One or two embryos are usually thawed and transferred. A pregnancy test will be used to confirm a positive implantation.
Are there risks to cryopreservation?
Not really. The use of frozen eggs or embryos is extremely safe. Eggs, sperm, and embryos have all been successfully and safely frozen and used for live births for years. Even if a donor is involved, there is still safety due to the rigorous screening that occurs when choosing donor eggs or sperm for the process. The procedures used to extract the eggs and implant the embryos are also safe and are subject to constant monitoring by your doctor during the entire process to ensure you’re in the proper condition to carry a healthy pregnancy.
There is rarely such a thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to medicine. This is certainly true when it comes to the topic of fertility. Many factors can be at play when talking about infertility or the desire to plan a family. That’s why it’s so important to know what your options are so you and your doctor can come up with the best solution for your individual needs. Many women can benefit from egg freezing or embryo cryopreservation. They are excellent solutions for women who want to plan to start their families in the future. If you’d like to know more about these fertility services, book an appointment online today. Dr. Sepilian will go over your options with you so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.